Online travel planning and booking have become quite popular and an important part of people’s life now. Websites like Airbnb, FlipKey, HomeAway are making it simpler for dynamic travelers to find cost-effective accommodation within their budgets. Vacation rentals are a good substitute to traditional hotels. Airbnb is a well-known example, which allows people to rent their apartments, bed and breakfasts and rooms to travelers across the world. It is lucrative to get into this business to take away a pie of the market share. In this post, we are going to discuss how to create a vacation rental website of your own.
Whatever business you start, the first step is to conduct market research to understand your audience thoroughly. If the properties listed in your vacation rental website are similar to the taste of your audience, you will be able to attract more visitors.
Based on the research, you can decide on what properties to be listed on your website. For example, older people will prefer a calm and tranquil atmosphere.
You also need to decide whether you want to go international or want to be confined to a particular country or city, depending on your research and the level of competition in the market.
The next step is to decide on whether you want to get your vacation rental website built from scratch or use a readymade clone script. If you decide to choose website development from scratch, you will be able to build a website exactly the way you want but the project would take too long to complete with extra cost. The same money could be invested in the marketing of your website.
Another option is to buy a vacation rental script to get going with running the business rather than having time locked up in the development process. Even from the cost point of view, a readymade script is a feasible solution. MintTM offers StaysBnB – An Airbnb clone script to help you build your own website like Airbnb with the same layout and features, with customization options.
Content is what attracts the users to your website. By showing the apartments and rooms in a unique way with high-quality content in the website along with pictures, descriptions, list of amenities, pricing and owner’s information, you can make it simple for the users to book rooms.
You should create and publish useful content on your blog to attract and engage users. For example, by visiting the stories section on Airbnb’s website, you will be able to get an idea about various hosts and guests sharing their stories and experiences, meant for user engagement and forging an emotional attachment with the readers.
You can use different mediums of marketing before the launch of your product:
- SEO – SEO or search engine optimization can help your customers find your website through search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Your website should be SEO optimized to attract organic traffic. You should focus on both on-page and off-page SEO, by using target keywords on your homepage as well as doing SEO activities away from your website too like link building, to increase your search engine rankings.
- Social Media – Social media can help you drive more traffic through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, etc. It is important to build a huge fan following on these social media sites and inform them about the launch of your website. You should have social media buttons on your website as well as blog to allow users to share your post. Over and above that, you should keep your target audience updated with the latest offers and discounts through social media platforms. You should write interesting posts on these sites to keep the users engaged.
- PPC – PPC or Pay Per Click can help you drive paid traffic to your website and is a good way to attract an audience in the initial stage of your business. Airbnb too uses this method to drive customers on its website.
- E-Mail Marketing – E-mail marketing is another way of informing your customers about the launch of your website. You need to find ways to build a customer list for future marketing purposes. One way is to make the users create an account on your website. Other ways include allowing users to sign up for updates and sending a monthly newsletter to inform them about your business.
Your launch phase is important because you get a chance to create a buzz around your website. You can create a landing page on your homepage with the date of launch and can even have a squeeze page to get email addresses. By collecting email addresses, you will be able to build a database of your target audience for promotion and getting their feedback.
Your main goals during the launch of your website should be to make users create an account, drop an email and subscribe, book a room and comment/suggest about your website.
You should use Google Analytics to track and monitor your conversion rates. You need to find out ways to increase your bookings. When users come to your website, they should find it easy to navigate. You should avoid complex language and features that restrict your visitors to taking an action. Avoid using unnecessary images and links and keep your social media icons on the top right-hand corner of your website.
Setting up an online vacation rental business from scratch isn’t an easy task, involving lot of strategic decisions. The secret lies in setting up a solid business foundation. You need to have proper planning in place, constantly watching the latest market trends and continuously improving to keep up in the competitive market. You can have a look at the successful listings in your competitors’ websites and see what hosts are offering, checking out the reviews to see what travelers are saying about their stays. Think about what you can do to generate raving reviews and good ratings of your website to get noticed in customers’ eyes!