Airbnb, without a doubt, has changed the way we do business in the hospitality industry. However, bed and breakfasts have been around for years. How did they managed their business? They had a website!
A study from Clutch states that the majority of small businesses use both social media (62%) and a website (61%) to market themselves. In order to stand out from an ever-increasing competition, as properties on Airbnb are becoming, you should be working on both of these marketing strategies.
Let’s check out why having a website your rental property can benefit your business:
You are in control of the experience. You can market to your specific target audience and have direct communication with your prospective guests. Also, by creating a personalized website, you are establishing your brand, which helps define your niche market.
You set your prices and don’t have to worry about booking fees, only your monthly or yearly subscription. However, if you want to maintain an Airbnb listing and a website simultaneously, there are vacation rental softwares that manage bookings through different channels into a centralized calendar. (Lodgify, iGMS, among others)
You have better conversion rates since you are increasing traffic to your website. When people visit your website, they are not comparing you with other properties, as with Airbnb, because they do not see your competition. Thus, the chances of booking increases.
Donald Miller on his book Building a Story Brand presents the website as a mean of creating digital presence without the need of spending too much money on marketing. Having social media sure helps on spreading the word, but it is ultimately on a website where the magic happens… a free consultation, a purchase, and a booking!
Building a website should not scare you. There are simple templates that can be customized in minutes. However you decide to build it, be aware of these 5 basic things Miller suggests a website should include:
An offer above the fold. This is a term used in the newsletter industry and basically is telling us that your offer or most important message should be on the top, readable before the user starts scrolling down. Any statement that includes your unique amenities, what makes your place special, or how the guest will feel once they stay there should be placed on the top of the website page. Keep it short, enticing and customer-centric.
Add a direct call to action. A “Book Now” or “Get a Quote” button placed in two strategic places is a direct call to action. One strategic place is at the top right of your website, or in the center. The buttons should be of a bright color that stands out from the rest of the content. This may be already included if you have used a template from any of the sites mentioned above.
Images of Success. Images are a powerful way for communicating a message. Display how your property is the perfect place for an enjoyable getaway. The best way to do it is by sharing pictures of smiling faces, families enjoying the backyard, couples getting cozy on your couch by the fireplace, and mom enjoying her me-time on a bubble bath. Most website builders have the option of adding your Instagram feed to your website.
A breakdown of your offerings. Most rental properties only offer lodging, but some have taken the extra step and have created products or experiences to sell. Some examples of products are coasters, stickers, soaps, and mugs. While experiences range from picnics, movie nights by the stars, and massages. If you are offering any these, clearly state how they work, how to book separately from the lodging, and include an FAQ section to anticipate any questions and provide answers to your prospective guests. A good idea is to have a “Shop” section on your website to sell these separate offerings.
Few words. People only scan through a text to catch a glimpse of what it says. Do not include a 3 paragraph description of your property, as it will be ignored. Use bullets to highlight and summarize the important information.
Now go to work and build an awesome website that will get your place booked!