If feels unsafe. It takes too long. It’s frustrating. An outdated vacation rental website is the easiest way to convince a guest not to book with you.
Website features that seemed groundbreaking a few years ago have quickly become standard. Is your website up-to-speed, or stuck in the last decade?
How to tell if your website has been left behind
The best way is to conduct an audit every six months or so.
- Check the major portals.
- Go through the booking process and see how things are advancing.
- Get inspiration from major sites. If your site has similar mechanics, structure and feel to the major vacation rental listing portals, then it gives guests confidence that your site is reliable.
Six things to include on your vacation rental website
1. Create a mobile-responsive website for vacation rentals
This is now non-negotiable. Where some sites started out as being more suited for mobile searching than others, it’s now expected that sites should have as near to the exact same capabilities and display perfectly on every page.
For travel research, mobile searches left desktop searches in the dust a long time ago and they are rising steadily in terms of number of nights booked on a mobile device as well. If your site is not mobile responsive yet, you will already be losing potential bookings because of this.
2. Showcase high-quality imagery
A steady stream of high-resolution images is the best way to show off your properties and gives the homepage of your site a professional sheen. Moving, high-quality images give your site a simple way to engage and captivate visitors from the homepage. Purely static pages seem outdated and unresponsive.
3. Leverage a vacation rental marketing blog
A blog not only adds valuable information and a touch of your own personality to your site, it’s also highly effective for SEO. Include keywords on your site that guests are searching for. It leads them to information on the places they want to visit, and in turn your site and your properties. This can be one of the most effective tools for drawing people to your website.
4. Use a custom domain name
This is where your branding starts. Having a memorable and simple domain name is a huge benefit for any small business looking to establish themselves. The sign of a good website is cohesion. Everything matches your overall brand. Your guests are able to remember your name, picture your logo and return to your site. The right domain name is the keystone to this bridge. Without it, you will simply be unable to build upon it and establish your brand.
5. Link to social media profiles
Your site needs to link to your various social media account. This shows that you're connected and immersed in the industry, and encourages site visitors to engage with your business on their networks. Including these links on your website helps develop a connection between all of your marketing channels.
6. Online vacation rental booking capabilities
Search and availability functions are now standard. Sites are interactive and guests expect to be able to find out information that is specific to their trip. The half-life of customer interest is so short that even waiting for an email with availability information is enough to lose a guest. Having search and booking capabilities is an easy way to make your guests become convinced by your site and your properties.
The above six features are signifiers of a professional vacation rental website. If your current website does not match these specifications, Kigo has a range of websites that suit every business need and every level of experience ranging from an online booking widget to fully custom website designs. All of our sites include every feature in this list and more. We are committed to staying ahead of the curve in terms of website design, development and digital marketing.
Read more about vacation rental websites on the Kigo blog!
(Editor’s note- we have updated and republished this article to benefit readers new to the Kigo blog).