Valletta Property Rentals stretches back for quite some time. They’re a family business and run it accordingly. After a ten-year sabbatical in the UK, James and Dana decided to get back to their roots and showcase all that Malta has to offer.
They wanted their properties to be a reflection of Maltese culture, heritage, and identity. They’ve renovated and restored numerous period buildings to form the foundation of their vacation rental business.
“Sharing these properties with our guests makes this small venture of ours sustainable and truly allows us to showcase some of the best that Malta has to offer.”
From the beginning, these owners knew they’d have to follow a rigorous standard for their vacation homes as Maltese tourism is highly regulated. Although the challenge to stay in regulation was difficult, they found it worth it.
“Providing short-term accommodation is strictly regulated in Malta, and rightly so. Keeping high standards is key to Malta’s continued ability to attract high-quality visitors.”
They knew that this standard was necessary to keep the bar high for valuable guests who help to take care of the island.
“We licensed our first Valletta property as Holiday Premises with the Malta Tourism Authority in 2016, with further properties licensed in 2019.”
Dana and James renovated and restored their properties to meet these standards and have the licensure to prove it. They proudly display their tourism authority badges on their website.
Challenges during COVID-19
The tourism industry in Malta took a hit from Covid. Being that it’s a remote island, travel became extremely limited and near-impossible for many.
“From a booking point of view, it has affected us very badly because almost all bookings were canceled with no new ones being received the same as the world over.”
What was once the advantage of Malta became troublesome in the wake of Covid-19. Malta is a small island located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Its remoteness presented challenges during the midst of the pandemic because international travelers couldn’t access it. Likewise, the Maltese seldom travel domestically, making it hard to attract this audience as well.
“Domestic travel is less common in Malta since we are a small island, but we hope to welcome guests back to Malta very soon.”
Cancellations and scarce bookings were widespread, like the rest of those in the industry, but Dana and James seized this downtime to work on their brand, imaging, and opportunities for direct bookings once travel resumed.
“However [the Covid-19 challenges] we have been working with Lodgify’s tools to improve our image – we now have a logo and the same image through our website & social media pages.”
Lodgify helped these owners get the word out about their property by improving their search engine rankings, creating consistent branding, and providing SEO-friendly website templates.
“Lodgify has allowed us to create a more professional image and to become more organized. We now have the possibility for guests to book direct for a stay at Valletta Property Rentals and pay safely online through the website.”
What they liked most about Lodgify
There wasn’t just one thing they could nail down about Lodgify, as Dana and James loved a number of features that Lodgify offers! One of the main features that these vacation rental owners enjoyed was the all-in-one platform. They manage multiple properties on a variety of channels, so having a fully functioning, simple, unified platform to manage their bookings was essential.
“Lodgify gives us the possibility to integrate with online booking portals and manage almost everything from one spot.”
They found the integration process to be not only essential but also easy. Lodgify seamlessly integrates with all the major channels and other connections, like Zapier and Google Analytics, to help you run your vacation rental business.
“Its website features and integrations are great, particularly with the guidance given to perform every step and the personal contact when the video tutorials do not suffice.”
James and Dana noted that there’s always someone to call if you’re in need of help during the process of setting up your account and then thereafter.
How they found the process of creating their own website with Lodgify
The website is one of Dana and James’ favorite parts of the Lodgify package. They knew just how important it would be to have a vacation rental website to get direct bookings, maintain a professional image, and have a digital space to send guests. They realized that they could have a stunning website in as little as one afternoon.
“The step-by-step guides allow you to choose to create something within an hour or to delve deeper and create a more personalized website. We chose to try and create something a little more complex but possible without too much technical knowledge.”
How they got their first bookings
These vacation rental owners recognized the importance of a good online presence. They knew that in order to get direct bookings outside of OTAs, they’d need to prove themselves online.
“It hasn’t been easy to attract bookings through the website, but we have had a few over the past year since we went online. We are working on trying to increase traffic and direct bookings with more social media and blogging. Lodgify also helps with SEO.”
Lodgify’s websites are already SEO-friendly, but James and Dana found the additional resources and guides helpful in making their website attractive for new guests.
Other channels that generate traffic and bookings
As vacation rental experts, they understand the importance of connecting with multiple channels to get more bookings.
“Pre-COVID it was Airbnb, HomeAway & Booking.com in that order. Things seem to be changing slightly with more traffic on social media.”
Before the pandemic, they received many bookings from the major OTAs but have seen a shift in direct bookings since they’ve increased their marketing efforts.
Dana and James have seen some incredible improvements in their business over the years. Their heavy emphasis on marketing has paid off as they’ve been able to attract the audiences they desire to their properties and book high-quality guests.
How Lodgify helped them grow their vacation rental business
In order to grow their business, they knew they’d have to step into international markets to do so. Lodgify’s software reaches all over the world and helps vacation rental business owners get their property on the map no matter the location. Thus, one of the greatest accomplishments for Dana and James is having been able to increase their bookings on a global scale thanks to Lodgify.
“Lodgify has helped us to be more present on the international market and its guides are perfect in developing the technical side to that.”
After numerous years spent in the industry, James and Dana have some useful advice to offer.
“Plan and be ready to change as necessary. Be professional – image is so important across the board. Discuss with others working in your field – exchange of ideas is so important. Develop – this is ongoing to upkeep standard.”
Whether you’re at the beginning of your vacation rental journey or a veteran in the field, these experts emphasize the importance of flexibility, professionalism, and continued growth. Make sure you have vacation rental software that helps to support these pillars and grow your business.