Do you have a website for your vacation rentals or would you like to have one? Many *snaps* to you for seeing the value of the book direct movement! The days of just word of mouth and referrals are over. More and more of the younger audiences want to see that you’re a real person (not someone who is trying to scam them). They also want to see that they can trust you to offer them valuable recommendations of things to do and see in the area before booking with you.
While having a listing on OTA’s will help gain some traction for your vacation rentals, having your own website will drive more traffic to them. Diversifying your content channels will score you more bookings (a study found by 25%).₁ That’s more money in your profit and a bigger return on your investment right there!
However, you want to make sure that you’re taking full advantage of everything your website has to offer and not missing an opportunity to convert visitors to guests. Don’t have time to do that? Consider a vacation rental copywriter to help you!
Most of all, don’t make these 5 vacation rental website mistakes:
1. Not having an about page on your vacation rental website
Have you ever heard of Simon Sinek? In a TED Talk, he talks about how companies are more successful when they start with why. Your future guests want to know WHY you’re renting out vacation homes. They want to know that you’re doing it for the right reasons and that you care about providing them with a good experience.
Secondly, your about page is often the second most visited page on your site!₂ Your about page should be fewer than 500 words, implement keyword research, and direct guests to where they should go next on your website.
Lastly, according to Heather Bayer (vacation rental veteran), your about page should implement the MAP principle.₃ It should be memorable, appealing, and personal. Treat your about page as an opportunity to tell your story, build trust with your target market, and show that they can confidently book with you!
Sometimes it’s easier to have an outside perspective write your about page. Your vacation rental copywriter can help you write an about page that scores more bookings.
2. Not having a blog for your vacation rental website
You may think that blogs are outdated and “like so two decades ago,” but the benefits of having a blog are endless even today! Google rewards websites that consistently post blogs over 1,000 words and implement keyword research. It’s organic traffic that you post once and continues to work for you for months and even years later. And most of all, when your target audience enters keywords that are relevant to your vacation rentals on Google, you want to make sure your website is on the first page.
But your blogs also need to consistently implement those relevant keywords to show up on the first page of the Google results. The keywords need to be low competition and high search volume, so it involves some research. Need help with keyword research and blog topic ideas? I can help you in this department! You can also post your blogs on social media sites (like Pinterest) and reach out to other publications to link to your blog. This will drive even more online traffic to your website.
3. Not having good descriptions for your vacation rental listings
The best part about having your own website? You have total control over your vacation rental descriptions. But if your listings are too clunky, too confusing, and too generic, you’re going to lose the interest of potential future guests. Your listing is your #1 opportunity to make a personal or emotional connection with them. You want to make sure that your listing shows character, paints a picture, stands out from your competitors, and features its unique selling points.
Most of all, your listing’s formatting needs to make your vacation rental listings readable and easy to skim. You can even add bullet points, bold certain words, add subtitles, add an emoji or two, and more. Start off with a brief introduction, go room by room with its features and benefits, talk about indoor and outdoor amenities, and mention transportation and location offerings. The most important thing to keep in mind is to write from the guest’s perspective so that they can imagine what it would be like to stay there. Your vacation rental copywriter can help you here too!
4. Not having clear navigation and CTA’s on your website
When visitors come to your vacation rental website, the last thing they want to experience is decision fatigue. Don’t overwhelm them with too many pages in the navigation menu that don’t apply to them. The navigation menu’s page titles should also be simple and clear. If future guests are overwhelmed with too many choices, they’re going to bounce and go somewhere else. Think of your website as the central place that answers their questions, overcomes objections, reassures them of any doubts, and sells them on the location.
Every single page on your website should flow and have clear calls to action of where they should go next. If they’ve made it to your website, that means every page needs content and images that convert them from “just lookings” to bookings. Future guests want to see that they’re getting a lot of value out of booking with you. Many future potential guests have worked hard for their money and want to experience that value. They want to know that by booking with you, they’re going to have an unforgettable experience with their loved ones.
5. Not taking full advantage of SEO best practices
Last but not least, let’s talk about SEO — search engine optimization. Having a vacation rental website where people can book with you directly is dead in the water if no one can find it online! Don’t publish your website without doing some SEO research and implementation beforehand. You’re already competing with many other vacation rentals in the area. You need to evaluate your unique selling proposition and jump on that with keywords.
Your website should have main keywords you want to rank for and related keywords throughout as well. Your headings, subheadings, and text need to implement them. Your pictures, videos, and podcasts should have those keywords in the saved file names and alt text (and all need descriptions). Every page and blog should have SEO titles and meta descriptions too.
Hire a vacation rental copywriter to do the work for you!
Now you know 5 mistakes you don’t want to make with your vacation rental website. Do your SEO research, write an about page, consistently post blogs, improve your listing descriptions, and guide visitors on your website with easy navigation. If this sounds time consuming (or out of your wheelhouse) with SEO research and writing content that converts, you don’t need to go at it alone. Your vacation rental copywriter (AKA me) saves you time, scores you more bookings, and shows your authority for you!