- Buy two domain names:
A primary online domain using key phrases e.g. www.SeaShellsBeachHouseCamber.co.uk
A second easier to remember URL for offline marketing & signage e.g. www.seashells.co.uk
- If possible buy a .co.uk over a worldwide domain (e.g. .com / .net) or one of the newer url extensions like .co or .uk
- Keep it simple – stupid is the phrase you should have in mind when choosing a domain name – avoid strange spellings
Options for building/creating a website:
Hire an agency or a freelancer
- Ideal for someone who isn’t interested or feels they don’t have the technical knowledge, hire someone to build a site for you.
Use website builders such as Wix or Squarespace
- Very easy to use and can make a great looking website. They often contain specific business templates to make your life easier.
Use WordPress and a purchased template
- WordPress is the worlds leading CMS (Content Management System) and runs about 30% of all the websites in the world.
- WordPress uses web design templates – called themes – that can be purchased for little money. Once installed you then follow the setup to produce your own website.
Use holiday rental specific website builders
- E.g. https://www.amenitiz.io/ or https://www.siteminder.com/
- The advantage of these is that they often come with a number of other useful marketing tools – like booking engines and a channel manager.
- Setup accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram early to ensure you ‘grab’ your profile names before someone else does.
- Consider which social media sites you’re planning to use and how. Create a strategy.
- National and local newspapers and magazines are always looking for stories. Does your property have anything unique? What would make it news-worthy?
- To get your place noticed by the press you need to write to each news source with a story pitch. Make sure it’s simple, interesting and accompanied by a good set of photos (the industry is run by photos)
- Do some research on your local area to find out what publications and news outlets are available. Most websites will have a page of contacts which you can use to get in touch with press people. Remember, there’s nothing stopping you from reaching out on social media!
- Online news sources can provide excellent links into your site – this is a key factor used by google to rank the importance and relevance of your website / property.
Are there any local or interest specific magazines you can utilise?
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Where you pay only when people click on your advert / link.
Examples of PPC are Google PPC, Bing Ads and facebook advertising.
They can be a very effective tool as you can target your audience very effectively.
ONLINE TRAVEL AGENCIES (OTAs)
E.g. Booking.com and Airbnb.
Used well you can find guests from all over the world and manage many administrative tasks.
The best Holiday Rental Marketeers use OTAs where needed and do what they can to encourage guests to re-book directly.
Check out our A-Z of SEO that we did during the Winter lockdown in 2020. Every day was a different letter of the alphabet accompanied by a prompt or some ‘food for thought’ to help you promote your business and improve your marketing:
Dressing & Photography
- Create images that sum up the key experiences at your property.
- Have a look around and keep note of the photos you are attracted to on other websites.
- Avoid suspicion and misleading photos.
- You’ll never meet anyone who doesn’t think they are a great photographer. Whilst camera phones are technically capable of taking excellent photos, think carefully about producing your own photos. A great collection of photos is a vital part of the marketing mix.
- Once you’ve decided on the photos you want to use, store them in a separate folder on your computer and well labelled. Produce different versions of the photos – high and low res, portrait & landscape. This will save you time if you’re planning to market your property on a number of websites
- Use Dropbox.com to keep your photos and marketing materials. There is a free version and this will allow you to share photos with partners rather than emailing them across.
- A booking engine is vital. Remember if you are running your own website, you are competing with the likes of AirBnb where guests can get an immediate booking acknowledgement (if the property owner has agreed to this setting in setup).
- Make a list of your booking terms: Max days per rent, varying rates for weekend breaks… Many booking engines need specific settings and complicated pricing structures
- Many of the website builders will have integrated booking engines. Many of these can embed these into your website.
- Many people now just link to their presence on an OTA (e.g. Airbnb) to manage all bookings.
- Using external websites to manage bookings may be cheaper than an OTA
There are plenty of large, popular OTAs but there are also specialist ones such as Dog Friendly, Large houses or those based on lifestyle – advertising properties that are cool / more stylish…