When you’re just getting started with your vacation rental company, direct reservations may seem like a pipe dream. For the majority of proprietors in this area, creating a direct booking website will be their first attempt. It’s one thing to create a site that is appealing to visitors and provides all the required information; it’s quite another to get people there in the first place.
As the proverb goes, where there is a will (and an exceptional website builder), there is a way! Fortunately, attracting direct reservations is not difficult; you just need to understand how. We’re here to assist you. We’ll discuss what it means to operate a direct booking website, the benefits, and the specific actions to take to begin building your direct booking portfolio.
What does the term “direct booking website” mean?
Let us begin with the fundamentals: What exactly is a direct booking website? New vacation rental owners may be unclear about the components of a direct booking website. Professionals will tell you that you “need a website” when starting a company, but what use does a direct booking website serve if your product is a vacation rental?
The direct booking website serves as a showcase for property photographs, a listing description, and a reservation engine for visitors. Without the assistance of a third-party listing site, your direct booking site enables you to introduce visitors to your property, persuade them to book, and securely protect their reservations.
Now, how does a direct booking website work? You may customize it as you choose! With the correct website builder, you may create custom tabs to arrange your content in any way you choose. The following is typical information that may be seen on direct booking websites:
• Photo gallery
• Directions to the location
• Things to do/attractions guide
• Deals and discounts
• “About us” or a bio page
• And, of course, a “Book with Us” button or search box widget.
These are just a few ideas of what you may include on your direct booking website, but keep in mind that the final decision is entirely yours. Your website is a platform for advertising and showcasing everything you think is relevant to your company and capable of generating more direct bookings.
Tip: Avoid publishing your booking option in a single location on your website. By including a “Book now” button in the upper right corner and embedding the search box on other pages, customers will have access to more booking options.
Why do vacation rental businesses need their website for direct bookings?
We’re not going to sugarcoat it: developing an outstanding direct booking website does not happen overnight. You can create an excellent website in less than two hours, but you will still need to spend time on it. Therefore, the question remains: what are the advantages of a direct booking website?
There are several! Additionally, it’s encouraging to know that the benefits much surpass the initial labor and expense.
What are those advantages, you may inquire? We’ve highlighted the most significant advantages, but the possibilities are limitless when you control your bookings.
The value that direct bookings provide to your company and the financial line is one of their primary advantages. When direct reservations are compared to OTA bookings, the value of a reservation is much more.
Consider direct reservations against Airbnb equivalents. Except for the source, these reservations are identical, yet the value is much different.
According to VRMintel’s “The Value of Direct Bookings” research, the average value of an Airbnb booking is around $906 per reservation based on the most recent data. When compared to direct reservations valued at $1,935, the difference is a stunning $1,029! According to these numbers, a direct booking is worth more than twice that of an Airbnb listing in this scenario.
You’ve put in the effort, spruced up your vacation rental, styled it to perfection, and spent several hours on administrative responsibilities, only to discover that your payment is far less than you anticipated. You may be perplexed if your average daily rate was $100 but you were only paid $74. That is where the disadvantages of OTAs come into play.
Each listing site requires payment of a fee or extra; this is how the sites remain operational. These fees support customer service, marketing activities, and resources for both hosts and visitors. In other words, they are purposefully paying more to market a vacation rental property that would cost less if rented directly. Each listing site charges differently, as shown in our guide to vacation rental websites.
While OTAs provide visibility and sometimes result in reservations, having your direct booking website avoids the additional fees. You might use the money saved on OTA commissions in offering breakfast at your hotel or creating a welcome package for your visitors. These minor nuances can help you build a loyal visitor base and increase favorable ratings, which will in turn encourage more guests to book directly via your website!
Develop your brand
Not only does developing a vacation rental website provide a tangible venue for defining your brand – including its logo, color scheme, and corporate values – but it also assists in establishing trust and a positive reputation with previous, present, and future guests. When visitors access the site and see your logo at the top, they will immediately recall your brand. Additionally, when you have consistent branding, you demonstrate professionalism to visitors. A strong vacation rental brand, backed up by a good direct booking website, lends respectability to your vacation rental company.
Perhaps you’ve been this kind of traveler in the past: you stay in a wonderful vacation property rented via Airbnb. What do you tell your friends about your trip? Do you refer to the accommodation by its property name or do you refer to it as “that Airbnb in Cape Cod”? Your brand is a commodity on internet travel agencies – a needle in a haystack, one listing among millions.
According to the BlueCorona study, 30% of customers will not consider a firm that does not have a website. That is because websites demonstrate credibility and may aid in the establishment of authority on a certain issue. Indeed, for vacation rental companies, websites provide an ideal platform for showcasing insider knowledge about a certain area, activity, or seasonal event. By offering travelers valuable knowledge that aids in their decision-making, you establish a connection with the possible guest, which might result in a booking.
Your brand will help you differentiate yourself from the competition, and customers will learn to recognize your brand as more than simply another vacation rental firm. This is much more true if you operate an eye-catching vacation rental website!
How can I improve direct reservations for holiday rentals?
While developing an attractive website is the initial step, many hosts get disheartened when their direct booking website fails to generate bookings.
The adage “Build it and they will come” will not work for your vacation rental website. You will, of course, want a fully functional, appealing website for your visitors to arrive on, but how will you get them there in the first place? Take the following measures to promote your direct booking website and start receiving bookings.
Concentrating on SEO
The ultimate aim is to be the top search result that prospective visitors see when they Google your name or any associated keywords. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is critical for attracting attention to your property. Additionally, it’s an excellent chance to attract new consumers who would not have discovered your holiday home otherwise. What do we mean precisely by that? Consider the following example.
As an example, suppose your direct booking website includes a directory of local attractions, best restaurants, and guest stories. You may add keywords such as “things to do in Monterey, California” or “top breakfast spots in Central California” into those pages and drive traffic to your website. After they’ve arrived on your website, you may convert them to guests.
By using SEO, you may expand your reach and attract guests who would not have considered staying in a vacation rental otherwise.
If this seems outside your ability set, have no fear. We’ve prepared the definitive vacation rental SEO guide to help you rank your home and make it visible to prospective visitors.
Create your direct booking website now.
Hosting your first direct booking will position you for future opportunities. The key selling features for direct bookings include having total control over your reservations, retaining all revenues, and building stronger ties with your visitors. Unsurprisingly, hosts are keen to boost bookings through their websites!
Creating a direct booking website does not have to be a pain for property owners. Lodgable software enables you to easily construct your hospitality website and take online reservations.
Lodgable’s vacation rental website designs are completely customizable, allowing you to match the design to the personality of your company. All Lodgable websites are also mobile-friendly, ensuring that your website’s quality remains unaffected whether people access it through a handheld device or tablet.
Additionally, the integrated channel manager enables you to link your website with any other channels and manage all bookings via a unified system. Without a branded, bookable website any vacation rental firm will quickly fall behind the competition. Not only will you be seen as less reputable, but you will also lose out on other advantages associated with having a website, such as marketing possibilities, direct bookings, and developing a brand. If, like many business owners, you still lack an optimized website, be sure to rectify this as soon as possible to enjoy the benefits throughout the year.