Tips for a Successful Holiday Home Website
What makes a successful holiday home website? As the peak season draws to a close and thoughts turn to autumn, Christmas and New Year bookings, this is an excellent time to make sure your holiday home website is up to date and giving you the best value for money. Whether you use a professional website company or you create the website yourself, these tips should help you to focus on some key areas and make your website more successful.
Make your home page simple, friendly and to the point
Highlight the main unique selling points with bullet points or other graphic techniques to grab the attention and make a lasting first impression. Let your guests know what they are getting at one glance.
Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Stunning sea view
- Family friendly
- Relax in comfort and style
- Lovely terrace for al fresco dining
- Bring your dog
- Great for cycling (link)
- A quiet romantic retreat
- In the heart of this historic city
- Close to Christmas markets
Let the images lead
The information on your site is of course important, but it is pictures that speak a thousand words.
You may be happy with the photos on your site already, however it is always good to consider if there may be room to improve. Good photography can make a real difference compared to just OK images. The camera might not lie but it can enhance. Quite beautiful holiday homes can be rendered ordinary by pictures snapped on a phone camera, despite huge improvements in technology.
Consider a professional local photographer. Not only will a professional photographer be able to provide a great aesthetic to your website, they may also be a good source of images for the local area.
Take new photographs
Include any improvements you have made to your holiday home since the last time you updated your website. You may also want to include seasonal images to highlight the beauty of your home or its surroundings in different times of the year.
Learn from experience
Google Analytics is a very useful tool you should familiarise yourself with. It can offer insights into what it is about your website and your property that is most successful in attracting new guests and repeat custom.
Work out which of your pages is the most popular. Try and figure out why this is the case and ask yourself if you can add more to double down on the effect.
In addition to Google, testimonials from happy customers can be a great source of information. Make sure that positive feedback from real guests is displayed prominently and reviews are easily accessible to visitors to your site.
Use your website to sell the holiday destination too
While your home itself is of course important, the local area can be equally or more so. Make your website a ‘one-stop shop’ for your guests for local information and deals. Reach out to local businesses, entertainment venues, bars and eateries to strike deals that will benefit you both. The businesses can gain free advertising and you can add value for your guests during their stay. Many establishments are willing to offer discounts or the occasional freebie if you are driving custom their way.
Talk to that professional local photographer we mentioned above. Perhaps they can provide stunning landscape images of the area for your website if you provide a recommendation and a link to somewhere your guests can purchase a print to remember their stay.
Make your website a useful holiday resource for your guests
A successful holiday home website is of course a selling tool to attract bookings, but it can be a lot more than that.
Don’t forget the essentials
Remember that your rates, location, travel information, number of rooms, availability, contact details and check-in and check-out times should all be easily accessible and prominent on your website. Don’t make people work to find the information they need. If it is not on your home page make it just one very prominent click away.
Use quiet times to create scheduled content
Regular and relevant content is becoming increasingly important to your website’s search engine performance but is a time-consuming job. Take advantage of quieter spells in bookings to create as much content as possible and use a scheduler, available on most website platforms, such as WordPress, to release each blog when it will be most effective.
Be creative with content. Not everything has to be about your property. Local history, entertainment reviews, site-seeing information, funny stories, quizzes, interviews with local ‘characters’ can all drive traffic to your site. Let your imagination loose and have fun with this.
Get an SSL Certificate for your holiday home website
Consider buying an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for your website. This is not as technical as it sounds and can provide a real boost to your letting business. It encrypts and secures communications between your site and the server, making credit card information and other details safe and secure. A good place to start is a site like hosting.uk. A Google search will bring up many more such sites offering SSL certification.
Guests can then make holiday home bookings directly through your website. This may free you of the need to employ a lettings agency or usefully supplement the custom you get through them. Make sure a badge advertising that you have SSL certification is prominent on your homepage to give potential guests the reassurance that they can share their details safely on your site.
Managing personal data
Try out your own website
Test your website from the point of view of a potential guest. See what the experience is like from search engine to booking for yourself. This way you can identify problems, be honest in your assessment and move to finding solutions.
Measure the success of your website
If your guests are able to book your holiday home directly from your website then you should have a clear indication of how successful it is. If you receive enquiries from other sources then ask how the potential guest heard about your holiday home and did they look at the website? Both positive and negative feedback of your website will help you to better tailor it to your guests. Remember, a website is something that should continually evolve.
This is a marketing article from My Holiday Home Insurance, a specialist provider of insurance for all types of holiday homes, including leisure homes, holiday lodges and static caravans. Our team of experienced advisers are always happy to help, so for more information call our Northampton office on freephone 0800 988 0890.