When you choose a website builder software for your vacation rental website, find one that has features that are responsive and easy to use without compromising the professional look of your website. But, how do you find the best website builder? The journey begins with your choice of web hosting services. The quality of your host affects everything about you will do when you build your website, from its appearance to its accessibility to clients. Here are some of the functionalities to look for when you select your website builder.
Types of Website Builder Software
Some website builder software automatically does the HTML for the user. This can be very helpful for those who do not know a lot about HTML, but it is not a flawless interface. Full service hosting may be preferable because your content may require personalized markups to optimize it for the search engines. If you want clients to spend time on your rental site, it will need to be optimized so that search engines will respond to queries with your link.
If you have someone on hand who has experience with coding, they may be able to maintain the web page without needing assistance from the hosting service. This IT pro can do the work offline, directly editing your source code, HTML and the CSS. This is far more technical than online web design or using a template to build your site, but often offers more flexibility.
Property Management Website Builder
Vacaction rental property managers will need to find a property management website builder that will allow them to market their services to potential guests and property owners, in order to get more clients for both sides of their business.
Bed and Breakfast Website Builder
Many owners like to use a specific bed and breakfast website builder in order to build their specialized lodging site. This is perfect for their needs as an accommodation provider in the B&B industry.
Website Builder with Booking System
Business owners in the hospitality industry need to look for software with a booking system already included, in order to take bookings instantly online. Without this feature, many owners and managers will miss out on high volumes of reservations because guests don’t always like to wait around for the right answer.
Best Website Builder Software Features
How do you know which functionalities to look for to determine which is right for you? There are a number of key elements that predict a successful business relationship with your web host.
When deciding to build your site, start with a solid support system that will respond quickly to your queries. This is especially true for owners of vacation rentals and bed and breakfast businesses who need techical issues to be solved quickly. Any glitch can drive clients to your competition, and you may never get them back. A good site builder tool must have essential requierements. Look for:
- 24/7 phone support
- Online chat service
- Quick email, ticket, or work order response
Phone support all day long, every day of the week, is important for dealing with internet problems when you may not be able to reach your web host by email. The ability to contact the support department is crucial to maintaining your business website. It can immediately get experts working on your site to remediate any problems.
An online chat service gives you immediate satisfaction when dealing with questions about your site. Do you have questions about switching templates going from one page to another? The chat service is the equivalent of asking a coworker for advice. Once again, you have an immediate resolution to a quick problem. It also gives you a written transcript for future reference.
The ability to submit work orders or tickets is also important. You may find that your booking page is demonstrating a glitch, or the checkout page locks up occasionally. For larger problems like this, quick response from the web host is crucial. This is not something that the business owner can fix, but dependent on a site expert. If your tickets or work orders go unresolved for days on end, you may need a new host.
Every website must go down for service occasionally. However, it doesn’t take much to cost your business thousands of dollars in reservations. Here are some features to look for when choosing your host.
- Multiple servers
- Update events
- Percentage of downtime
Does the web host software backup your content automatically or with a click or two? This is crucial, because a system crash can take everything down to the empty template, leaving you with no client contacts, reservations, or any other business service – and having to build the site from zero again. See if your host offers automatic backup, or if that is something you will have to schedule yourself.
Multiple servers can be an asset if you are using a big web host. You want to make sure they can handle the traffic coming through their servers. Not only that, they must be prepared for your business to grow, making more demands on their servers. Multiple servers make it more likely that updates can be done without interrupting business.
When does the hosting service do their system updates? Most of them do so in non-work hours, over the weekend. However, if you are in the hospitality business, that may be your busiest time. Also, if their updates take a long time, it can cost you clients. Find out when your website software and hardware are being updated, and how long it will take.
Unplanned downtime is usually a hardware problem, rather than a software flaw. However, check for any reported problems with your website software and support for the hardware, because random downtime can be devastating to a business. Look for less than 2% downtime.
Website templates are a crucial element to your design and build your website, and one of the more important functionalities for the business owner who wants to update their design regularly. Most vacation rental, inn, and bed and breakfast owners want to update specials on a seasonal basis. They also want to include special pricing for local events, such as the big football game or teacher conference.
In cases like this, it is handy to use a drag and drop template to build your site. This allows you to choose images or graphics and drag them to the spots you want them on your web pages.
Perhaps most importantly, a template allows you to see what your website will look like when it is published. You can tweak the style as you are building your site, and the design will be saved for the next session.
Responsive Web Design
Mobile friendly web design is crucial in today’s competitive hospitality market. According to one study, 85% of travelers interviewed say they use their handheld mobile devices to book their hotel room. When building your site, your web builder software should be capable of loading quickly onto smartphones, tablets, and iPads.
Social media is significant in your guests’ shopping patterns. They will see a hotel or inn mentioned in a tweet or on a Facebook page, and immediately want to see that website. If your web design is not mobile friendly, they will not be able to find your business. This means they will probably move on to another option.