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As a property owner, you may be wondering how to create a direct booking website for your short-term rental. After all, Internet bookings have become the norm for travelers, and a website is a great way to reach a wider audience.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to create a direct booking website for your rental property. In fact, with a little effort and some basic web-building knowledge, you can have a professional-looking site up and running in no time.
What are Direct Bookings and Should You Take Them?
Direct bookings are simply reservations made directly with the property owner or manager, without going through a third-party platform like Airbnb or HomeAway.
There are several benefits to accepting direct bookings, including:
- You get to keep more of the rental income, as you don’t have to pay commissions to a third-party platform.
- You have more control over your property’s listing, including the photos, description, and amenities.
- You can develop a relationship with your guests and offer a more personalized experience.
However, there are also some challenges to direct bookings, such as:
- You will need to invest time and effort into marketing your property and website.
- You may need to create and manage your own booking system (although there are some great software options available to streamline this process).
If you’re considering taking direct bookings for your rental property, read on for some tips on how to create a direct booking website.
Essential Elements of Your Direct Booking Website
Before you start creating your website, it’s important to understand the essential elements that will make your site successful. These include:
1. A catchy and descriptive domain name: Choose a domain name that is easy to remember and relevant to your property or location. For example, if you’re renting out a beach house in Hawaii, you could use a domain like www.hawaiibeachhouse.com.
2. Professional photos: Good quality photos are essential for any rental listing, but they’re even more important for a direct booking website, as guests will be relying on these to make their decision about whether or not to book your property. Make sure to hire a professional photographer (or take your own high-quality photos, if you have the equipment and skills) and avoid using stock photos.
3. A clear and concise description: Write a few paragraphs about your property, highlighting its best features and amenities. Be sure to include important details like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as any special features or services that you offer.
4. A detailed list of rates and policies: Include a clear breakdown of your rental rates, as well as any special policies that guests should be aware of. For example, if you charge a cleaning fee or have a minimum stay requirement, be sure to mention this here.
5. An easy-to-use booking system: Choose a booking system that is easy for guests to use and that integrates seamlessly with your website. There are a number of great software options available.
6. A blog: A blog is a great way to drive traffic to your website and show potential guests that you’re an expert on your destination. Write about things to do in the area, local events, restaurants, and so on. If you don’t have time to update your blog regularly, you can also create a static page with information about your property and rental rates.
7. A way to contact you: Include your contact information, such as your email address and phone number, so that guests can easily get in touch with you. You may also want to create a separate email address specifically for your rental business.
8. Social media links: If you have social media accounts for your property (such as Facebook or Instagram), be sure to include links to these on your website. This is a great way to give potential guests a glimpse into what it’s like to stay at your rental.
CREATING THE DIRECT BOOKING WEBSITE
There are a number of paths you can choose from when creating a direct booking website. You can use a self hosted solution like WordPress with a theme and booking plugin, use a drag and drop website builder like Wix or Squarespace, or use a vacation rental listing platform that offers direct bookings (such as Rentlify).
Let’s break down these 3 options :
1. WordPress with a theme and booking plugin:
WordPress is a popular content management system that can be used to create a wide variety of websites. While it does require some technical know-how to set up and manage, it’s relatively easy to use once you get the hang of it. There are also a number of great themes and plugins available for creating a vacation rental listing website.
Pros and Cons of setting up via WordPress:
– You’ll have complete control over your website and can customize it to suit your needs.
– There are a number of great themes and plugins available, many of which are free.
– WordPress is relatively easy to use once you get the hang of it.
– WordPress can be a bit technical to set up and manage, so it’s not the best option if you’re not comfortable with technology.
– You’ll need to find your own hosting provider and install WordPress yourself.
– If you’re not familiar with code, you may need to hire a developer to help you customize your website.
Examples of WordPress themes for direct booking sites:
2. Drag and drop website builder:
A drag and drop website builder is a great option if you’re not very tech-savvy or don’t have the time to learn how to create a WordPress website. These platforms are very user-friendly and allow you to create a professional-looking website with no coding required.
Pros and Cons of using a Drag and Drop Website Builder:
– Drag and drop website builders are very user-friendly and require no technical skills.
– Many of these platforms offer templates specifically for creating vacation rental websites.
– You can usually create a website for free or for a very low monthly cost.
– You’ll be limited in terms of customization options with a drag and drop website builder.
– If you want to switch to another platform later on, you may have to rebuild your website from scratch.
Examples of drag and drop builder website companies:
3. Vacation rental listing platform:
A vacation rental listing platform is a great option if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for your rental business. These platforms will list your property on their site and offer direct bookings to guests. This is a great option if you’re starting from scratch and don’t have an existing website.
Pros and Cons of using a Vacation Rental Listing Platform:
– These platforms offer an all-in-one solution for your rental business.
– You don’t need to create a separate website – your listing will be featured on the platform’s site.
– Guests can easily search for and book your property on the platform.
– You’ll be limited in terms of customization options with a vacation rental listing platform.
– These platforms usually take a commission on each booking, so you’ll need to factor this into your pricing.
-You’re tied to the platform and can’t easily switch to another solution later on.
Examples of all in one vacation rental booking platforms with direct booking options:
Which option is right for you?
The best option for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you’re comfortable with technology and want complete control over your website, WordPress may be the best option for you. If you’re not very tech-savvy or don’t have the time to learn how to create a WordPress website, a drag and drop website builder may be a better solution. And if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for your rental business, a vacation rental listing platform may be the best option for you.
No matter which option you choose, make sure you do your research and create a website that will help you reach your target guests.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to do your research and create a website that’s professional and easy to use
Marketing Your Direct Booking Website
Once you’ve created your direct booking website, it’s time to start marketing it! Here are a few ideas:
Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions to help your website rank higher in search engines. This will make it more likely for potential guests to find your listing when they’re searching for a rental property in your area.
2. Google AdWords:
Invest in some targeted advertising on Google. You can create ads that will only be shown to people who are searching for rentals in your area.
3. Social media:
Promote your website on social media, using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can create posts with photos of your property and links to your website.
4. Email marketing:
Send out email blasts to potential guests, letting them know about your property and why it would be the perfect place for their next vacation. Include a link to your website in each email.
5. Offline marketing:
Don’t forget about offline marketing techniques! You can create flyers or postcards with information about your property and include a URL that guests can use to book directly on your website. You can also distribute these in local businesses or at tourist attractions.
Potential issues with direct booking websites
1. You’ll need to invest time and money into marketing your website
If you want people to find and book your property, you’ll need to invest some time and money into marketing your website. This can be a bit of a Catch-22 – you need guests to book your property in order to make money, but you need to spend money in order to market your property and attract guests.
2. You’re responsible for all aspects of the booking process
When you use a vacation rental listing platform, the platform takes care of most of the booking process for you. But when you have a direct booking website, you’re responsible for handling all aspects of the booking, from start to finish. This includes things like processing payments, sending confirmation emails, and dealing with any cancellations or changes that come up.
3. Liability and Insurance Coverage
When you use a vacation rental listing platform, the platform will usually have some sort of insurance policy in place that will cover damages to your property. But when you have a direct booking website, you’re responsible for obtaining your own insurance coverage. This is something you’ll need to research and compare before you create your website.
4. You may need to create a separate website for each rental property
If you have multiple rental properties, you’ll need to create a separate website for each one. This can be a bit of a daunting task, especially if you’re not very tech-savvy. And if you want to use a vacation rental listing platform, you’ll need to create a separate listing for each property on the platform.
5. You may need to invest in professional help
If you’re not very tech-savvy, you may need to invest in some professional help to create and maintain your direct booking website. This can add to the cost of setting up your website, but it may be worth it if it means that your website is more professional and user-friendly.
Creating a direct booking website for your short term rental business is a great way to reach more guests and save on commissions. WordPress, drag and drop website builders, and vacation rental listing platforms are all great options for creating a website. And once you’ve created your site, there are lots of different marketing techniques you can use to promote it.
Why is direct booking important?
Direct booking is important because it allows you to have more control over your rental business. When guests book directly with you, you don’t have to pay a commission to a third-party platform. This means that you can keep more of the profits from each booking.
Direct booking also allows you to build relationships with your guests. When guests book directly with you, they’re more likely to remember you for their next vacation. This can lead to repeat bookings and referrals from happy guests.
Finally, direct booking gives you the opportunity to upsell your guests on other products and services. For example, you could offer a discount on a future stay if they book directly with you. Or, you could include add-ons like airport transfers or rental car discounts. By offering these additional services, you can increase your revenue and create a more enjoyable experience for your guests.
How do I get guest to book direct?
There are a few things you can do to encourage guests to book directly with you:
1. Make it easy to find your website:
Make sure your website is easy to find by promoting it on your social media channels and in your email signature. You can also create offline marketing materials, like flyers or postcards, with your website URL.
2. Offer a discount:
Offer a discount to guests who book directly with you. This could be a percentage off their total stay or a free add-on, like airport transfers.
3. Provide excellent customer service:
Make sure you’re providing excellent customer service throughout the booking process. This will encourage guests to book with you again in the future.
4. Leave info on direct booking at the property:
Leave informational materials, like flyers or business cards, at your rental property. This will remind guests to book directly with you when they’re ready to book their next vacation.
By following these tips, you can encourage more guests to book directly with you and grow your rental business. direct booking is a great way to have more control over your business, build relationships with guests, and increase your profits
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