The main aspect of your direct booking channel is a well thought out website. A successful vacation rental website has the whole package, including a booking engine. Having a website is an essential direct channel to drive bookings, repeat customers, partnership and other marketing initiatives – not to mention the commissions and fees you save.
Elements of a vacation rental website
Here are the basic elements of a good vacation rental website that converts:
The key to success is great content
Be descriptive. An effective listing captures the imagination of travellers and highlights your property’s best features. Why would people want to stay with you? Is there some feature that you have but others don’t? If your property is perfect for a particular group of people, tell them about it. The goal is to tell people why they should book with you instead of other properties.
List of features and amenities. From Wifi to free parking – details are essential to set guest expectations.
Professional Photos. The world runs on visuals and you can interest travellers far more quickly with images. Use high quality, attention-grabbing images
Location. It can be helpful for your guests to know your neighbourhood and if it fits the purpose of their trip. Include points of interest, access to transportation and embed a Google Map.
Guidebook. It’s likely that many of your guests will be visiting the area for the first time. Make trip planning easier for them by providing a guide to highlight restaurants, entertainment, tourist attractions and other recommendations.
Blog. Having a blog and writing about topics that are relevant to your audience can help you stand out from the crowd and even attract people to your website. How great would it be if your website comes up on the search when people are in the planning stage. Your blog can be the go-to guide for people travelling to your area.
Think about the searches you make when you travel to a new destination while creating your blog posts. By providing unique pieces of content, your website will soon show up on relevant searches.
About. Your website’s ‘about page’ is a great place for visitors to know who they are renting from. Share who you are and why you host, or any articles featuring your property.
Reviews. A review page is a great way to showcase the guest perspective of your property.
Provide an excellent User Experience
Consistent design. It’s more important than ever to establish a consistent design for your website.
Site structure. The structure is the foundation of your design. You need to decide early on how many pages you want, how a visitor would navigate through your website and should be able to find
Mobile-Friendly. As more consumers access websites on their mobile devices, you must ensure a seamless browsing experience across all devices. Offering a mobile-optimized website not only ensures that you’re equipped to handle traffic from any source but can also positively affect your SEO ranking as well.
Performance and site speed. Your site needs to load quickly in a matter of seconds, or you risk losing potential customers.
Effective Call to Action. The way you get people to book your rental is by first getting them to click on your call-to-action buttons. Make it simple for your visitors to take action on your site with all your pages leading to the Book Now button. If you don’t have a booking engine, at least embed a booking form to capture inquiries.
Get more traffic
Analyze your existing website traffic
Google Analytics. Analyze your monthly performance of your website in the following areas.
- Number of visitors, session and unique visitors
- Bounce rate
- The top source of traffic
- Time spent on the site.
Google Analytics also tags your website visitors and allows you to remarket to them after they leave your site.
Facebook Pixel. An analytics tool that consists of a code that tracks your website visitors. This allows you to retarget those visitors with Facebook or Instagram Ads in the future.
Drive organic traffic through SEO
SEO is the practice of optimizing your website content so that a search engine shows your website as a top result while searching for certain keywords. Getting a better ranking on search will increase your website traffic which in turn leads to bookings.
Research keywords specific to what your audience might be searching for and update your website title and meta description to match those keywords. Rename your image captions with relevant keywords (known as alt tags) to make your pictures show up in Google Images. In addition to this, obtaining links from high authority websites – local tourism sites or an association is a great way to boost credibility.
Implement a retargeting campaign
Retargeting campaigns help you to target previous website visitors with personalized ads. It allows you to strategically position ads in front of these audiences as they browse through Google or Facebook. We live in a time where everyone is easily distracted. Retargeting enables you to stay on the potential customer’s mind.
Engage with visitors
Live chat. Add a live chat or a Whatsapp widget makes it easy for visitors to interact with you. Your customers can reach out to you in real-time when they want to know more about your property.
Newsletter. Your email list is a great way to maintain a relationship with your audience. You can use email newsletters to update them about your latest offers, promote your blog or stay on their mind.
Social media. Include links to your social media accounts so your website visitors can follow you. Publishing it on your header or footer so your guests don’t miss it. Embedding your Instagram feed can be a great way to leverage your social media presence and build social proof.
A way to book your property
Booking engine. This is by far the most important element of your website and it’s often the most overlooked. When potential guests visit your website, they should be able to search for room availability and rates for the days they are interested in. A booking engine enables them to make a reservation by entering their details and securely paying for their room.
Payment Gateway. Allow your guests to use their preferred mode of payment – debit or credit card, net banking, UPI, etc.
Contact information. Make it easy for your visitors to contact you by listing your contact details throughout the site. Displaying it in the footer is the best way to ensure it’s easy to find.
- Implement a Booking Engine to offer a seamless booking experience to visitors.
- Once you pick a theme, maintain it throughout the entire site.
- Don’t forget high-quality, attention grabbing images.
- Site structure is the foundation of good design.
- Every page leads to Book Now.
- Make your site responsive – Mobile traffic accounts for most visits.