This means vacation rentals or hotels do not need to pay any commission to the channels when a booking is made directly on their own platform.
- It helps vacation rentals and hotels to increase their margin.
- It allows them to have a more direct engagement and relationship with the guests. This increases the chance they return and book your place again next time.
- It adds a new revenue stream and reduces reliance on a single source of bookings.
Direct booking is therefore important: when you run a business, you really don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, and heavily rely on one or two channels to sell your rooms.
Get A Booking Engine On Your Website
In this digital world, our travellers are more and more used to book their stay online. A website about your vacation rentals or hotels is necessary and fundamental.
A website shouldn’t be just an online catalogue showcasing your lovely vacation rentals or hotels, with pictures of different rooms, but a real website that enables your customers to book.
Having a workable booking engine or widget is then important. To be efficient, your booking widget should:
- Allow your guests to choose the dates, number of rooms, and guests;
- Enable you to synchronize the calendar with any other websites you use;
- Get the price correct;
- And more importantly, allow an instant booking function!
All these functions are for example available through Your.Rentals’ booking engine, that you can easily install on your website.
Remember that almost 90% of bookings are now completed with instant booking. If you don’t have “instant booking” but just a “message host” function on the booking widget, then you will simply lose your bookings to others!
Now that you have a website with an efficient booking engine, you are ready for the second step: boosting your SEO!
Use SEO To Promote Your Properties
Indeed, how useful is your booking website if nobody gets to visit your page? Boosting your SEO is necessary in order to attract your guests and promote your properties.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. Google, Yahoo, Bing are just a few examples of search engines, and Search Engine Optimisation is about getting your website listed and visible on their search result page, so you can get free website traffic (organic traffic).
What is organic traffic? When users are writing keywords on search engines, (for example, “best London vacation rentals”), they will be provided with several search results. The first few links with little blue ad labels are the paid search ads.
Under them may appear a box of information, which is the feature snippet.
After scrolling down the page, users will see other links related to what they have searched for. These are the organic links. You can indeed create compelling and relevant content, get them indexed by Google (or Bing or Yahoo) and get ranked accordingly.
Get Your Pages Indexed By Google
First, to get your pages indexed by Google, you have to make sure that you don’t have any broken links such as 404, 500, and that you have a clear website and page structure. When you’re ready, submit your sitemap to Google through the Google search console. The search console will then show you the indexing and let you know which page has an error. The better the pages indexed and the less error, the better the website is in terms of SEO.
Check Your Website Page Speed
Second, the faster your page loads, the better the SEO ranking is. Therefore, check your website page speed with Google page speed insight. Just type your website address and you will get a score as well as feedback on how to improve your site speed. One way to make your page load faster is to use internet-friendly pictures of your properties. You can find several online tools to optimize your images for the Internet, such as TinyJPG, for example.
Choose The Right Keywords
Another tip is about keywords. Keywords are the search terms your target audience uses to search on search engine and find your webpages.
For example, if you manage a vacation rental in London, you would definitely want your website to appear on Google search result page when people search for “London best vacation rentals”.
Bear in mind that you should NOT associate all your pages with the same keywords. Otherwise your pages will be competing with each other to get ranked on Google.
Moreover, these popular keywords (“London best vacation rentals”), have probably been used by many other websites. Therefore, it can be very difficult for a new website to be ranked high or on the first page of this page result.
That’s why the idea of a keyword group comes into place. After choosing a focused keyword, such as “London vacation rentals”, you need to determine a group of keywords with a similar meaning that your target audience likes to use. If “London vacation rentals” is the focused keyword, then “best London holiday letting”, “London ultimate vacation home”, “London bnb”, “top London cottage” can belong to the same keywords group.
Use Tools To Get Keywords Ideas
But where to get these keywords ideas? How can you figure out which keyword is less competitive and has a higher chance to be ranked?
Google Trends is a free tool that can help you understand the big term and trends.
If you have invested in Google ads, you can also utilise its Keyword Planner.
Try to test your keywords directly on Google to see many other alternatives which people use at the bottom of the search result page.
Spread The Keywords Throughout Your Article
After you confirm the keywords, it’s time to write. You need to create blog articles and web pages containing the keywords you have identified. Your pages and articles will then appear in search results for those terms: people will see your website when they are using these keywords.
A last tip is to sprinkle your keywords throughout the article or page. Put the keywords in title, meta description and H1 about 3-4 times. This is the reason why a group of keyword is helpful, as you can play with the alternative terms in the article. Remember not to stuff your keywords in your article, otherwise you will get a penalty from Google.
Start applying these tips to give your business a better visibility on search engines!