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6 reasons it's time to invest in a website for your holiday rental business

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

In today’s economic environment, everybody is feeling the squeeze and no more so than small businesses. For those running holiday rentals, the uncertainty that COVID-19 brought with the never-ending waves of infection and the introduction of the traffic light system for travellers, led to months of uncertainty. As a result, this market has experienced prolonged challenges over the last few years.


As we return to normality, ensuring that your holiday rental is fully booked is more important than ever in order to recoup some of the lost revenue as a result of the events of the last few years. As we covered in our previous article, many holiday rentals turn to marketplace sites as they offer some great benefits. However, they do take a significant chunk of commission, supplemented with booking fees which can take a large proportion out of your profits.


In this article, we’ll outline why now is the right time to invest in your own website for your holiday rental business. From securing your space in a crowded marketplace to increasing the profitability of your business by removing additional fees charged by third parties, a website is a great tool which you should be using as part of your strategy to grow your holiday rental business.

Here are five reasons why now is the time to invest in a website for your holiday rental business.


Holiday rental costs are going up!

We all feel it, prices are going up. In the last few years, we have experienced a combination of significant global events which have caused prices to increase dramatically. From Brexit to the war in Ukraine, Britain has experienced the most turbulent economic environment not seen since the Second World War.


As an owner of a holiday rental business, you will undoubtedly also be feeling the squeeze. With the majority of the UK population having a vastly reduced disposable income due to increased energy bills and increased fuel prices, holidays are quickly slipping down your customer’s priority lists.


As such, you need to ensure your prices are as competitive as possible. Investing in your own website means that any bookings taken directly, avoid third-party charges such as commission or booking fees, maximising the profitability of your business.

Greater control over your cash flow

Many holiday rental booking sites will only pass the money over to you following the successful trip, for many owners, this can be a big issue with cash flow.


If you’re only renting your home during one part of the year, you might need that money for renovations, paying fees and preparing the house for the rental season. With direct bookings, you will have control over when you ask your customers to pay their invoices. This will offer you full flexibility about when and how you choose to spend it.


Competition for rental properties is increasing

Holiday rentals in the UK have increased significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, in the last three years, the number of holiday rentals has increased by 40%. With this additional competition, you need to ensure your holiday rental stands out above the rest.


Investing in your own website for your holiday rental will help to maximise your visibility with your customers. Having a website allows you to start appearing for strategic key phrases being searched by your customers and also acts as a destination for your other marketing channels such as social media.


Commission rates to holiday marketplace businesses are higher than ever

If you are utilising the services of third parties such as Airbnb or Vrbo you will undoubtedly be aware of the fees and charges. To add to this, these costs are increasing year-on-year. In fact according to a CNN article

"Broke Backpacker" Hatton points out that the Airbnb service has grown from a "reasonable 6.6 per cent of your total stay in 2016 to a staggering 14 to 18 per cent which certainly eats into traveller’s budgets and limits the potential for other adventures!"


For holiday homeowners, you’re left with two choices; pass these increased costs onto your customers or reduce the profitability of your business. The challenge you face is that if you decide to increase your rates to cover these additional charges and your direct competition absorbs these costs, you can quickly become uncompetitive and less desirable to your customers.


By having your own website you can take a proportion of your bookings direct, without having to pay third-party commission fees. These more profitable bookings will allow you to cover the higher commission fees of bookings made through third parties without affecting your overall income or increasing your rates. You can read more about this topic in another article we have published called The Benefits Of Having Your Own Website For Your Holiday Rental.


Customers are turning online before they book their holiday rental

Over the last few years, holidaymakers, who would have previously taken the world of a travel agent are now turning to other travellers to provide additional reassurances before making their booking. Online reviews are as valuable now as a good photographer. If you are advertising your home on multiple rental sites such as Airbnb or Vrbo, then your customer reviews will be located across multiple sites.


By having your own website, you can collate all of your reviews into one place. When your potential customer is looking on Google for previous feedback on your property, you have an opportunity for these customers to choose your site to read your reviews. By getting them onto your site, you have an opportunity to capture that booking directly.


Brits are returning to the same places for their holiday

With everybody feeling the pinch on their wallets at the moment, it’s not surprising that Brits are being more cautious about where they are booking their holidays. With the risk of a bad experience combined with a reduced disposable income, holidaymakers want to make sure they are booking something they are really going to enjoy. In fact, over three-quarters of Brits visit the same holiday destination year after year.


With statistics like this, it’s incredibly important that you have as much information on your customer as possible so you can try and attract return business. When you rely on third-party websites to control your bookings, you get very limited visibility of their data so communicating with them after their booking is challenging. By taking bookings through your own website, you will have complete ownership of your customer’s data allowing you to communicate freely with your visitors both before and after their visit.


Keeping your business front of mind with your customer after they have been to your property is a great way to secure future bookings. Using key marketing channels like email and social media, you can remind the customer of the best parts of their holiday and entice them to book again. You can also use offers and incentives to sweeten the deal to try and secure that next booking.


Conclusion

So there you have it. 6 reasons why now is the time to invest in your own website for your holiday rental business. From pushing back the competition to increasing your profitability, your website can contribute to your revenue and help you to grow your business. Design 49 specialises in the design and creation of websites and marketing for holiday rental businesses. If you are thinking about investing in a website but have some unanswered questions, why not take advantage of our free 30-minute consultation where we can provide some helpful advice on the best route for your business? Simply get in touch today!





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