So, you’ve set yourself up as a rental property owner and you’re registered with one or more listing sites displaying details and pictures of your property. Job done? Only partly – look at having your own website if you are serious about maximizing your reservations and revenues.
Being on the listing sites is very important to your marketing mix, although it won’t necessarily fill out your reservations on its own. Some sites are more successful than others so you’ll need to monitor your results for starters. Having your own website is a huge plus, if not essential, should you want to fully participate in the ever growing world of e-commerce in which the online travel industry is now a major player.
Fact is that the internet is now the first port of call for your potential guests, so you need to cover as many possible options for exposing your property there. Your own website is the answer.
Your exposure on listing sites may be limited as to the number and type of pictures they allow you to show plus there are restrictions on the space allowed for description of your property and its attractions. Potential guests may find you on the listing site, like the look of your property and ‘drill down’ to your own website for further information. No website? They will likely pass on to another contender, your competitor, who gives them the vital detail they are after via his or her own website.
Choose your own website pictures
And, as we all know, where rentals are concerned, a picture really is worth a thousand words. Having your own website gives you the freedom to choose what you show and to formulate your own text without having to fit the listing site straitjacket.
It will give you the chance to personalize the property and project your own style or brand. If done well, this will provide a professional platform for your marketing.
Having your own website means that if you prefer, you can take secure online payments directly from guests instead of operating through a third party and waiting for payment. Once you have a site you can install software which will allow you to take payments, organize and update your reservations diary and much more.
The software services solution
Developing a professional website with these capabilities can be costly and time consuming for independent owners, but there are alternative providers out there who will help you set up your own website and provide cloud-based software with powerful tools to help you manage your property at a fraction of the cost. Nor do you need to be a computer nerd to use these services as they are designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. And, being cloud-based, you never need bother about installing programs on your computer or updating software – this is done automatically online as necessary.
Some service providers offer special ‘plugins’ which look after availability, rates, booking forms, reviews and more.
If you choose this option, look for a service that optimizes the display of your website for any device – desktop or laptop computer, tablet or smartphone. This means that your own website will appear just as informative and user friendly on a small screen as it does on a large screen. Significantly more and more people are using their tablets and even smartphones for their initial vacation research, so if you’re not showing alongside your competitors, you’re not even in the frame to get the business.
Once you have your own website suitably maximized for SEO (search engine optimization) you could consider writing a blog which will increase your SEO. Your blog could cover any news or developments about your property; items of special interest for those visiting the area; local restaurant recommendations etc. Another way of building the personality or branding of your property.
So, a professionally designed website will boost your visibility and reservations and if it comes with appropriate software will take away much of the headache of coordinating your reservations and managing different listing sites. Choose carefully from the management services providers and it’s possible to get a free website complete with a variety of powerful tools to help you manage your property efficiently.