Vacation rentals offer great business opportunities. If you have a decent portfolio, then you can generate good income by renting to various markets. However, property managers face significant competition from private homeowners and online travel agencies (OTAs). One way to stand out is by increasing your online presence. A website allows you to reach a wide target audience. You can use the platform to sell your spaces and, hopefully, increase bookings. In this internet age, any business without online visibility is losing out, given how prominent search engines are. Today’s average consumer is internet savvy and uses the web to find a wide array of products and services. So, you cannot afford to ignore the needs of these renters. If your vacation rentals still don’t have a website or are debating if you should re-design an existing one, this article gives you some perspective.
Benefits of a Vacation Rental Website
Boost Direct Bookings
The control you have over your vacation homes is worth all the effort and cost of setting up a custom website. For a long time, homeowners and property managers relied on third-party agencies to rent out accommodation. However, renting patterns have been changing. Direct bookings are growing more popular by the day. Most individuals searching for accommodations go online. They want to research, compare and pick the most suitable alternative. Vacation rental sites make this process easy. They give travelers options other than what’s available on OTAs. With direct booking technology, you can connect with guests without an intermediary. The right tools will allow travelers to search, find and book quickly.
Of course, direct bookings are still possible via email and phone. A website, however, is more convenient. It eliminates a lot of steps for potential guests. Take email, for example. You may need to go back and forth with a traveler to provide information and eventually get a booking. If you are late with the replies, you risk losing a guest. A custom site offers a smooth booking experience. You can personalize the booking journey and give guests a reason to come back. Also, you can integrate vacation rental management software to improve how you handle operations. When dealing with multiple properties, a management tool streamlines vital tasks.
Build Your Brand
You might not have thought about it before, but branding is integral to your vacation rental venture. The competition in this sector is fierce. You have to keep up with listing platforms and OTAs, such as Booking.com, Trip Advisor and Airbnb. Hence, the impression you make on guests is important. You want renters to remember you and return, or, even better, recommend your properties to their friends. For that, you need to work aggressively on your branding. A website is the first step to accomplish this. A high-quality platform becomes an extension of your image. People will associate it with the services you provide. For this reason, you must ensure it caters to renters effectively. It should be user-friendly and functional.
You need a site that makes the booking process as painless as possible for prospective guests. Remember, it’s the first point of communication between you and travelers. Thus, it should offer concise information and a personalized booking process. The content on the platform is part of your branding. Thus, it should be fresh, relevant and accurate. Don’t make guests run around the platform looking for important details. Since you have more control over a custom website than third-party channels, you have the final say on marketing messages. So, you can post as many images and videos as you like. Compared to a traditional listing, a custom site allows you to sell your rentals how you see fit and give travelers a more comprehensive look into your offerings.
Widen Your Profit Margin
OTAs have their advantages. For one, they are established brands, which makes it easier to attract guests. The downside is that for every renter you get through a third party, you pay a commission. The rates range between 7% and 20%. When renting mostly short term, these charges might not seem like much. However, you will notice how much they eat into your profit when renting vacation homes for prolonged periods. Combine these charges with the discounts you may offer to lure travelers, and the result is disappointing. A bookable website cuts out the middleman, letting you keep a huge chunk of your profits.
Although you need to invest money in building a good site, the cost savings more than compensate for that. You can pass on those savings to guests through deals that make your vacation rentals exciting. Additionally, travelers can be confident that your website won’t sneak in fees. Hidden charges are not uncommon on OTAs.
How to Design the Perfect Website
You are convinced that your vacation rental business needs a custom site. How do you ensure you build a top-notch platform? Hiring an expert is the best way to get a professional website. An experienced developer knows what your vacation rental site requires to draw traffic. You can be sure of getting a vacation rental web design that aligns with your branding. A professionally made template will have a high-quality layout, graphics and images, among other elements. When designing a business website, you must choose a logo, theme and content that aligns with the brand image.
Your website will need various software solutions to fulfil certain tasks. So, it must integrate an accounting tool, channel manager and booking engine. A professional can tailor-make your site from scratch and ensure it does everything you need it to do. Expert services will include comprehensive features that enhance the functionality of your platform. For example, your site can have a discovery widget, recently viewed items and recommended properties.
A custom website for your vacation rentals is an investment you should consider making. It’s a unique chance to deal with travelers directly, thus saving you channel commission fees. Direct contact with guests also means that you are responsible for customer service. You can personalize booking experiences and encourage travelers to stay in your properties.