Don’t Wait to Reap the Benefits of Your Vacation Rentals: Get your own website!
In the past we discussed the importance of a vacation rental website and were delighted to see how this topic struck a cord with our readers.
Drawing from my own experience managing vacation rentals for the last 9 years, here are 6 reasons why I have a vacation rental website:
1) Website name is unique
Your vacation rental website must have a unique domain name if you want to make an impeccable first impression. You can’t rely on the random ID number assigned to your listings. Just think about it — who would remember those six digits a month later?
Names like http://www.WaipouliBeach.com or http://www.HeavenlyCabin.com are memorable. Numbers are not.
You may even want to take it a step further by printing business cards. You never know where you will meet prospective renters! Some guys will even print them overnight.
2) No competition
While I have befriended many of my fellow homeowners, I understand that those residing in neighboring locations compete with me for renters. Therefore, it is best not to give your potential guest a link to a vacation rental listings site with zillions of other choices. Instead, you want to lead them to a place where no other competition exists – your own vacation rental website. Once your client is on your website, it’s your job to convince them that your rental is the best and that they should proceed with booking immediately.
3) A Call to Action with a Book Now Button
In online marketing, every page or message should have a Call To Action. But, now you may be wondering what a Call to Action even means. In simple terms, it is a quickest way to make a sale. For example, ‘Book Now.’ This will increase your conversion rate, a term that describes how many users buy vs how many users visited your website. You can also increase your conversion rate if the Call to Action is in the right place, of the right size and in the right color.
The ‘Book Now’ option is also something that world travelers are so used to. Airline websites have it, hotel websites have it, restaurants have it, even activity desks providers will give you an option to book a tour right away. Somehow it’s not that common in the vacation rental industry. Influential bloggers like Matt Landau think that 2013 will change this for good. I hope so!
In my particular case I rent out short term rentals. I want my users to come to my website and rent my property. Then, I want them to have a great time during their vacation, visit my favorite restaurants and experience things that I love to do when I visit my rental.
4) Stay in Control with Real-Time Calendar
First thing’s first — I don’t consider a vacation rental booked until I got money in my pocket. I hear a lot of whining from fellow homeowners after they’ve come across an unreliable customer. The guest promised to send a check but the check never arrived.
If you agree to keep your rental dates on hold for a week until a guest’s check arrives, you are giving up control of your own business while giving your potential customers the time to find a better deal.
Make your guests compete for your place.
For example, If I have three inquiries for the same time period, I never give the same quote. The first customer to inquire receives the lowest quote, the next one receives a higher rate and all others the highest rate possible. I tell everyone that dates could be booked anytime by anyone. When people are aware they may lose your deal, they tend to act faster. Often times the highest quote I give triggers the payment first. So it’s a double win. I get a booking faster and it’s sold for more.
5) No limit on the most essential things: Photos, Reviews, Calendar
I hate when someone limits my abilities in anything. 24 photos limit on my listing? Who came up with this magic number? What if I have a nice shot #25 from my best customer and I would like to upload it? Do I need to remove one of my nice looking photos? The magic of your own website is that you are in full control of everything. Not only can you upload numerous photos but you can add long activity descriptions on the guests’ toDo list. And all these things combined work well for converting your visitors into paid customers. Research shows that 30% of travelers make their booking decision based on photos and reviews. You as a homeowner should have full control over these marketing tools.
6) Organic Google Search Traffic – Yours Forever!
This one is not very obvious at all. We advertise our vacation rental properties on zillions of different websites. We put our time, sweat and money into making it look better, while not always realizing that we are improving a vacation rental listing site and not our own. At some point, when we have to discontinue advertising service, all our previous efforts become wasted. Search engines, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc., work day and night crawling and analyzing the great content of the world web. Once your ad is shut down, it’s gone for Google. Put all your efforts into making great content on your own website and let Google discover and index it. This is a real asset that will stay with you as long as you want it to. Over time, it only becomes more valuable!
and of course, the social!
I almost missed out on one of the most important item – social engagement! It’s so big with latest changes in role of social signals in search algorithm. It will require a separate blog post. So stay tuned!
Do you have your own vacation rental website? Let us know your success story!
In case you would like to create a vacation rental website, you can do it in 3 simple clicks at Rentini. Here are some of the Rentini’s templates (remember it could be your own domain name or a subdomain of rentini.com) :