Top 10 things to include on your holiday rental website
We regularly get asked by holiday/vacation rental home owners what’s important when building a new rental website. Every home is different and as such, there are no set rules, however we’ve compiled a list of 10 things which you must include on your holiday rental website.
1) Professional Photos
Nowadays, all too many owners believe that using images taken from a mobile phone will suffice for their new website. They may look nice on your small screen but often when displayed on a large screen the photos can look very pixelated and grainy. Having your own SLR camera won’t automatically mean you’ll get inviting shots. Using a professional photographer will not only mean your images are crystal clear but they will also be able to ‘stage’ the situation and see shots you never would. Do you honestly know about lighting, aperture, shutter speed and exposure in order to get the most out of each scene? (We don’t!)
Your photos are essential in enticing travellers into making an enquiry on your holiday rental website. This is an important investment and one that should only have to be done once every few years at most.
Even if you find photographer rates too expensive (typically range from £250-500) offer up a week at your property during an off-peak season instead.
2) Call To Action
You may be surprised to learn that there are a lot of website owners don’t think to add a call to action to their visitors. A simple ‘Enquire here’ or ‘Book here’ visible on every page with a link to your bookings/enquiries page is fundamental.
Assuming you are happy to take calls, also add you telephone number to the top or side of each page.
3) Your Rates
Don’t leave your prospective guest guessing what your nightly or weekly costs are. Always make sure your rates are clearly noted on a separate page and aim to keep them as simple and inclusive as possible.
4) Host Profile
Very few holiday rental websites we come across display any information about the owner. There is usually an anonymous ‘Enquiries/Bookings’ page without even mentioning the owner’s name.
Add an ‘About Us’ with a bit of information about yourself. You don’t have to go into too much detail – it simply goes to show that there is a real, caring person behind the scenes who will look out for their guests. If you’re comfortable with your photo here, it can go a long way to help with your transparency.
Opinions can vary on this but as a general rule it’s best to include an ‘Availability’ or ‘Check Availability’ page so travellers can see exactly what dates are available prior to making an enquiry. Making the experience quicker for the website visitor is important so they do not have to wait for several hours before hearing that the property is unavailable. If you are open to ‘instant bookings’ an availability calendar is a must.
The exception to this may be if you have access to several properties and will be able to offer something else if the property in question is not available.
Do you have a few positive comments from previous guests? Get them on there! It will make the property appear much more credible. Guests love to hear that previous clients have enjoyed their stay at the property.
Have you ever noticed that a lot of the top listings on booking portals have a lot of reviews? It’s no coincidence.
7) Local Information and Highlights
Whilst the visitor to your holiday rental website may be aware of the general area (they’ve got as far as finding your site after all) they may not know what’s in your immediate vicinity. Make sure you tell them how close your place is to restaurants/bars/shops/beaches/golf courses/ski lift/or any other local landmarks of interest. Think of your target market and make sure you include everything that may appeal within a one hour drive.
Try to make this information readily available on your home page if possible.
8) Travel Extras
Here’s one that very few site owners engage. Include a page or two on your holiday rental website where their guests can book their ‘travel extras’ like flights, car-hire and travel insurance.
You can join affiliate exchange programs free, choose which partners you want to deal with and copy the some html code into your site to display a banner or text link. Then, every time a guest uses one of your links to a third party company and makes a booking, you receive a commission payment!
9) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Don’t just sit back and admire your lovely site. Your job isn’t finished by a long way.
Unless you spend some time on your website SEO it will never be found without the aid of pay-per-click campaigns. Spend time on adding unique content, keyword research, link building in order for search engines like Google to trawl your website and recognise it’s importance. Read Our Guide.
10) Mobile Compatible
As at least 40% of booking enquiries are done on mobile and tablet (some experts say up to 60%) it’s imperative that your website is compatible. Most providers like Promote My Place and Lodgify now ensure that your holiday rental website is smart phone and tablet friendly but it is worth checking before you build it.