Vacation rental websites are all the rage at the moment. You may or may not have noticed that the current state of the travel market has taken a massive swing over the last half a decade. The rise of holiday home rentals is one that cannot be missed by anyone that works within the travel sector and even for those that travel regularly.
This new trend has led web developers and marketers down a new path in an industry that was once way too competitive or expensive to target online services at. Now web development, as well as online marketing, are open game to companies that are able to target their website design packages towards holiday homeowners and property companies looking to get their foot in the door or improve their standing within this industry.
In this article/guide we are going to walk you through how your business can offer a full packaged online service using holiday home website software. The package will include mobile-friendly web development, marketing, content, graphics design, and other services that will help your clients gain more exposure online and increase their bookings.
What is a vacation rental?
Rather than booking a hotel, there is a constant increase in the number of people booking holiday homes on a short-term lease. Known as a vacation rental, these homes are being rented without any services attached.
For example, if you booked a vacation rental, you generally do not have your bed sheets changed every day or towels replaced, and there isn’t any room service – all the luxuries that a hotel would offer are not part of the vacation rental scene. The price of a vacation rental is often cheaper than booking a hotel and living in someone’s holiday home gives the renter a more authentic experience as many holiday homes are in apartments or residential areas that are occupied by locals.
The reason the vacation rental scene has become so popular these days is because of the huge number of Agoda style travel booking websites that are not targeting hotels, but instead, the sites are full of holiday homes for rent. These vacation rental websites have grown in number considerably over the last 5 years opening up new opportunities in the travel industry.
Selling Vacation Rental Websites
The art of selling a vacation rental website is to offer a package that your potential client or target audience cannot refuse. Luckily there are numerous ways that you can achieve this. The best way is by using one of the many tech companies out there that specialize in website design, vacation rental software tools, and marketing.
What should you look for when choosing a vacation rental website software:
- A fully integrated booking system: VISA/MasterCard/eWallets/Bank Transfers
- Channel manager: allows the website owner to sync multiple calendars across multiple external vacation rental websites and the ability to manage all reservation from a master website
- Website Builder with a selection of website designs: Designs that can be branded
- Mobile-Friendly Design: As mentioned on this rentalpreneurs blog, Lodgify has fully responsive website designs ready to go
- Full property listing capabilities: List multiple properties, add photos, and list amenities
- WordPress Plug-Ins: For those that prefer the WordPress CMS the plugins allow for the channel manager, calendar, and booking system to be incorporated
- Other system plug-ins and widgets: Support for Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace
- Unlimited Support: You or your client will have access to a 24/7 support team to help with technical issues and or design problems
- Excellent Support Resources: There is an extensive FAQ, a very useful blog section plus loads of resources.
Using These Tools To Offer An Unbeatable Package
You can use all the point mentioned in the previous section as part of your vacation rental software or website design package. Now most companies do not have the time to go through setting up the subscription, branding the website, adding listings, creating content, and so on.
Offering Value and a Unique Selling Point
Furthermore, one of your key USPs (unique selling points) here is that you can offer a fully mobile responsive website, with all the tools above integrated into that system, for free or at a very low price.
Plus, you do not need a web designer to create a mobile-friendly website if you are using a website builder such as the one offered by Lodgify.com. You save time and money, which in turn should be reflected in your pricing that offers superior value compared to other companies quoting the same client.
You already have websites you can showcase too. On the Lodgify website homepage, there are examples of websites designed using Lodgify technology such as the villapapelillos website site, so if you are just beginning to target this industry sector, you already have sample websites you can show off to potential clients.
Offering Graphic Design and Branding Services
In most cases, the artwork is already done, but if you are offering your services to a company just entering into this market, then you can also add branding, logo design, photo-editing, and graphic design into your package.
- Photo Editing
One key service you can offers is photo editing. This is very important for any vacation rental website because the photos will improve the chances of the property being booked. As a digital marketer and/or web designer, you should know exactly how photos should look and how they should be presented.
Any photos you do edit or photoshop should not be overdone. They should still show a realistic view of the property. There is a happy medium that you should abide by. For example, you will know if the photos do not show enough of the property or the angles are not clear enough for a potential guest to get a clear understanding of the property.
One tactic that we have seen on some vacation rental websites is the photos being edited with arrow markers from one wall to the opposite wall and diagonally across the room. The photo is then edited with how many meters or feet this distance is. This way people know exactly what size the room is. Even though you can place this information in the property description, having a visual photo of this is also handy because let’s be honest, nor everyone reads the property description in full.
By using this tactic, you are giving the guest extra information that they are guaranteed to see because one thing we can be certain of, any potential guest is always going to check out the photos.
In the end, the photos are what sells a vacation rental!
- Graphic Design for Branding
Branding can be used on vacation rental websites that allow you to list properties for free, but make sure you check the terms and conditions before you ass any logos to pictures or in the gallery. Some websites do not want your branded logo displayed because they know that people can just search for your brand, find your website, and then book directly with you.
Another more obvious reason branding is important is for your client’s or your own personal vacation rental website design. If you do not already have graphics files for the logo and tag line, then you will need to have these deigned. Offering graphic design means you are giving your client a complete all-in-one web development solution any web design company should include this service.
Offering Improvements to Existing Vacation Rental Websites
On the other hand, if you are targeting a company that already has a website they like, then your aim would be to help them improve that site. You could offer the channel manager and a fully integrated booking system.
This is a simple WordPress plugin in most cases, but if the website uses custom PHP code or another website builder such as WIX or Weebly, then you can offer widgets or custom code, which are all available from Lodgify.com who we have mentioned quite a few times in this article because this is the main company we have used to bring success to our web design services within the vacation rental website development department, which you can read about on the Nexsource Thailand website.
Offering Content Services
Another very important service you should be offering is content services along with your web development and graphic design services. All web design projects generally focus on is the design of the website but often leave out the fact that content is a separate cost. Quite a few people get confused about this point when it comes to web design as they assume the content is included.
With you in control of the content, you can write marketing, brand, and sales-focused content on both the main client website as well as on listing on other websites the property is listed.
Offering Video Content
Video content is now one of the best ways to sell online. What could be better than using a video tour of a holiday home? Admittedly photos are great, but a video is arguably better.
If you are not allowed to upload a video to a holiday home listing site or you cannot direct people to your own site, then use youtube to create a channel. All the major websites allow YouTube links to be posted on their site. However, be careful about branding the YouTube channel because you could end up being banned from some vacation rental sites if they check and see you are also using your YouTube Channel for marketing purposes.
On top of video tours of the property, you can record walking videos of how to get to the property from the nearest public transport or landmark, how to get to local public transport from the property, and also how to get the key for the property if the property requires self-check-in.
All these videos should also be placed on your main website. Most website builders will allow you to post videos and the Lodgify.com website builder that we mention often in this article has options available to include video on your site.
At the end of the day, using video as an extra tool in your web design and marketing locker will enable you to advertise the property much more clearly to potential guests as well as offer better customer services.
Offering Listing Services
Potentially this service could be used as part of the content service package. However, if you are designing a fully integrated web design service and vacation rental package, then content extends beyond the main website.
This is a service in which you offer to upload all the property descriptions on to the free listing vacation rental websites. It involves uploading house rules, deposit rules (if applicable), ticking the correct amenities for a property, as well as adding accurate descriptions of the property.
Each time a new website is available, you will need to rewrite the description so you have a fresh description that is plagiarism-free. To further explain, even though the description for a property is the same, you will need to make sure it is re-written in another way i.e. Copywrite the description. This is so that if by some chance a search engine does pick up the property listing, it stands a higher chance of ranking.
Offering Marketing Services
There are a host of marketing options you can include in your overall web development project. These could include pay-per-click, social media marketing, and a host of other services. You can read up more about these services here on our website.
We have brought to your attention a lucrative vacation rental website development opportunity. The package includes every aspect of website design that you could include into an all-inclusive service that saves your clients time and gives them added exposure within the competitive industry.
One of the reasons we have brought this market to your attention is because most digital marketers, as well as web designers, are avoiding the travel industry simply because it is too competitive. What many do not realize is that by thinking outside of the box and creating packages that help the entire A to Z online strategy for a company or a property owner within this industry, they can begin to offer a service that is highly valuable and stays away from traditional marketing methods.
Gaining more exposure does not always mean driving traffic from email marketing, PPC, and social media. These methods are a dime a dozen and most companies are bombarded with companies trying to sell these types of services. However, if you are able to come in with a totally different approach to the competition that stands out above the rest, such as the opportunities listed above, then you should be able to crack this niche with a results-driven strategy no one else is using.