As you gaze with great fondness and pride over your newly created holiday letting property, you recall the great pains and investment needed to create the perfect environment for guests and holidaymakers in your chosen segment to enjoy their stay. Inevitably, of course, it cost more than you had set in your budget, but no matter, your guests will see the difference and besides, it’s how you wanted it to look, right? Time to market it. So, should you leave the marketing to the big holiday letting portals or should you be creating your own holiday cottage website design to manage things yourself?
You’ve probably already talked to several holiday letting directories and search engines and you’ve agreed terms with them to sell on a commission basis. So is there really great deal of point in marketing anything yourself? Let’s leave it to the experts. After all, when you Googled the relevant search terms, all you found was massive holiday letting portals. There’s no way you’re ever going to outrank them on Google, it’s a waste of money, correct?
Well yes. And no.
Here’s six facts showing why it’s a good idea to have your own holiday villa or apartment website design.
1. You own it. This is probably the single most important reason why you should be undertaking your own website design for a holiday villa, apartment, cottage or Gite. No matter what happens with any third party you may deal with, this is yours.
2. You may fall out with your letting search engine. Times change and so do terms and conditions. If you’re heavily reliant upon one single portal for your bookings and they change their charges or terms in an unfavourable way, it’s a tough decision to walk away from that relationship. If you have independent bookings coming in, you have the basis to build upon that and replace the relationship you just ended.
3. It’s the supporting act to your booking agents website. All of the main holiday letting web directories work on a fixed template basis, meaning that your information is pretty much the same as everyone else’s. Choosing a family holiday villa is an important decision, so if your client narrows it down to a choice of three or four, the chances are they will also Google the name of your property or at least check out Trip Advisor for some reviews. Having your own website full of extra information, a chance to express your enthusiasm and useful facts that will give you an edge over the rest of the holiday villa competition.
4. But I can’t do marketing, I prefer to leave it to them. Your own website doesn’t need to be an onerous task leaving you chained to a keyboard each week, desperately trying to think of things to write on your blog. It can be as dynamic or as static as you’d like it to be. This can be decided when we first start talking about your holiday villa website and we will create it accordingly. While we don’t recommend it, some of our most successful holiday Gite websites are rarely updated, yet still give the owners the bookings they need each season.
5. The big websites are huge, there’s no way I can beat them on the search engines. You don’t need to beat them. You only need to be found for the search terms that are most important to you. Read our article on long tail keywords to see what we mean.
6. I’d like to take direct bookings, but I don’t want the expense of a card merchant account. You don’t need to have an online shop. Very, very few of our clients bother with taking bookings this way as you have the overhead of a credit card merchant account or other transactional fees.
In truth, choosing an important thing like a family holiday is almost always done several months in advance and nearly always requires dialogue between you and your prospective guest. They’ll almost certainly have questions for you and this is unlikely to be a rush decision. Instead, it’s your big chance to talk to your guests and tell them all about the wonderful location and how much you love it. Most of our clients have an online booking calendar which is very easy to update, plus download versions of booking forms and terms and conditions.
These are just some of the reasons why clients contact us to talk about holiday cottage websites. Not sure where to start? Our quick start guide will help you gather together some important thoughts to help you on your way. Want to chat about your holiday rental project website? Drop us a line and talk to us about how we can help.