4 Biggest Vacation Rental Website Blunders

Because we work with numerous vacation rental companies, we’ve heard time and time again, “Our website isn’t bringing in the leads we need.” Online travel sales: Between 2007 and 2012, annual online travel sales increased by $62.8 billion. And things are only moving up in the world of online travel bookings. In order to capture a piece of this expanding revenue, your brand needs to have a powerful booking site that allures, surprises and delights.

Unfortunately, plenty of people make mistakes with their websites that are seriously hurting their business. So, if your vacation business is running slowly this season, make sure you’re paying attention to these top 4 biggest vacation rental website blunders. Are you making one of these errors?

4 biggest vacation rental website blunders

1) Not Incorporating Smaller Screen Design:

Designing for tiny screens means big advantages.

Design your website to look good on a smartphone or tablet. These days almost 75 percent of time spent online is spent staring at a smartphone. To get the most of your website, you’re going to need to design for mobile accessibility.

As we wrote in VRMIntel:

Not having a responsive site means users will face a difficult and frustrating experience when accessing your site from a mobile device. The practice of pinching on the screen to zoom in again and again will make a user very reluctant to continue exploring a site and severely decrease the chances for conversion or online booking.

Travelers invest more time online researching their next vacation destination than other online shoppers, making an easy-to-navigate site a necessity. Auto-sound features, popups, slow load times and bad navigation can accelerate bounce rate (how quickly someone leaves a site) to less than 15 seconds. Having a clean and responsive site is the best way to turn web visitors into vacationers.

2) Difficult Website Navigation:

Give people what they want. Fast.

In a world where faster is better, you want to make it as easy as possible for consumers of your website to find what they need as quickly and easily as possible. This means putting the most important information at the top of your website. Think of the browser window like the front of a newspaper. Most people only scan the section above the fold in a newspaper, and it is no different with your website.

Make sure that visitors to your website can actually find the information they need to book your properties. If they have to spend a lot of time searching, they’ll leave in frustration. Prominent and easy-to-use lead capture forms will let you convert visitors to customers faster. Optimizing your pages for loading speed prevents a loss in conversion rates.

Your vacation business website ultimately is a lead generation tool, and if visitors can’t contact you, book a stay, subscribe to updates, or view images easily, they’re likely not visit your business at all. It’s important to optimize your website to be responsive on all platforms too as 44 percent of web users claim navigation is difficult on smaller devices like smartphones and tablets.

You might not notice these issues, but your guests sure will. Is the text easy to read? Is the availability calendar easy to understand? Is the checkout process simple? Can they chat online to easily ask questions? These are all things that we as webmasters handle for clients who are ready to grow their business.

3) Focusing On The Wrong Keywords:

Help people find you.

A well-designed website is useless if visitors can’t find it. Designing site content with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind will mean increased traffic. SEO is the art of placing important keywords in the right places in your content so search engines will rank your site higher in the results.

For leisure seekers, there are five top activities for domestic travelers: visiting relatives, shopping, visiting friends, fine dining and beaches. Having a website with appropriate and popular vacation keywords can help you attract vacationers who will be searching online.

Here’s an example. You probably know to focus on the keywords associated with the kind of business you run (ex. “Vacation Rental”), but throw in other popular words such as “property, condo, house, home, group rental, beach rental, beachfront rental, ocean view, 1 bedroom” and things can get complicated quickly! It isn’t enough to have the keywords in there, but you have to order them in the way that people search, and large groups of people search very differently from one another.

It takes a lot of research and testing, not to mention you have to watch your closest competition to figure out what they’re doing. Vacation rental companies can fall behind quickly, and it is a hard battle to recover from SEO blunders.

4) Not Taking Time To Spread The Word:

Promotion. Promotion. Pro … You get the idea.

So, you’ve designed a useful site that looks good and has great content. Now you need to get it out in front of the maximum number of users. Distributing content through social media is one way to get those eyes on your site. It takes a lot of hours managing, writing and posting, but it can increase your website bookings dramatically.

Before you ask, no, blogging is not for bloggers. Blogging is a way to spread information about your business, your travel destination, the amenities of your resort, the activities families will enjoy, the romantic places to eat for couples on a vacation retreat! There are literally endless ways to write about yourself and your location.

And now that you have that content, there are plenty of places on the internet to reach potential guests. These 5 ways to promote your website ensure that your website isn’t getting overlooked in the worlds of social media and browser search results.

Ready To Get Started? We Can Help

If your vacation rental website is just not up to the challenge of drawing customers, or are you looking for some help marketing your website? It’s true that a poorly designed website can damage the bottom line of your vacation business, and a website doesn’t do any good if people don’t visit. To find out more and have our expert team of webmasters evaluate your site, build a new site, or market you to the world contact us today.