Holiday Rental Website Design
There is no doubt that to succeed in this business you now to have your own website for your holiday rental property. Even if it’s just five or six pages describing your property, accompanied by some inviting images, it will help a lot.
It will take time for your site to be recognised by search engines, let alone appearing on that all-important first page, but even using it as a point of reference will still give your guests reassurance. Consider it an unrestricted blank canvas to add information that you can’t fit into your other online listings or offline promotional material.
Many holiday-makers now assume you have your own website and will ask to see it. Some listings sites will allow you to add a free link to your own website. Others also will permit it, in return for a reciprocal link from your site.
Buying your new domain name and website hosting period.
Your ‘domain name’ is simply your website name. Think carefully about what name to choose. Domain names should be easy to remember, not too long and should ideally include the name of your area and your property type. ‘Hosting’ is the internet service that allows holiday home owners and managers to make their website accessible via the world wide web. Hosting periods are typically 12 and 24 months.
*We recommend GoDaddy.com when securely purchasing domain names and hosting. The site has an simple search facility to see if your chosen website name is available followed an easy purchasing process. Use the question marks at each stage to clarify if any added extras are necessary for you.
Building your own holiday rental website
Creating your own website is not as daunting as you may think. With a bit of time and effort you could very conceivably have one up-and-running in a couple of days.
Compile as much information about your property and area as possible alongside lots of professional photos.
Website pages to consider are your home page, details about the property, information about your local area with highlights, rental rates, location, availability and a contact us / bookings section. A call to action like ‘Book here’ or ‘Enquire now’ is a must and can convert a few more enquiries from your visitors. Further pages you can include are an ‘About Us’ section introducing yourself as a credible owner/manager and ‘Travel Extras’ (via affiliate programs) and guest testimonials.
Add your contact email address/telephone number to the website header/footer/side modules to minimise the navigation to these details and make it easier for guest to contact you.
Using an ical availability calendar to integrate with your booking portal listings can save you a lot of time updating numerous platforms.
Adding a ‘bookmark this site’ button can improve chances of repeat business.
Where will you build your website?
Using a specialist online company to create your holiday rental website design can save you a lot of time as they provide templates specifically for home owners and managers. Annual costs up to £150 per year. Our recommendation is Promote My Place.
Employing a professional website designer to create your website is great if you want a completely bespoke option not following any other templates. It will cost anything from £500-£1,500. If you do this be sure to stipulate that you will want an easy content management system (CMS) included so you can make future changes as and when you see fit. Furthermore ensure you are the administrator of the site.
Blogging regularly from your site can show off your local expertise and encourage visitors to sign up to your newsletters or RSS Feeds. For example you could interview your local wine-makers or restauranteurs and make yourself an expert on a given subject. This is an important part of your search engine optimsation (see below) which can accompany your holiday rental website design.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of your holiday rental website on search engines like Google in an ‘organic’ way – without payment campaigns.
If you can spend a couple of hours per week looking at search engine optimisation your website should, in time, appear higher on search engine results and subsequently bring in new enquiries.
Essential factors that affect your SEO…
- Identify up to 2/3 key words per page (using tools like Google ‘Keyword Planner’)
- Constantly add fresh content to your site with at least 300 words per page (never copy and paste text to/from your site)
- Ensure pages are not ‘stuffed’ with key words and the content reads naturally. Add them into the first paragraph and heading
- Write your content in short easy-paragraphs with headings
- All pages are titled and include your key words
- All page URLs include your key words
- All page descriptions are complete and include your key words (up to 70 characters)
- All meta-descriptions are complete and include your key words (up to 156 characters)
- Photos are described (title and alternative text) and include your key words
- Seek quality inbound links from similar sites with varied anchor text
- Submit your website and sitemap to all major search engines
- Be active on social media streams such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
If you’re serious about link-building you should probably be spending at least an hour a week on this. Furthermore if you focus your efforts on one or two key word phrases you are likely to have more success than if using several. Remember that it will take time (at least several months) for search engine to trawl and trust your website. There are no quick fixes.
Limit the amount of outbound links from your home page and compress your images so they will load quicker.
Smart phone friendly
With the growing use of smart phone technology, more and more holiday makers will make use of their mobile phones during the enquiry and booking process. For this reason it’s imperative that your holiday rental website design has a user-friendly mobile version. Some 40% of holiday home enquiries are now apparently made from mobiles. Don’t include flash as this will can also lead to incompatibility issues with mobile and tablet users.