Nowadays, owning and operating a vacation rental website does not require a big budget nor tremendous technical knowledge. As a vacation rental agency it is imperative that you establish an online brand identity, and this is done easiest by owning and operating your own vacation rental website.
Vacation rental listing websites, such as Airbnb or Homeaway, are a great source for filling up property reservations. Listing websites have the SEO juice to allow you to get to the top Google spots when a user searches vacation rentals in your local area. However, there are also drawbacks to only placing your properties on listing websites:
– Cost: Vacation rental listing websites charge you per booking or a fixed amount for reservations.
– Control: With your own website, you will be able to have control over design, reservation system and blog.
– Longevity: It is risky to make a long-term investment with a listing website. Trends change and websites rise and fall in popularity. Having your own website, allows you to reduce the risk of depending on 3rd parties in the long-run.
Vacation rental agencies have a plethora of options when it comes to owning and operating a vacation rental website. Below we have outlined 5 important items to consider when choosing the top vacation rental website:
Tip 1) Reservation System Integration:
It is very important that you look into websites that allow you integrate with a vacation rental reservation system. If you are going to purchase a non-vacation rental website template, you may not get full reservation system integration. For example if you want to add an availability calendar, a non-specialized website back-end may not allow users to automatically check-in online.
Tip 2) Free vs. Paid
The old saying “You Get What You Pay For” also rings true when you are looking for a vacation rental website. Free website templates might be a good short-term money saving strategy, but when you are unable to add dynamic reservations or payments to the free template it will cost you a lot more to change it in the long-run.
Tip 3) Custom vs. Template
The two most common options for vacation rental websites are custom and template. Vacation rental website templates include the most common vacation rental website features and allows you to customize it with formatting and imaging.
Custom vacation rental websites on the other hand allow you to personally choose what you would like on your website from looks to the way it operates, of course at a higher price than templates.
Tip 4) Channel Management
Apart from reservation system integration, it is also important to have a website that allows you to sync your reservation system with external listing websites, such as HomeAway and Booking.com. Channel manager solutions, are valuable marketing sources, and we highly suggest you look into websites that allow such as integration.
Tip 5) SEO Features
What is the point of having a website if users cannot find it? Getting featured on the first page of search engines like Google, will tremendously increase visitors to your website. In order to rank high, you need to have an SEO strategy in place. Many vacation rental website platforms allow you to optimize your website for search engines (SEO) with in-built tools. These tools allow you to write meta-descriptions, alt-tags, headers and focus keywords without technical knowledge.
BONUS TIP: Having the ability to translate your website into numerous languages is also an important factor when deciding which vacation rental website to choose.
What is important for your vacation rental agency when building a website? If you have any questions or comments about building a website, be sure to contact us through the comment section below.
If you are in the market for a new vacation rental website or better vacation rental software to manage your inquiries, bookings and marketing, consider using Kigo. You can contact one of our vacation rental software experts at email@example.com or on the phone (Spain) +34 512 702 105 ‧ (France) +33 1 84 17 04 18 ‧ (USA) +1 (786) 292-0030