If you have decided the time is right to create your own short-term rental website. You feel ready to dive into the world of direct bookings: to pay less commission to the OTAs and enjoy direct pre-stay contact with your guests.
This article is for you.
How to achieve more direct bookings
The objective of any book direct strategy is to gain visibility and attract visitors to your own brand, rather than a third party. Visitors who will become booking guests.
To do this, you’ll need a book direct website and the content should be focused on much more than just your accommodation.
Guests are searching for ‘How to find a direct booking on Airbnb’
It’s widely recognised that a high percentage of guests shortlist properties on Airbnb or Booking.com and then head over to a search engine to see if they can find the accommodation direct from the owner. The only way they will find you is if you have a direct booking website or social media profiles.
So why wait any longer?
If you want to attract guests who are looking to book your short-term rental directly, here are my five top tips on how to get the most out of your inbound marketing efforts, drive the right visitors to your website and seduce them into booking direct with you.
Tip One: The Art of Scannable Website Content
If you are asking the question: How do I write content for my book direct website? It’s all about being scannable.
There really is an art to creating consistent and scannable content.
Our visitors want instant gratification, rarely do they read our articles or pages from beginning to end. Especially when there are thousands of articles vying for their attention.
If you want to convert visitors into booking guests you will need to deliver great and all-encompassing content that is clear, consistent and delivered in a scannable format.
Step-by-step guide on how to structure a direct booking website page and create scannable content
Tip Two: Summarise your experience above the fold
You get around 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for your ideal guests to form an opinion about your business.
People do scroll, but they will form an immediate opinion about whether to stay or leave based on what they see in those first 50 milliseconds.
So everything that needs to be said, needs to be said in brief above the fold. That would include…
- Your tagline: summarise your experience in a tagline
- Location – where the heck are you? There is nothing more annoying than having to look for the location on an accommodation website
- Rock your experience and destination articles with eye-catching titles
- Use high-quality images and video to visually sell your experience above the fold using cover images and visual article introductions
- Use icons to summarise the experience: how many beds, guests, air con, pool, etc.
- And of course, your ‘Book Now’ button and contact details!
Tip Three: Create an ideal Guest Persona
Many short-term rental owners who already have a book direct website, tell me their website receives visitors, but it’s not converting to bookings. And they want to understand why.
Two of the main reasons we don’t attract visitors and convert them to bookings are:
- We don’t write with an ideal guest in mind
- We write what we think our visitors want to know
Rather than finding out what they actually want to know. We don’t make content decisions based on data and we don’t understand what our ideal guests care about.
When we zoom in on a single guest profile, we start to attract individuals who want exactly what we have.
The benefits of knowing your ideal guest and defining your niche are many.
Most importantly, you get to work with exactly the kind of guest you want to welcome to your home and when your ideal guest reaches your website, they will instantly know if this holiday is for them.
Other benefits of defining an ideal guest are…
- It’s easier to get people to book with you
- It’s easier to get people to book with you again – to welcome happy, repeat guests
- An ideal guest and niche can make more sense of your social media efforts, as you can easily hang out online where your guests are likely to be
- It’s easier to capture winning feedback enhancing your reputation through five-star reviews
- You can more easily put your expertise and local knowledge into a blog article to boost interest
- You can also personalise your marketing efforts which can make them up to 9x more effective
- Ultimately, your ideal guest persona will be used to inject tone and personality within your content and messaging.
- When you have a specific guest in mind, it’s easier to write content that speaks to them.
Tip Four: Nail your Niche
Trying to target a mass audience to your short-term rental is never a good idea.
Why? Because you will end up competing on price. Always.
Whether you have a chateau in the Loire Valley, a beach house on Anglesey or a luxury villa in Tuscany, every short-term stay experience is unique and if positioned correctly within a niche environment, means you can step away from trying to please the crowd and welcome guests who want exactly what you’ve got.
A niche market is a small or specialised group of consumers who are looking for a particular product or service.
When they search for it, they tend to use focused search phrases – long-tail phrases – rather than high volume keywords, such as holiday rental on Anglesey or Tuscany self-catering villa.
For independent owners and hosts, it’s impossible to compete on these high-level search terms, which are dominated by the OTAs (online travel agents) who have ‘unthinkably huge marketing budgets.
When you create a USP around your property and position your accommodation in a niche, you can create stories and content around longer search enquiries, which will resonate with guests on a much deeper level who are looking for this exact experience.
This goes right back to attracting your ideal guests at the dreaming and planning stages when they are zooming in on a destination and experience.
Let’s take a look at niche travel market examples and articles with high ranking search enquiries within them.
Tip Five: Balance your Experiences with Functional Solutions
We know that guests don’t book accommodation, they book an overall experience.
We’ve identified that if you want to have a chance of competing outside of the OTAs with your book direct website, you need to stop focusing ONLY on your accommodation and start focusing on the destination and experience.
Your next task is all about getting the perfect balance between functional and inspirational content.
Inspirational content focuses on what they want to know…
Articles that cover in detail the experience and destination. These will hook your ideal guests and seduce them by matching your experience with what they seek. These will be your:
- Destination articles
- Things to do and activities guide
- In-house experiences: i.e. personal chef, on-site yoga, wellness, concierge
- It’s also about you… Your Story.
Too many hosts use this page to reiterate information about the accommodation. But this page is your opportunity to connect with your ideal guests on a personal level before you even have a direct conversation.
People do business with people, so use your ‘Our Story’ page to do just that… tell your story.
Your functional content focuses on what the ideal guest needs to know…
This is content that answers the questions YOUR public NEED to know and which will help them to make the final booking decision.
How do we find inspiration in the functional?
A great way to decide on your functional topics is through the questions asked by your booking guests.
What’s important to them? What do they want to know about pre-stay? Wouldn’t it be great to have articles to share when they ask questions?
Your functional content will cover topics such as:
- Your accommodation in detail
- Floor plans
- Travel Information – how to get there
- Your FAQs
- Your rates and booking information
When we perfectly balance our Inspirational and Functional Content we engage our ideal guests and deliver solutions.
Building trust and helping them make a final decision.
There you have five mega tips on how to kick-start the content for your short-term rental website.
Check at the Your.Rentals bookable website for short-term rentals. It’s chock full of great features, tools and functionalities that will help you achieve more direct bookings.
Why don’t you book a demo today and start enjoying more direct bookings and paying fewer OTA commissions!
And if you need help with writing the content for your short-term rentals website, nobody knows how to write book direct website content as I do! Get in touch for a chat.