A direct booking website will give you more control over your business, and help increase your profits. 

When you set up a website, you can earn more from commission-free direct bookings, develop your brand, and get more recommendations and repeat guests.

This article will explain the benefits of publishing a website, and how to get the most value from it. 

You can publish your site in a few clicks with Rentals United’s My Website feature – speak to us to learn more!

Why you need a direct booking website

If you like the idea of creating a website but aren’t sure if it’s really necessary, here are some of the ways a website can benefit your business.

Reduce your commission and fees

Bookings from OTAs and third-party sites often come with commissions and fees attached. 

However, direct bookings are commission-free, meaning you keep all the profits. 

With a direct booking channel, you’ll have the chance to replace some OTA bookings with more profitable direct ones to boost your income overall.

Get control over your business

If you only rely on OTAs for all of your bookings, you may feel like you depend too heavily on booking site algorithms and traffic.

You don’t fully own your listings on booking sites. However, you will be the sole owner of your website and can control how your properties and content appear, and what restrictions and policies you apply to direct bookings.

Establish your brand

Your own website gives you a chance to create your own brand image, logo, and style so you can become more memorable to guests. 

Instead of being one listing among many, you can customise your website to set your properties apart and stand out. 

Get repeat bookings

Even if guests initially reserve your property through a booking site, you can convert them to direct guests the next time they book. 

Establish your brand identity throughout the stay by offering business cards and branded guidebooks. You can also collect your guests’ information and send them marketing materials and offers via email or text message later on.

Attract guests through SEO

A website will make your business more visible and discoverable online. 

With effective SEO, guests can find your property when searching organically on Google.

What’s more, all your properties will be side-by-side, so instead of browsing through competitors’ properties, guests can choose from yours.

What to include in your direct booking website

If you are wondering what your website should include, it’s important to include as much information as possible about your properties and make it easy and fast for guests to book.

Here are some examples of what your site should include:

  • High-quality photos — Photos are a crucial decision-making factor, so be sure to include plenty of professional shots, and even videos, that show your properties in their best light. 
  • Details about your properties and amenities — Write engaging descriptions of your properties and mention all amenities, just as you would do for listing sites.
  • Location guide — It’s good practice to include a section about your property location. Mention popular attractions, beaches, and where to find shops, transport, and other amenities. 
  • Special offers — Discounts and promotions can help grab peoples’ attention and encourage them to make a booking with you.
  • About us page — In order to build trust with your potential guests, include a page about your business stating your company mission, and why you are passionate about vacation rentals. 
  • Booking and contact page — Make it easy for guests to get in touch with you and book your properties in just a few clicks. Links to your booking page should be clearly signposted across your site.

In addition, you can also create a blog page where you’ll publish content that’s relevant to your potential guests and travellers. Writing a blog can be great for SEO, helping you promote your brand and get more traffic through SEO. 

Create your website in minutes with My Website

Property managers might be concerned that the traditional methods of creating a website – hiring costly developers or attempting to build a site on their own – might be time consuming and expensive.

However, Rentals United customers can build and publish a website in just a few clicks using My Website. It’s easy and fast to get a site up and running in minutes. 

  1. When you create your site through My Website, we upload all your listing content, including photos and descriptions, into a simple, professional template.
  2. You can customise the template with your own domain name and branding, and change as much or as little as you like.
  3. The site will have a fully secure booking engine so guests can reserve and pay directly with you.
  4. When you start receiving direct bookings, these bookings will be synced with the rest of your channels managed through Rentals United. This means you can manage all your direct and OTA bookings side by side in your channel manager and all your calendars will be synced.

In just a few steps, you’ll have a professional, functional website to help you attract direct bookings and retain more customers. 

Maximise your direct bookings

It’s not enough to simply create your website and forget about it, hoping that direct bookings roll in. 

To get the most out of your direct booking site, here are some ways to boost direct bookings:

  • Work on SEO — One way to boost your chances of being found is through SEO. Use relevant keywords that your guests might be searching for, like “things to do in Sevilla” or “villa with a pool in Tuscany”.
  • Promote your site to guests — Direct guests to your site at every opportunity, whether it’s in your marketing emails, or when they ask for information about the local area.
  • Collect guest emails and phone numbers — When guests are staying at your property, you can ask them for contact details so you can send them offers and deals in the future. 
  • Referrals and loyalty programs — Offer guests a reward for repeat bookings or recommending your property to friends.
  • Run paid ads — Paid ads can be a good investment to promote your website and properties on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, and Google.
  • Share on social media — You can share information about your properties and links to your website on relevant Facebook groups, as long as you stick to their rules about promotion.

Ready to grow your vacation rental brand and earn more from your bookings by skipping commission? Speak to us today to get started with My Website!