How To Build Your Own Vacation Rental Website - #BookDirect
A solid vacation rental website is the hub of all your short-term rental marketing activity.
While social media campaigns, email sequences, and articles all have their own, distinct purpose – it’s your website that should drive the action in your vacation rental business. Not only is having a your own vacation rental website key for direct bookings, it’ll be a representation of your brand; and the bridge between you and your guests – inviting more of them to trust you.
Listing your rental properties on third-party bookings platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo (along with some nice property descriptions) is key to driving bookings and revenue for most property managers; however, those sites don’t help you promote your unique brand. When guests have a great experience, they are more likely to attribute it to the booking platform, not your great brand (which is where StayFi can come in to help with branding during the stay).
Your brand deserves to have its own spotlight, and a vacation rental website will help you do exactly this; as well as grow your business in an organic and super-efficient way.
The best part is, in this digital day-and-age, setting up a website is simple. There’s no need to learn coding, nor read fat books packed with acronyms that you don’t understand. Simply, read through this 7-Step Overview. If you’d like to read more information, Hosthub’s Guide on How to Create a Vacation Rental Website is another great resource.
We’re using GoDaddy as an example; but you can use any other hosting provider you prefer.
Creating an account with GoDaddy is easy. Simply click Create an Account, as gestured on the main homepage and fill in the personal details form before agreeing to the Terms & Conditions. You’ll then be directed to the Products Page, where you can buy your property domain.
A hosting platform is an internet hosting service that allows people to make their website ‘accessible’ via the World Wide Web.
In this step, we’ll set you up with WordPress Hosting (otherwise known as WordPress Management from GoDaddy). This is a streamlined and optimized hosting platform for building and managing WordPress websites.
You’re likely to have heard by now that WordPress is one of the best and most user-friendly web management platforms – regardless of the size of your vacation rental business. So, it makes sense to stick with WordPress Management for your new website.
Once you’ve clicked on WordPress Managed Hosting from your GoDaddy account, simply choose the Basic Package and Add to Cart.
You’ll need to choose a vacation rental theme for your website. Also, ensure that it includes a HBook Plugin (find out more about this, in Hosthub’s Official Guide).
Think of your chosen theme as the ‘skeleton’ for your vacation rental website. To download it, simply go to Maestrel, click Buy Now, and purchase using your preferred payment method.
Next, you’ll need to install the theme:
1) Click the drop-down menu and choose Installable WordPress File Only
2) Download All Files & Documentations
3) Return to your GoDaddy account to navigate ‘Managed WordPress’, go to the Edit Site feature.
4) You’ll now be at your Dashboard on WordPress – this is where all the magic happens! Go to Appearance, Themes, and Add New (where you’ll find your chosen theme’s .zip file).
5) Upload your theme, and then click Install Now. Once this is done, you’re ready to Activate Theme.
Welcome to your ‘shop front’ – this is where you’ll really see your vacation rental website coming together.
Once you’re ready, add a property to your website by:
Go to Accomodation, and Add New
2) Insert a catchy headline and your property description
3) Click Add Media to add a few high-res pictures of your property; including your hero image
4) Complete the information in the Accommodation Settings
5) Click Publish. Your first property is live!
Understanding the glorious intricacies of HBook Plugin requires an article of its own. As previously mentioned, you can find out more about it (and why you’ll need it for your direct bookings’ website) in Hosthub’s Official Guide. But for the purpose of clarification, here’s a simple round-up:
HBook is a WordPress hotel and vacation rental booking plugin, that brings the convenience, versatility, and customizability of WordPress plugins, to the hospitality industry.
Once activated, it allows you to manage availability calendars, table rates, booking rates, and complex pricing (such as discounts, gift vouchers, and seasonal rates). Essentially, the plugin is all about ensuring a smooth booking process for your guests – so that all they have to do is look forward to their stay with you.
So, in this part of your vacation rental website setup, you’ll manage your property pricing, rates, availability, booking rules, and fees via the HBook Plugin. To find out how to do this, visit Hosthub’s Official Guide – where the steps have been outlined in detail.
Alternatively, you can install PinPoint Booking System. Contact Hostbub for a 30% discount, when purchasing.
As soon as you’ve ticked off Step 4 of this list, you’ll be ready to add a payment method for your guests. Hosthub’s Official Guide will run you through how to do this, for both HBook and PinPoint.
Too many vacation rental owners make the mistake of using generic content on their website, presuming that the ‘bulk of the work’ is done.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth – a solid content marketing strategy is what will differentiate you from other vacation rental brands. Not only this, but frequently updated content will attract more traffic towards your website and is an excellent way of building trust between you and your paying guests.
The easiest starting point is content about your area. Consider creating a brand-new page for your direct bookings’ website to boast about your local area and facilities (if your guests buy into this, they’ll be sure to book a stay with you at some point).
To do this, simply go to your Dashboard, click Pages, and Add New.
As the name suggests, the ‘footer’ is found at the bottom of a website; and usually contains key information about the business.
Hosthub’s experts strongly recommend that you add a Footer with an About Us or Our Story section. Use this as an opportunity to connect with your guests, through the art of narration – sharing philosophies (thanks to brand storytelling) is an excellent way to convert guests, in a non-intrusive way.
The stress of double bookings can rapidly become an operator’s worst nightmare. With all your other operational responsibilities, it’s easy to lose sight of this (and who has the time to manually synchronise bookings, right?).
But the problem is, when you have your properties listed across multiple channels, there’s a risk of overlapping bookings which can lead to a world of problems.
Not only could you lose a lot of money; but cancellations due to double bookings can look unprofessional and really harm your brand’s reputation.
Fortunately, there is an easy fix thanks to Hosthub – as we provide all vacation rental operators with a Zero Double Booking Guarantee.
Simply visit the website to sign up and our software will automatically synchronize your calendars and bookings: www.hosthub.com
You’ll soon bask in the glory of a sleek new website and happy guests – be sure to capture their reviews on your vacation rental website, too. You can find out how to this in Hosthub’s Official Guide.
While website design and development is an art (and we take our hats off to the experts); there’s no reason why building your own vacation rental website should be stressful.
Fortunately, we live in a digital age where all the resources and advice is at our fingertips. So you no longer need to be a tech-guru or spend a ludicrous amount of money to get your direct bookings’ machine up and running.
If, however, you’d love a team of experts in your corner – who’ve been creating vacation rental websites successfully, for years, be sure to contact the Hosthub team.
And don’t forget to keep referring back to Hosthub’s Official Guide for more information and context. We want you to reap the rewards of as many direct bookings as possible, you see… it’s all on a digital plate for you.