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The Benefits Of Having Your Own Website For Your Holiday Rental

In the UK alone there are 40% more holiday lets than there were three years ago, mainly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For many holiday home owners, third party holiday marketplaces like Airbnb, Verbo, and HolidayCottages offer a great way to reach their target audience and secure bookings. However this comes at a heavy price literally... Their fees!


In this article we take a look at the true cost of relying on these third party businesses to generate bookings and investing in your own website could save you thousands in the long term.

The cost of using a holiday marketplace site

If you rent a holiday cottage, lakeside cabin or a city based apartment, you will know that the primary goal is to secure as many bookings as possible. Sites like Verbo and Airbnb take the pressure away from landlords by offering a huge range of potential customers. Now don't get us wrong, there is totally a place for these businesses in helping to maintain a steady stream of revenue. However with many marketplace sites charging a commission and handling fees, this can quickly eat into your profits. As well as this, some sites will even hold your earned revenue until after the booking is complete, leaving many holiday home owners with a significant cash flow challenge.


To outline just how significant the financial sacrifice is for holiday homeowners, we have pulled together a table outlining the fees for a few of the main providers, based on a one weeks stay at £1,556.

Holiday Marketplace

% Charges

Total Charges Per Stay*

Vrbo

5% Commission

3% Handling Fee

£125

​Airbnb

14% Guest Charge

3% Host Fee

​Guest Pays: £217.84

Host Pays: £46.68

Total Fees: £264.62

Sykescottages.co.uk

20% commission

£311.20

*Based on 1 week UK holiday rental based on 2021 average price of £1556 per week


As you can see, even for a one week booking, the Holiday Marketplace sites take a significant commission for their services. As a holiday homeowner, if you attract and capture a few bookings a year, you can generate £100's worth of additional revenue. To do this, the first step is having somewhere to take your own bookings.


How you can use a website to generate your own bookings

There are multiple opportunities that arise when you have your own website for your holiday rental business. From attracting potential customers to your property through an online blog, to capturing bookings directly, a website can make a major contribution to your revenue,


Capture additional leads and revenue

Having a website to advertise your holiday rental business is a great way to capture additional bookings without having to pay commission fees. A holiday rental website should not only showcase your property but should offer the visitors the ability to enquire about staying at your property.

More advanced websites will also show live availability, pricing and offer the holiday maker the opportunity to select specific dates and book their holiday online. Design 49 have supported a client with their holiday rental website which has reduced their reliance on 3rd party websites to generate bookings. You can see an example of our work here.


Offer a destination for your promotions

If you have a holiday rental website, its probable that you'll be proudly sharing photos and videos on your social media or you might be posting them through a dedicated account for your holiday rental. Well, having your own website offers you a great destination to direct your marketing activity such as your social media, especially when promoting availability, special offers or new features.


Increase return bookings

If your guests holiday has come to an end and they have enjoyed their stay, there is a good chance they will consider coming back to your holiday home, especially if they are a fan of the region where your property resides.


Why not leave a strategic calling card next to your guest book telling your guests that if they rebook within a certain period, they can secure their booking at preferential rate. You can then direct your customers back to your website using a QR code, making it as simple as possible for them to make their return booking.


Start a holiday related blog

A blog is a great way to attract new customers to your website. You can use your blog to write about topics that your guests may be interested in. By getting them onto your site you can then introduce them to your holiday rental which could generate more enquiries. If you're interested in starting a blog on your holiday rental website, you can read our dedicated post with three ideas to get you started here!


Additional benefits to taking your own bookings

There are a number of other benefits to taking your own bookings directly from your customers including:


Better visibility of customer data

Most holiday marketplace sites are extremely strict about communication occuring between host and guest outside of their platform. Now clearly there is a safety element to this however it is also to stop you from circumventing their platform and taking bookings directly. As such, you very rarely will obtain any useable communication data like your customer's email address.


When a customer books through your website, you can ask for as much information as you require to process the bookings. Usually this will include an email address which you'll need to communicate with them about their booking, but you can also use it to market to them in the future. You can then send them personalised communications such as rates for the next years, last minute discounts when there is late availability and to ask them for feedback on previous stays they have had at your property.


Eliminate your customer's fees allowing you to increase your prices

Some holiday marketplace sites like Airbnb add a charge to the customer's booking, adding a significant amount to their price. For bookings taken directly, this charge can be simply applied on top of your standard price, allowing you to increase your revenue and profit. Alternatively, you can eliminate this fee and use it as an incentive to encourage customers to book directly instead of using third party websites.


Looking for a holiday website? We're here to help!

Design 49 has extensive experience in creating affordable holiday rental websites as well as effective marketing strategies to help drive new customers, including content development and social media consultancy. We recognise that costs are rising for everyone which is why we always try and make our services affordable.


We're pleased to offer a 30 minute free consultation where we review your marketing efforts and then offer advice on the best ways to grow your business. To take advantage of this offer, get in touch using our contact form.


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