Ep 049: 4 Must Have Elements of Your Holiday Let Website for 2016…..
….and the Instant Online Booking Argument
With guests wants and needs changing with the way they book – In 2016 instant online booking is becoming more and more prevalent.
Should we as Holiday Home owners allow the instant online booking feature on our websites and through the listing sites?
The big argument of should we as Holiday Home owners allow the instant online booking feature rumbles on and on. We’re being pushed by the big listing sites to allow online bookings, it’s something their huge amount of visitors to their sites are starting to expect, if not demand. I’m pretty certain that towards the end of 2016 online booking of Holiday Let | Vacation Rentals is going to be the norm.
If this trend is happening – demand by consumers, in our world our guests, to have the facility to book online. Something that hotels have had for years and we as Holiday Home Owners haven’t ordinarily offered. Are we digging our heels in as it’s something that we’re being pushed to do by the big listing sites and we’re reacting to them constantly changing the goal posts? Are we genuinely going to find it so difficult to offer instant online bookings? With so many online tools out there allowing us to link our varying calendars shouldn’t we be able to offer this, if that’s what our customer, our valued guests, want?
If the shoe was on the other foot and I was looking for a Holiday Let | Vacation Rental I wanted to book, as soon as I saw something with the dates and location that fit for me and my family or group – I’d want to confirm it right away. That frustrating have I got it/haven’t I got it stage after you’ve committed so much time to dreaming and planning for your stay to finally find the perfect property in the perfect location for the perfect price that all members of the party can get to together is soooo annoying and definitely a little stressful.
Is this change just more confirmation of the necessity for us to have independence from the huge listing sites and start taking control of our own Holiday Let | Vacation Rental Marketing. Then we solely are in charge of how our guests book with us once they’ve arrived on our own websites?
And if we had complete control, without relying on listing sites for any of our bookings, would we just go ahead and offer the Instant Online Booking option? We have the tools to do it available to us, why not?
So, what do your guests want out of the booking experience in 2016?
1. The option to book online and pay by card
If you don’t already allow your guests to pay by card at the time of booking using your online booking software and calendar – it’s time to seriously consider changing this. As Holiday Home owners we know change, it’s happening all the time, and we know we need to embrace it, whatever that change is, for the good of the guests, the future of your Holiday Let Business and for the Industry as a whole. We have a commitment to be the best we can be, to offer the best experience to our guests from booking, right through their stay and afterwards and for the Industry as a whole. I don’t feel we can allow ourselves to be behind the latest and best technology available, to not follow travel and booking trends, we have a responsibility to exceed expectation and to lead the way.
2. Lots of Great Photographs
High quality and comprehensive cover of what you’re providing for your guests holiday. Guests want to see exactly what they’re booking in plenty of detail. Cover everything and include pictures of the exterior of the building, all of the interior, the garden and outdoor facilities. First impressions count, good pictures are the key to attracting potential guests to your listing and onto making the booking.
3. A Floorplan
Sometime it’s difficult to be completely sure if the layout of a Holiday Home will work perfectly for the group making the booking from photographs alone, this becomes even more important for larger properties that can accommodate groups. We’ve all been on the holiday that we thought was going to be superb, and something didn’t work out and friendships came away slightly less solid than they were at the beginning of the break, or you come home knowing you don’t want to see that family member anymore than once a year on the obligatory get together, ever. The layout of a place can ease these stresses that each group booking inevitably has in the backs of their minds. If you can share the great layout of your place, this could be key in ensuring everyone has their own space and the shared space is adequate for the group too, easing tension. It may be a simple practical thought, such as is Mum & Dads room close enough to the Baby’s room. You get the point, the layout is really important.
4. Exact Location on the Map
There’s so many elements that make a perfect holiday home and the location of your place is hugely important for potential guests to know before booking. Guests want to pinpoint the exact property on Google Maps so they can see access, local area and neighbouring properties. Embed the google map of your place onto your website or include your latitude/longitude information if figure that out. If you have a number of Holiday Homes on the same site a map of the site and any amenities or restrictions is also a must.