Mastering Your Website's Written Content

So you’ve finally made the leap and purchased a vacation rental software (hopefully, Roomify for Accommodations!) that meets your needs and showcases your property as it deserves to be showcased. The next step is populating the website with content. We posted last week on selecting the proper photos, and while this is a very important part of bringing your site up to speed, it is not the only part. The descriptions of your property and other pieces of text should not be overlooked. Here are three tips for making the most of your words:

  1. Write in bite-sized pieces

Hopefully you got that bit of irony, (bite-sized heading on creating bite-sized headings. I know. Hilarious.) but the principle is a good one. For internet reading, people do not want to invest hours pouring over what you have to say. They want to skim and get the gist of it. So make your content skim-able.

  1. Use personal details

When people choose a vacation rental over a hotel or resort, they are looking for something unique. They don’t want the cookie-cutter experience, they want a personalized piece of human exchange. You can help assure them this will be their experience by making your descriptions and information story-like. Tell them how and why you acquired the property – what set it apart in your mind? Readers are predisposed to be more receptive to information that follows a narrative. Why do you think those vignettes at the beginning of your psychology textbook chapters stuck in your mind far better than the lists of terms and definitions?

  1. Don’t be in the dark

Be aware of and address the customer’s concerns and questions. If you know you are one of fifteen similar rentals in the area, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it. Instead of being afraid of the competition, use this information to illustrate why you are a cut above the others, or in what area you can serve your guests better. Maybe your property is kid-friendly while theirs is not. Find your angle and don’t be afraid to work it.

Starting up a new website can be a little intimidating, but if you simply keep in mind a few key tips when developing your visual and written content, you can soon have a functional, effective, and beautiful website.

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Why you should use high quality photos on your website

Pictures are one of the most important factors influencing a traveler during the booking process. High quality pictures are fundamental to highlighting your property’s unique characteristics; they can enhance your image and give a professional look to your website. Thanks to the immediate, and predominantly emotional, impact of pictures, the visual message often overtakes the written message.

Compared to a written message, the human brain perceives images 60,000 times faster. Almost  90% of the information transmitted to brain is visual. On social networks, images and videos often go viral and have a 50% higher rate of being shared compared to a piece of text alone.

Nevertheless, many property owners are too distracted with other aspects to properly value this important marketing vehicle.

Making your property more visible and attractive for travelers means increasing conversion rates of bookings--even in the competitive environment of the OTA (Online Travel Agencies, eg.

Here some tips:

  1. Use large, high resolution images, especially on your home page
    Research from Visual Web Optimizer shows that large images (2000px) contribute to a 10% increase in sales.

  1. Insert as many images as possible into your gallery
    A study by Trivago in 2014 estimated that a listing with more than 20 pictures has up to a 29% higher chance of being booked, while a listing with fewer than 10 pictures has only a 10%  chance.
    Don’t forget to optimize visual content

  2. The image optimization of a website and the HTML tags attached to them, is critical for a good ranking on search engines. Being able to optimally utilize the ALT (alternative) attribute of images has many advantages. A text alternative to images  becomes crucial when a browser can't properly render them. Even when the image is rendered, if you hover over it with your mouse pointer, you can see the ALT tag text created for that image. The ALT attribute also adds SEO (Search Engine Optimization) value to your website. Adding appropriate ALT tags to the images on your website can help your website achieve better rankings in the search engines by associating keywords with images. As a matter of fact, using ALT tags is probably the best way for your ecommerce products to show up in the Google image and web searches.

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The Four A’s of a Great Vacation Rental Website

Let’s face it, we live in a digital age where most business transactions are in some way aided or guided by the internet. For transactions, information, or guidance, we want to see online evidence. The expectations of your vacation rental customers are no different. A potential guest may be able to find you on one of the large booking sites, but where you truly draw them in and convince them of your value is on your own website. But it isn’t just enough to have “a website.” That website needs to be functional, easy to navigate, and visually reflect the professionalism that gives your guests confidence in you. To aid you in your quest of becoming an internet sensation in the vacation rental industry, here are the four ‘A’s of awesome websites.

  1. Aesthetics

Even though we like to repeat the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” this initial snap judgement is not only a natural part of our brain’s processing, but also a way we efficiently categorize our surroundings. And that initial impression a potential guest gets when linking to your site can quickly determine whether they hit the back arrow or continue browsing. It’s like if you go into a restaurant in June and they still have “Feliz Navidad” garlands hung everywhere...and Happy New Year signs…from 2012. Their lack of attention to details is probably already making you question their quality of taquitos...

  1. Accessibility

It’s the 21st century, people want things to be simple and easy to use, or they’re not going to give you a second glance. If your current website has the customer filling out a comment card, sending it on the pony express, and then waiting until spring to get pricing or availability, they’re going to move on to the next site. You want your customer to be able to come to your site and say, “Ah, here’s how I check availability. Oh, look at how easy it is to communicate with the owner. Great! I can instantly know if this rental is available for my family reunion.”

  1. Adaptability

The last thing you want to do is to spend all this time getting a website set up, and then the host quietly goes out of business and you’re left stranded, having to start all over again. Or, you start a website that suits your current business model, and then, a couple months—years down the road, your business grows and the site you were using simply does not have the capacity to meet your growing business needs. Solution? Find a software that can grow and adapt with you. An open source base like Drupal is a great option because not only is it open source, meaning lots of cool smart people are constantly collaborating to make it better, it’s a continuously updated technology that you can count on being on the cusp of each new trend and development.

  1. Applications

And speaking of being with the times…we end up at our last awesome ‘A’ – Applications! Having a website that can show off some pictures of your snazzy property and give a little “About Us” page where you talk about retiring from your unfulfilling office job after the kids all left for college and how you started your very own vacation rental side gig, fulfilling a long-held dream—is really nice, but you also need your website to get some business done. You want your potential guests to be able to check availability, get pricing, communicate with you, check amenities, see your location on a map, process their credit card payments, and send them reminders about their upcoming reservations. Oh, and you want this all to happen automatically without you having to work frantically behind the curtain like some shoddy wizard in a land far away from Kansas. What you want is a site that somebody already worked tirelessly behind the scenes on and is now ready for you to easily and seamlessly put into action.

Sound difficult to create a site that is aesthetically pleasing, adaptable to your needs, accessible for your customers, and has the applications to keep your business running smoothly? Well, it doesn’t have to be. When you commit to creating your very own vacation rental website, we’re strongly recommending you go with us, Roomify (AKA a bunch of technical wizards who’ve been working tirelessly behind the scenes to give you Roomify for Accommodations).

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