This week, our friends at Lodgify are offering up tips on how to establish your rental and draw in guests by using your own website. Check out their tips below, and be sure to visit them to learn more about their vacation rental website services.
For vacation rental owners everywhere, it’s becoming increasingly more important to have and maintain a professional website. Not only does having your own personal website free you from paying the high commissions set by large online travel agencies, but it also provides you with the opportunity to stand out from the crowd, generate more direct bookings and build a good reputation for your vacation rental.
Your own vacation rental website is the first port of call for establishing a solid brand for your business, which in itself gives you an element of trust, credibility and lays the foundations for a good VR reputation. But what other actions can you take to ensure your vacation rental is seen in the best light possible? Read on to find out…
Let’s face it, the vacation rental industry is constantly growing and developing. So if you don’t want to lose out on business to your competitors, you’re going to need to get with the times.
Many recent travel reports show an increasing trend towards mobile bookings – with over 50% of travelers booking their vacations on mobile devices in 2016. That’s why quality, and most importantly, responsive web design is essential for modern VR owners and their reputations.
Think about it, how many times have you closed a webpage because it was old fashioned, not user-friendly and made you feel like it hadn’t been updated for ages?
But it’s not just the colors, fonts and images that catch a viewer’s eye, either. What you write – your website’s copy on every page of your site – plays a vital role in grabbing your potential guests’ attention. If you’re not gifted with a way with words, don’t worry. There are plenty of tips out there, and if you’re still finding it difficult, services like Guest Hook exist for a reason. Let the experts do the hard work for you.
We all know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but in the VR industry, first impressions are everything. Without enticing copy or great design, your site won’t project reliability or trustworthiness, and it’ll be your reputation that suffers the consequences and makes you miss out on direct bookings.
Given that 42% of travelers used review websites to plan their last vacation and a whopping 59% say these sites have the most influence when making their vacation decisions, it comes as no surprise that guest reviews are one of the most important additions to your website which will boost your online VR reputation.
In a nutshell, travelers can relate to one another by putting themselves in each other’s shoes. Imagine reading a review for a property which mentions how great the host was for providing everything essential for the perfect family vacation, and you’re planning a getaway with your small children in tow. Or on the contrary, imagine reading the dreaded negative review. Either way, it will resonate with you and become a decisive factor in whether you book or not!
When it comes to building your VR reputation, guests know that reviews come direct from the horse’s mouth. What’s more, reviews are so easy for hosts to obtain: simply ask all your guests! Leave review cards around your vacation home, send them a follow-up email once they’ve vacated your property and if guests happen to compliment your hosting skills via email, phone or even in person, tell them you’d love it if they could post the review on your website, too. You’d be surprised how many guests are more than happy to oblige!
Vacation rental owners with properties in regulated areas can prove their legitimacy and build their reputation using certificates and trust seals on their websites. The majority of secure and accrediting organizations offer these in the form of digital badges which you can place on your website to verify its status. Research shows that VeriSign has been known to increase conversion rates on e-commerce sites by up to 30%!
Digital badges naturally boost your online credibility and reputation, as potential guests will be able to see that you’re a trustworthy VR owner. On your website you could use credibility badges such as: security badges to assure guests their data is safe when making online payments; excellence awards which highlight any prizes you’ve received that prove you’ve been recognized for running a great VR business; and even listing website badges (from Airbnb, TripAdvisor, etc.) which increase your online presence.
Nowadays, travelers are checking all sorts of platforms before making their final decisions on where to book, and that includes social media sites. Linking your vacation rental website to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest profiles can automatically build your online reputation because it makes it more likely that potential guests will find you in their search results. Not only do social media profiles keep you in the loop with the millennial generation, but they also make your brand more visible (therefore, more reliable) across the internet as a whole.
Like digital badges, social media icons are everywhere, and can really boost your reputation if used correctly. That said, having the profiles themselves is not enough – it’s really important you post regular updates in order to grow your following and obtain good levels of engagement.
For big search engines like Google, it can take a while for your website’s reputation to actually mean something, unless you have some quality, authoritative sites linking off to your page. If you analyze the stats, you’ll find that your website’s traffic is pretty much proportional to your collection of backlinks.
So how do you get backlinks? It can be a mean feat, but here are some ideas for starting out. First off, approach your local tourism board and asked to be listed on their accommodation recommendations page. Then, ask other local businesses to link to your site from their website’s ‘Partners’ page. These can include anything from local attractions (wildlife parks, nature reserves or other tourist spots), to restaurants and other nearby businesses, as these are places that potential guests may look for information. You can always offer them a link on your site in return!
Don’t have your own vacation rental website yet? Start your free 14-day Lodgify trial today!
Lodgify is a software-as-a-service solution that allows vacation rental owners and managers to easily create their own vacation rental website and accept online bookings. Owners can manage all reservations from one place and synchronize property data with their booking channels. Whether you own a single property or manage 500+ vacation properties, Lodgify has the right tools for you to increase your online bookings and simplify the management of it all.
We can help with your web design, guest reviews, digital badges and social media. All you have to do is, get in touch with us today.