8 tips to maximize your online bookings

03/12/2019

Summary

Even if the majority of your bookings come from OTAs like Booking.com or AirBnb, you need to maximize your direct bookings!

No time to read the article? Download it in PDF by clicking here

Although OTAs offer you a unbeatable visibilityOn the one hand, they put your properties in competition with thousands of others, and on the other hand, they take commissions from you on the prices of the properties you put up for rent, between 3% and 15% depending on the OTA. 15€ commission on a 100€ night, you can feel it...

Fortunately, it is possible it is possible tohave your own websiteon which no one takes any commission no commission, on which you can manage everything, from the distribution of your your ads, up to the displayed prices.

In addition to offering your properties at better prices (since no commission will be taken on your rates), having your own site will allow you to retrieve real email addresses and therefore create a real relationship and loyalty with your tenants. Indeed, the booking platforms generate "guest" email addresses of the following type paul.dupont7543@guestbooking.comThese are only temporary, generated with each new reservation and therefore cannot be used once the stay is over.

Discover in this article 8 tips to maximize your live bookings.

Make a site that looks great...

Your website is a reflection of your rentals. You can rent sumptuous villas, if your site is outdated and aging, it will have an impact on your booking rateThis can have a negative impact on your attractiveness, and may drive visitors away. However, you surely display the same photos on the booking platforms, and your activity works well; because the visitors trust the platform.

Go for a modern website! Several styles are trending right now, like the minimalist site, with only a nice image, a phrase and a search bar, or a moving visual on the home page, animations within the site... Today, PMS offer quality website generators that allow you to make great sites without any skills needed.

In on the other hand, try to apply yourself to the descriptions of your goods : offer clear descriptions, detail all the rooms, all the equipment available, the equipment, location, and use bullet points and the like to "bullet points and the like to air out your description.

...And optimize it!

In addition to being visually appealing, your site must offer certain features. Firstly, your site should not be a "showcase" site, which describes your properties but does not allow customers to book. Your site must absolutely have a booking engine! Without it, you risk having a very high bounce rate.

You must then offer an online payment systemIf you offer a booking engine but ask your guests to pay on the spot or by bank transfer, this can compromise your credibility. If you offer a booking engine but ask your customers to pay on the spot on arrival or by bank transfer, this can compromise your credibility. Nowadays, consumers want to be able to pay online!

Next, put forward your contact information (mail and/or phone) or a part to send you messages, so that your potential tenants can ask you all the questions they want. Finally, your site must be "responsive" at all costs, it must adapt to all screens: computers, smartphones and tablets. In 2016, 77% of French people have prepared their trips and/or short stays online and 49% booked their holidays online as well; rates that have probably increased since then.

Add an "About" section

Visitors to your website have no idea who you are. When a visitor is on a platform like AirBnb, even if they don't know who you are, they know that AirBnb will be there in case of problems and that they will be protected. But when the visitor is on your website, it's like "private individual to private individual", he can quickly be reluctant, especially when it's a 900€/week reservation. Add an "About me / Who am I?" sectionIntroduce yourself and explain why and/or in what context you are renting, since when, etc: this will reassure your potential tenants.

Apply for a deposit with ease

As mentioned above, your tenant does not know you; asking for a 500€ deposit, by bank transfer or by check is not ideal and does not foster the relationship. On your side, accepting a cheque for 500€ without any proof of the veracity and solvency of the cheque is not necessarily a good idea, unless you have absolute confidence in your tenants. In any case, these deposits are always a source of stress and constraint.

To make your life easier and offer your tenants a simple solution, send a deposit request through Swikly! Dematerialized, the Swikly deposits, which work with a bank card imprint, do not debit and especially do not impact the ceiling of your tenant's bank card, unlike pre-authorizations. No amount will be blocked on his account and he will be able to fully enjoy his stay. If the stay goes as planned, you have nothing to do, the deposit is automatically expired. On the other hand, if your tenants have damaged your property, you are free to collect the amount you wish, very simply.

Have a blog

To make your site even more attractive and informative, add a "blog" section in which you publish articles regularly. For example, if you offer a property in Barcelona, write articles such as "My 5 must-see places in Barcelona" or "How to visit Barcelona in 3 days? "etc.

These articles are real gold mines if they are well done and if they bring value to your potential tenants. Obviously, if you create a blog, you will need to maintain and update it regularly. If you don't have any writing and/or SEO (search engine optimization) skills, or simply don't have the time, don't hesitate to subcontract this task to a web editor. He will be able to build you a good base with several articles, and then let you take the lead - or not - in this writing task.

Offer an interactive calendar

As you can see, the better your site is, the more your direct bookings will increase. The idea is to offer the best possible site, but also to distinguish yourself from others. To do this, you can propose an interactive calendar with all local events around your rentals. Depending on the time of year you are in and the location the visitor has clicked on, the calendar will update and highlight all the events in the area, with the theme, geolocation, entry requirements, etc. Even better: add a "filters" option so that your tenants can, if they wish, only choose events within an hour of the rental, or only free events, etc. This is a real added value! If the calendar option seems too complicated to set up, convert it to an article, it will be just as appreciated.

Add a "notice" section

Nowadays, the opinions of Internet users are essential. According to a study, 88% of consumers consult online reviews before buyingof which 67% read at least 6 reviews. Indeed, the reviews left by the customers allow to reassure the future tenants. Don't neglect them! Even try to maximize them by inviting your tenants to leave a review on your site.

Do SEO and use social networks

In order for potential customers to come across your site as a result of a Google search, you must be well referenced. Whatever happens, your position will be below Booking.com and other platforms because they have an astronomical budget in SEO (Google Ads), but it will still allow you to be positioned a little higher. To do this, do SEO: use the right keywords, insert links, display your social networks on your site... And if you don't know anything about it, no worries, a few Google searches on the subject and you'll have all the help you need. Nevertheless, creating a Facebook page and an Instagram account and adding nice pictures of your different properties is pretty easy and quick to do. So, what are you waiting for?

With all the tools available today, generating your own site and maintaining it is not difficult. Make your site a gold mine, stand out from the competition, and maximize your live bookings!

Octave PAVIET-SALOMON

Octave PAVIET-SALOMON

Marketing & Communication Manager for Swikly. I regularly write educational and informative articles and documents for rental professionals.

Did you like this article?

Don't miss our next publications! Subscribe to our newsletter!

You can unsubscribe at any time. Check out our privacy policy.

The low season is often a source of concern for property managers: tourists are scarce and occupancy rates drop.

Legal information

Editorial references

The swikly.com website is published by SWIKLY, a simplified joint stock company with a capital of 10,000 euros.
SWIKLY is registered in the Lyon Trade and Companies Register under number RCS 819 514 076
The head office is located in Lyon (France), 12 rue de la Barre, 69002 - Phone : +33 4 20 88 00 48 - email : contact@swikly.com
Director of publication: Mr. Shaun WOURM, President of SWIKLY - shaun.wourm@swikly.com.
The hosting of the Site has been entrusted to Microsoft Ireland Operations Limited (Microsoft AZURE offer), whose registered office is located at DUBLIN 18 99000 BLACKTHORN ROAD, Ireland, registered in the Trade and Companies Register of "Foreign company n/immat.RCS" under the number 419 423 728, reachable by phone at +353 1850 940 940.
SWIKLY - April 2016 - All rights reserved

Personal data

The creation of a personal account and the use of the site imply the collection of personal data and the processing of data.
The purpose of this processing is the management of the Swikly smarphone Application, of the Website Services and the activity of the SWIKLY company. This processing of personal data is the subject of a declaration to the CNIL by the Company under the number 1948037.
The following personal data of the user is accessible to any other registered user:
-first name and first letter of a user's name.
The following personal data of the user is accessible to any user who has accepted a Swik of the said user concerned:
-first name, last name and reputation of the user.
Personal data is transferred by the Company to its service providers and subcontractors, in accordance with the aforementioned declaration made to the CNIL. All access to the user's personal data by these subcontractors and service providers is subject to the use of a login and password, with the data also being transmitted via an encrypted link.
No personal data is collected for purposes other than those mentioned above, nor is it passed on to third parties without your consent or used without your knowledge.
In accordance with the law n°78-17 of January 6, 1978 modified, relating to Data processing, the Files and Freedoms, you have a right of access, of modification and suppression of the personal data concerning you (art.34 of the law).
These rights can be exercised with the Data Controller:
Service CNIL, Société SWIKLY - 12 rue de la Barre 69002 LYON, France - contact@swikly.com.
You will find all the information concerning your rights, duties and the protection of personal data on the website of the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés: http://www.cnil.fr
When you visit the Site, a cookie is placed on your computer. The Company uses cookies to enable and facilitate electronic communication, to provide features tailored to the needs of Users. The cookie is used to identify the user at each of his connections, and thus facilitates his access to the Service. The user can refuse cookies when accessing the smarphone Application or by changing the configuration of his browser. This may however alter the functionality of the smarphone Application, which the User accepts.

Contacts

To report any errors or anomalies on the site:
Webmaster: contact@swikly.com