Business AspectsUsing TechnologyVacation Rental Owners

How to Build Your Own Vacation Rental Website and Increase Bookings?

High-speed internet access on mobile phones has transformed the way we shop. This is true for bookings as well. Nearly 80% of last-minute vacation bookings are made using a mobile device. Therefore, it is now more important than ever to build your own vacation rental website and increase bookings.

If website is so important, shouldn’t you build it the right way? Check out the below slides to find out how:

How to build your own vacation rental website and increase bookings from Rental Trader Inc

Understanding the Vacation Rental Business

The vacation rental business is fairly different from the standard hotel business. Here, the owner rents out a furnished house, apartment, or a condominium complex to tourists. These privately owned properties are rented out on a nightly or weekly basis. The vacation rental business is seen as a lucrative opportunity by the property owners. Regular bookings are the key to marketing and making money in this business. If the property lies vacant due to a lack of bookings, then that can lead to increased maintenance and utility bills without any revenue being generated. Therefore, it is uber important to ensure that your website is attracting ample traffic and converting visitors into customers.

Popular vacation rental websites include Airbnb, Booking.com and RentalTrader.com, however, with an efficient website of your own, you won’t need to depend on these platforms for 100% of your business. Additionally, creating your own website also allows your vacation rental property to stand out rather than getting camouflaged in a sea of options.

How to Build Your Own Vacation Rental Website and Increase Bookings?

While larger vacation rental websites like Airbnb offer a good platform to begin your business, your vacation rental website allows you to differentiate your properties from the rest of the crowd. With the advent of website builders, you can create your very own website with little to no coding at all.

Logo and Domain Name

The first step is, of course, to conceptualize your business plan and create an idea of the kind of website you want. Once you have decided to create a vacation rental website, the next step is to create a professional-looking logo and establish a domain name. Both of these must convey your brand images correctly. Select a domain name that is neither too long, nor too short, and above all, easy to understand and remember.

Similarly, the logo must reflect your brand in a correct manner. If you are not equipped to design these two essential components of your vacation rental website, then you must consider professional help. You can hire a freelancer for this job to make sure that you get the website domain name and logo right. Go to Freelancer.com and open a “Contest” to pay $100 and you’ll likely get 50-100 entries. It is an amazing way to generate lots of ideas and will only cost $100 along with some fee’s from the website.

Website Builder

The spread of the internet and online shopping has given rise to a number of website builders. However, if you are not sure about which one to select, then it is best to go ahead with one of the top three. Some website builders offer vacation rental specific themes that are preconfigured for highlighting your properties and managing bookings. You can also hire a freelance website designer to create a website from scratch. However, this can be time-consuming, and you may not end up with what you have envisioned. However, some website developers will show you themes/templates beforehand so you clearly get an idea of the final website design and feel.

Hosting

Website builders do not typically provide hosting services. These are provided by third party entities or you can opt to host the website on your own server. However, this can be an expensive proposition as it will require extensive management and other additional network and IT infrastructure related expenditures. The most popular solution is to hire third-party website hosting services that are usually based on yearly contracts. There are also a few website builders that offer hosting services as well such as GoDaddy, Wix, and DreamHost. So, if you are very particular about having your domain registration, website theme, as well as hosting from the same vendor, then you can opt for a website builder like these.

Mobile-Friendly Website

While the website is getting adorned with features and while you are establishing its layout, it is important to test it repeatedly on mobile devices and tablets as well. Most bookings, especially, the last-minute ones are done over a smartphone or tablet making it essential for your website to look and function properly across platforms. Interestingly, Google has started listing only those websites in its search results that can be viewed easily on a mobile device. Therefore, by making sure that your vacation rental website is optimized for mobile browsing will also increase your ranking on the search engine’s portal.

Rich Text and Content

All written and image content on your website must be clear, comprehensible, and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Refrain from including anything that is of no use to your visitors. Extra text or heavy imagery can also increase your load time and may also become difficult to read over a mobile device.

The content must be designed around your properties and the local attractions. Pictures and virtual tours that can assist users in planning their holidays are also an excellent addition. The website should also include promotions and discounts as well to attract customers. Make sure that it is easy for the website visitor to locate available properties on your site. Lastly, the content must be updated regularly, and any expired promotions must be taken down when they are over.

Features of a Successful Vacation Rental Website

It is very important to strike the right balance between too much and too little content on your vacation rental website. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg; more such important features include the following:

Attractive Interface

First and foremost, an attractive webpage is the first thing that a visitor notices and this is true for a vacation rental website as well. So, make sure that the user interface is informative as well as elegant. This also helps instill confidence in the client and they are more likely to give you business.

Responsiveness and Navigation

The website must be easy to navigate for the computer, as well as mobile users. This is essential because if your backend systems are not robust enough to support the traffic then it can ruin your brand image. Also, make sure that your website follows the ‘3-click rule’. In other words, navigation should be as easy as just 3 clicks of the mouse for any users visiting your website.

Listings

A prospective customer for your vacation rental is interested in the listings more than anything else. Therefore, make sure that this section is as clear of clutter as possible and that it is easy to find listings for everyone. Further, the filter and search options should be kept comprehensive as well.

Recommendations

Do not forget to include recommendations for local activities and attractions that can be useful for your guests. Here, you can include some surrounding destinations, local fairs, markets, or festivals, historical monuments, etc. Such add-on elements enable visitors to plan their vacation and they may end up booking for a longer period as a result.

Guest Feedback

Reviews and feedback add an element of honesty to your vacation rental website. If you are providing what you are promising, then you are more than likely to get positive reviews, and these should be displayed on your website. The provision for feedback also adds a personal touch as users can interact with your directly.

About US and Contact Information

All contact information must be easy to find on the website page. Users are bound to have queries regarding the properties, and they should not struggle to find your contact information or contact forms. Secret: Google has a tendancy to rank sites higher when contact information is included!

Integration with a Payment Gateway

Lastly, the website must be completely functional. In other words, the users should be allowed to make a booking once they have finalized the dates on which they would like to rent your property. Therefore, ensure that you have a payment gateway with SSL encryption certificates. It is also advisable to integrate regional and international payment gateways to increase your customer reach.

Tips and Suggestions for Building Your Own Vacation Rental Website

  • Avoid a complicated booking system at all costs
  • Do not design a congested interface to make the User Interface(UI) seem complicated
  • It is not advisable to include any images that are not optimized for the web or for viewing over a mobile device.
  • Do not miss out on including the correct and current communication details
  • Avoid overcrowding your website with too many promotional offers.
  • Remember to include user reviews and feedback.
  • It is also important to include all the necessary certificates and be compliant with regulatory requirements. These must be appropriately highlighted on your vacation rental portal.

A website is certainly an excellent promotional platform for a vacation rental business. While there are no set rules that define the process of building a successful vacation rental website builder, there are a few which must be avoided at all costs. We have highlighted these fundamental aspects of a comprehensive website that can help you promote your properties and increase your bookings. Make sure that you incorporate these core elements in your vacation rental website and try to create a unique brand image for your services. The time spent will be worth it as you increase your bookings and bottom line.

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