1. Take direct bookings
One of the primary reasons to have a website for your vacation rental property is that you can eliminate fees charged by online booking platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. For instance, Airbnb adds a ~13% “guest fee” to your guests’ checkout price. That means 13% that’s going to Airbnb instead of to you.
When you have your own booking website, your only costs are monthly hosting (a Floorspace account is only $29/mo) and the credit card transaction fees of whatever payment platform you use (like PayPal’s 2.9% + $0.30).
Of course, platforms like Airbnb are great for finding new guests. But what about repeat guests? If you have been renting your property for a while, it’s possible that 15-20% or more of your business is from returning guests! Returning guests are good because they require less attention than new guests, you already know they like your property and that they will treat it well, and they will also most likely tell their friends about the wonderful vacation rental property they frequently visit.
If you have your own booking website, you can encourage more returning guests by letting them know they can book directly through you and save money. In addition, some savvy guests will hunt around for a better deal on your property, looking to avoid booking fees. If you have a website, chances are they’ll book with you.
2. Stand out in a competitive market and establish credibility
The short-term vacation rental market is growing every year. If you want to stand out in this crowded market, a website is a really great thing to have. Having a website separates you from a sea of vacation rental properties and gives the impression that you’re serious–that you know what you’re doing. If you seem like you’ve been in business a while and know how to take really good care of your guests, then guests are more likely to feel comfortable and decide to book with you.
Remember, guests looking for short-term rentals have almost limitless options these days. A website is a simple way to make your vacation rental property feel more established and help guests decide to book with you.
3. Level up your marketing
If you’re serious about marketing your vacation rental, a website should be a fundamental part of your marketing strategy. A basic aspect of online marketing is putting “links” to your property around the internet. This might include your Instagram bio, Facebook posts, tweets, marketing emails, local business directories, online forums, and more.
If you are linking back to your Airbnb or other online booking platform listing, you’re also giving potential guests a tailored list of comparable listings in your area (Airbnb’s “More places to stay” recommendations), and other distractions. This is like if Marriott went to all the trouble to market their hotels, and then included a list of comparable hotels in the area on their website pages.
Granted, potential guests are almost always going to shop around, and being on Airbnb and other online booking platforms is still an excellent way to be discovered. But if you’re going to all the trouble to market yourself (via social media, etc.) then you should have a website you can link to, so you can introduce your property without introducing other competing properties in your area.
Another reason a website can be a powerful marketing tool is your blog. Search engines like Google love blogs that are updated regularly with relevant content. Potential guests searching on for rentals in your area might find you because Google adds one of your relevant blog posts to their search results. A website is an essential part of any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or content marketing strategy.
4. Take control of your brand
You put your blood, sweat, and tears into making your vacation rental property unique. Shouldn’t your online presence reflect that? When you’re limited to a few pictures and a brief description of your property (crammed into the same template as every other property), it’s hard to let your personality and what makes your property unique show through.
When you have your own website, you can make it 100% your own. You can customize the colors, fonts, logo, and more. Have videos to add? No problem. Make your website as unique as your vacation rental property.
5. It’s easy
With the ease and affordability of website builder platforms, it’s never been easier to build your own website.
With Floorspace, you can easily build a beautiful website for your vacation rental that allows your guests to book directly through you. You can take reservations and payments, without paying any additional fees.
Have questions? Contact us and we’ll answer any questions you have!