When you place the listing of your home on one or all of the appropriate vacation home rental property marketplaces, that is the first step toward creating your rental business.
The next step is to market the property.
Marketing is essential, whether you are a “regular” person who just wants to earn a little income from the home while you’re not using it, or you have invested in a vacation home for the express purpose of making money at it, or you are the owner of several properties and property management is your business.
The main tool for marketing your vacation home rental property is a website that shows it off at its best.
If you’re a “regular” person or a small business person, you’ll create the website, but leave all booking functions to the marketing platform where you’ve listed your site. If property management is your business, you could even create a booking function right on your site. You could then handle all the details of deposits, refunds and so on right from that, if you didn’t want to pay the fee to the marketing platform.
5 Simple Steps to Build a Website for Your Vacation Home Rental Property
Choose a domain name.
Later on in this article, I’m going to suggest that you give your rental property (or properties) a name to differentiate it from all other properties that may be potential competitors of yours.
But you don’t necessarily want the name of your property to be the domain name.
For example, let’s say you have a beautiful vacation home on Concord Lake near Orlando and that this lake is a prime vacation spot. You decide to name the home Concord View.
People looking for a lakefront vacation home in Orlando aren’t going to do a search on “Concord View.” They are going to do a search on “lakefront vacation home near Lake Concord” or “vacation home with view of Concord Lake” or other long-tail keywords of that nature.
So you would want a domain name like ConcordLakeVacationHome.com or VacationHomeConcordLake.com. By using a keyword as your domain name, you are helping with the SEO of the site.
Choose a website provider.
These days, with “drag-and-drop” website builders, it’s easy for a layperson to build their own website without paying a professional to do it. If you’ve got the artistic skill, you can go that route. But a professional designer may just have that je ne sais quoi you’re looking for.
Whether you choose to create your site on WordPress.com, GoDaddy.com, Weebly.com, Wix.com or any other host, check out each one to see which has the easiest website builder for you. Or again, you can pay someone to create a custom website that will be unique.
To host your website costs about $100-$125 a year. Some website providers offer free hosting, but in return they may place ads on your site or their own logo. It’s best just to pay for website hosting.
Choose a website platform.
As mentioned above, your website provider will probably offer a drag-and-drop website builder. Most providers will also offer a WordPress plug in so you can use WordPress, but hosted on your own platform rather than from the WordPress site itself. And again, you’ll have to decide if you want a custom-coded site.
Choose a design theme.
There are fashions in everything, and that includes websites.
Because of the ease of use of WordPress, many people are choosing that platform to create their website on their own — and all these websites look alike.
They typically have gigantic photos spread across the top of the page, and they may or may not be in a “slider” (slideshow) format.
Below this large photo, the rest of the site is set up in “tile” format. This includes row upon row of tiles with a photo on top and text underneath, where it’s easy for something important to get lost in the crowd of all the other tiles.
You can choose whichever theme you like — all website builders offer a variety of themes — but I would suggest that you choose a theme that is very simple.
Create a site with six pages.
Rather than making your potential guest scroll through all sorts of fluff to get to the information they want, create an “old-fashioned” site with five pages — each page to have necessary information, with a menu bar at the top so that it is very easy to navigate the site.
What are the six pages you need?
- About the Property
- Video & Photo Gallery
Each page of the site should have at least 300 to 500 words of keyword-rich text on it, so that each page can be SEO-optimized for that particular keyword.
Even the “Contact” page should have this text.
Whether you have a photo of the property filling the entire screen or not, you do need some text on this page talking about the property. Perhaps have a photo of the property on the left and the text in a column on the right, so that both photo and text are “above the fold” or rather “above the scroll.”
About the Property
The menu tab for page two should be “About ConcordView” or “About Lake Concord Rental” or something of that nature.
It’s on this page that you go into great detail about the property, listing the amenities and so on. You can take the same text that you used for the vacation home rental property marketing platform (HomeAway, FlipKey, etc.), although for SEO purposes you should modify it a bit.
Using a slider at the top of the page with lots and lots of photos is acceptable here!
Video & Photo Gallery
A video of the property, both inside and outside, is a real necessity these days. You can take still photos and turn them into a slideshow or use a GoPro or other type of camera to take footage as you walk through the home. Set the entire video to music.
Show a lot of photos on this page as well, but not in a slider. Tile them, but for SEO purposes, give each photo a title and a bit of a description.
A Frequently Asked Questions page allows you to think of questions your potential guest might ask and then answer them before they are asked.
- When is check in time?
- When is check out time?
- Are linens and towels provided?
- Where’s the nearest restaurant?
- Where’s the nearest gas station?
- Is smoking allowed? (Even if you specify that there’s no smoking in your description of the property, you should place it in the FAQ as well. The same applies for whether or not you allow pets.)
- And so on.
An integrated blog is an ideal way to talk directly to your potential customer and extoll the virtues of the home and its location. You can also share news of activities going on in the surrounding area that may cause someone to make reservations since they want to attend that activity.
Your contact details should actually be in the footer on every single page of the site, but on the “official” contact page, you can create a form to allow people to contact you and ask questions.
With such a page as this, you will have great SEO and make it easy for people interested in vacation in your area to find your rental property.
Do you have a website for your vacation rental? Any tips you’d add to this list?
Let me know with a comment!