If you are new to the self-catering industry or have even been letting your property or properties for some time now, it may have crossed your mind whether your business actually needs a website and its significance to organic bookings.
Existing on the internet
Your budget, skillset (and perception of its importance), will play a large part to the type of website you have or are considering to choose. If you have experience in IT and feel confident to tackle a site yourself, you may choose to ‘save yourself money’ with a DIY option. Or if funds are not an issue and want to form a good first impression, you may commission an expert on your behalf. Whichever route you go down, you need to consider this:
If someone already knows your business, either from passing by, word of mouth, or even a face to face interaction, the only way they are going to find you again is by searching the internet and seeking your website.
The expectation will be to come across your business almost instantly and to then find precisely what they want to. Bearing in mind if they can’t - you are really missing out. Because the best case scenario here is them wanting to purchase from you, which is not going to happen if they can’t find you in the first place.
Online Business Card
On the most basic level, having a site out there with your name and contact details will act as a static point of sale. Similar to a flyer, a few pages that list what you do with pictures, can be great at making sure you have your own little space on the internet. Yet it’s unlikely to be stumbled across, unless a lot of work and attention has been paid to make sure it gets seen.
If a visitor does happen to be on such a site, what could they actually do? Yes there may be a phone number and there is a chance they’d call… but why should they?
People are lazy. Not showing the necessary information in the first place is often enough to discourage and allow a guest to give up. Let alone whether they can use your website on their device, navigate to find what they want and complete a simple task that they expected to be able to do quickly and by themselves.
Give the people what they want
Granted each scenario will be different, and every visitor to your website will have their own agenda, but there is likely a commonly shared motive as to why someone is on your site. With the most obvious answer being that they are interested in what you do, and more specifically, are seeing if you are a viable option for them.
So it would be logical to aid your potential customer and make their browsing and buying journey as smooth, simple and easy as possible. The key details of location, pictures, amenities and availability, will form the basis of both enticing and convincing the guest to stay with you.
Then to truly offer a fluent experience you should allow them to book online. This doesn’t mean it’s the only way the customer can stay with you, as they are still very welcome to use the contact form, email or phone. But not allowing a quick and convenient option, will prevent a lot of custom.
But I’m with an OTA?
“I’m listed on Booking.com, Airbnb and Owners direct, they take bookings for my properties. Surely it’s cheaper and easier to let them do the hard work for me?”
The above is such a commonly asked question and one we are faced with regularly. We recently wrote a blog dedicated to the matter, which you can read here. However if you want a quick summary:
You and your guests will pay commission and booking fees.
Half of online travel agent users visit the owners site before booking.
There is no guarantee they will return to you for repeat custom.
OTA’s market your competition.
If anything, the use of listing sites who let's not forget, have such a large grasp of the holiday market, should be to find you new business - not to run your business. Once these introductions have been made and your new customer has had an enjoyable experience, your systems are the only thing preventing future repeat bookings taking place. Don’t kid yourself that the lure of a huge marketplace who charge fees, is more appealing than going direct to that individual they know.
Building bespoke systems for property owners and agencies for 15 plus years, has left us with a great understanding of what does and doesn’t work when getting seen online. It has allowed us to create great relations with our clients, and through listening to their needs has not only given great insight into the market, but in turn has formed the basis of SCRUMPY - the affordable, all in one solution for holiday property management.
Exclusive to the holiday let industry, our websites with software showcase your accommodation in the best possible light. Compatibility across all devices, along with bank grade security and logical navigation, contribute to a high end and modern feel. Not forgetting our unrivalled search engine optimisation, making the likelihood of organic bookings and your business actually being found a reality.
As a cloud based software (or software as a service) SCRUMPY’s expansive system is accessed via our websites. Once logged in, you have complete control over your site, along with a large collection of tools aimed to market your properties and increase bookings, all whilst saving you time.
Our powerful booking engine makes availability simple, with attractive and uncomplicated calendars, and an excellent booking process. Guests can access the intuitive and easy to use ‘My Booking’ portal, which caters for online payments, room configurations, and viewing all previous correspondence.
Irrelevant of your computer experience, our helpful team of experts are on hand to get you up and running quickly. Alongside our handy user guide, we also offer support by both email and phone.
Get in touch if you’d like to find out more, have more questions or would like to see our software first hand.