While one of the great selling points of any of the vacation rental platforms is the ability to get your listing up and running and making money pretty quickly. But the same is true of creating your own vacation rental website once you’ve gotten some STR experience under your belt. It doesn’t take long, and you’ll be making money on it before you know it. Let’s talk about some of the reasons you should consider making a website for your short term rental(s).
One of the more obvious reasons to have a website is to allow for direct bookings which allows you to keep more revenue. Over time, the platforms have only ever taken an increasing share of what hosts take, so direct bookings are a hedge against those increasing fees.
As a note, you’ll want to make sure that whatever technology you are using for booking allows synchronization with your other calendars, so that the moment you take a direct booking, your calendars on the other platforms are updated too.
Hedge Against the Platforms
We’ve all heard horror stories about someone’s listings being removed without explanation or a refund being triggered that was not at all justified. When you build a business on someone else’s digital real estate, you have to play by their rules. Having your own website gives you your own digital real estate for your STR where you make the rules, and people don’t get refunds because of spurious complaints.
Some websites are also trying to enforce ideology through the platform, enforcing “correct social thinking” among hosts. Having a website gives you a fallback position should you not wish to maintain your own independence, regardless of whether you agree with positions those websites take or not.
Finally, your own website means that you can control what reviews are visible. Most responsible hosts have only great reviews, with sprinklings of reviews from guests who are disgruntled about life in general, and feel the need to vent in public to strangers instead of trying to resolve the issue with the host. With your own website, you don’t have to pretend to care about the complaints of those who are generally dissatisfied with life.
Better Brand Presence and Opportunity to Market
If you want the opportunity to scale your vacation rental business, a brand is going to be important, and a brand needs a website to live on.
That same brand presence can also benefit from exploiting digital marketing opportunities for those who are open to booking great stays off the major platforms. By having a website while maintaining presences on different platforms, you’re ensuring that potential guests have multiple ways to find you.
Hub for Upselling
We’ve talked before about the ability to easily add on revenue streams to hosting. Your website will give you even more places to gain customers, no longer limiting yourself to only those on the platform.
If you want, this can also mean affiliate links to other businesses in your area that want to meet your guests or worldwide travel businesses that want to get in front of homestay travelers.
This content originally appeared in our twice-monthly Guest Book Newsletter.