Vacation rental businesses that mostly sold through listing sites found it harder to build online customer relationships; their bookings tended to be because of convenience and trust with a site like Vrbo, rather than a personal affiliation toward their brand.
Small businesses in the hospitality industry took a hard hit throughout the crisis in 2020. We saw businesses worldwide rallying resources and trying to either pivot or persist with whatever they had available.
Many vacation rental businesses that relied on third-party listing sites like Airbnb or Booking.com suffered from the limitations the platforms provided them with advertising, property management, and cancellation policies.
Whereas, those businesses that had a booking website found they were able to adapt quicker and cope better in the crisis.
The crisis identified a need for hospitality rental businesses to have a website; cut unnecessary fees, and focus on direct bookings as a more long-term solution.
Many vacation rental businesses relied on customer loyalty and relationships to help get them through this challenging time. Vacation rental businesses that mostly sold through listing sites found it harder to build online customer relationships; their bookings tended to be because of convenience and trust with a site like Vrbo, rather than a personal affiliation toward their brand.
Yet, 65% of guests prefer to book directly with a business. So, why aren’t more people building out their own website? In this article, we’ll explore some of the pros to having a vacation rental website. We’ll focus specifically on Lodgify and what it can do for your vacation business.
Why do you need to create your own vacation rental website?
It's clear the crisis highlighted a need for many vacation rental businesses to have their own websites. However, crisis aside, what more benefits can a vacation rental website provide for your business?
Generate a higher profit for your rental property
There are many ways having your own website can help to generate a higher profit for your business. Mainly you are reducing costs and admin charges that you need to pay to third-party sites and increasing the direct revenue per booking on your site.
Boost rental property bookings
Whether you're happy to have your vacation site accept direct bookings there and then, or would rather review each booking request before accepting, your booking platform gives total control. It allows you to place opportunities to book front, back, and center.
Have a better overview of availability
It can be hard to get a clear overview of what you have available via third-party channels, especially if you're on multiple. You've undoubtedly had a few occasions where bookings have clashed, or you've seen rentals go empty that you thought were booked- it's a missed opportunity and can lead to some very unhappy customers.
Having your own vacation rental management software will allow you to collect and learn from user-data. Discover how people are interacting with your booking site, where are they dropping off, and what are they clicking on most?
The data you accumulate from your site visitors can help inform future website design and strategy, lead sales campaigns and social media content.
Better customer service
No more middle-man creating disgruntled customers. If you haven't received complaints about your vacation rental properties weeks after someone has left your rental because they've gone to booking.com or Airbnb instead, you've been lucky.
It can be so frustrating for a customer to be sent from one party to another, trying to handle a complaint. Handle all of your customer care directly with the guest and resolve issues that much quicker.
More marketing opportunities
On the whole, you'll have more marketing opportunities, and not only by having a greater overview of website data. You can rest assured knowing that any paid advertising efforts you make, you’ll be contributing towards your website’s overall visits, not someone else’s site.
Sometimes screaming “book now” just isn't enough. Personalization is something that many businesses overlook but 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant recommendations to them.
Using your own vacation rental website builder, you have the opportunity to personalize whatever you want to highlight on your website.
Run retargeting ads, create an email sales journey, or connect site visitors with a sales rep. The option is yours to really appeal and make someone's experience with you exceptional.
Why use Lodgify as your vacation rental website builder?
If you're now thinking about making the jump from third-party booking platforms to creating your own rental website, it's not as daunting as it sounds. Lodgify could be your vacation rental management software solution.
Here are seven reasons why Lodgify is the perfect fit for your vacation business.
1. Customizable templates
Vacation Rental Website Templates
First thing's first, having a vacation booking website doesn't mean you have to know how to code- that's why you have the software. Lodgify has a wealth of templates for you to browse. From the homepage to a booking page, they've got you covered.
There's absolutely no reason to feel overwhelmed as a vacation rental owner at the thought of building your website; Lodgify has done the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is pick a template and style that works best with your brand and type of rental, then run with it.
2. Built-in channel manager
Built-in channel manager
It's not a complete jump for property managers if you don't want it to be. Lodgify has a built-in, all-in-one channel manager, which can sync all of your booking platforms in one place.
Whether you're working with travel agents or online booking platforms, you'll be able to sync up all of your availability calendars and update all of your channels automatically; so you can focus on sales and less on logistics.
3. Integrate with social networks
Any marketer knows the value of social media, and it's importance when it comes to potential guests doing their research before pulling out their credit card.
If a brand isn't active on social media, it can jeopardize trust and reliability with a browsing customer.
It's so important that as a hospitality business, you stay connected with your social channels, and Lodgify allows you to do exactly that. It even allows you to connect directly to Facebook messenger via the Lodgify software. Never miss a potential booking, inquiry, or opportunity.
4. Go mobile-first
Responsive web design
82% of all travel bookings in 2018 were made online via a mobile app or website. We know the future is mobile devices, and travelers are booking on the go, in fact 45% of UK travellers feel entirely comfortable researching, planning and booking trips using only their mobile.
There’s no questioning your website needs to be as friendly for mobile as it is for desktop. Plus, it will only improve your chances of ranking higher for search engines like Google, the more mobile-friendly your site is.
The Lodgify site templates are already mobile responsive; you don't need to worry about a redesign or to adjust image sizes to fit screens, let Lodgify do all of that for you.
5. Optimized for search engines
SEO optimized vacation rental sites
SEO is an essential factor in building a brand and ensuring you rank highly on search engines like Google and Bing. However, if your website isn't set up to be crawled and read by "spiders"- search engine bots that identify what a page is and the search terms to present it for- then all of your carefully crafted copywriting skills are set for failure.
All of the Lodgify templates are designed with SEO in mind; they'll help ensure your title tags, meta descriptions, and more are where they need to be. The vacation rental management software will also automatically submit your sitemap to search engines. You don't need to be a wizard at SEO to achieve magic results.
6. Free domain name and unlimited hosting
This one is huge and super important for any small business looking to keep a cap on expenses. Domains are not so expensive, but they usually require another hosting platform that you'll need to maintain, a payment plan and hosting can be a pain.
The Lodgify platform has unlimited hosting- which means you don't need to worry about your domain and content on it, at all.
7. Explore a 7-day free trial
Lastly, a small gem with Lodgify is the 7-day free trial. No one likes to jump into something they aren't familiar with or fully understand. Lodgify can organize a free trial period to allow you and your team to play around in the vacation rental software and see if you like it.
There's no strings attached, no hidden costs, just a chance for you to experience the platform and figure out if it's the right fit for you.
Wrapping up why Lodgify is the best website builder for vacation rentals
Hopefully, you’re walking away from this article feeling empowered to build your own website for your vacation rental business. It doesn’t need to be as daunting as it used to be, and Lodgify has made sure that the process is as smooth as possible for any business looking to explore the opportunity. I hope you enjoyed the read, now go and enjoy taking real ownership over your business.
Ray Slater Berry is the content lead at Skale. He has been working in social media, content marketing, and SEO for nine years. He specializes in the tech, innovation, design, and travel sectors. He also heads up a creative writing agency for B2B SaaS brands: DSLX.