The main query most property managers when they begin operating in vacation rentals concern individuating the channels that guarantee most reservations and whether they should have their own website or not. If so, how much should they invest in creating their own website?
Naturally, the answer is yes, having a website is absolutely important and the amount to invest in it depends on how strong they want their brand to be.
A website guarantees brand identity which helps define company values, product quality and the philosophy in which the potential client may define himself with. The brand identity is quite important also to deliver a product that is characterized by solidity and stability, hence well integrated in the market.
Websites are mainly used to showcase company products destined to the final consumer so it is quite important for them to be dynamic, attractive and easy to navigate. It is a great opportunity for the property manager to add its own content and aim at a specific target, offer discounts and all sorts of services to differentiate from what is offered via OTAs.
Furthermore, direct reservations coming from the website assure communication to be direct from the beginning and to manage direct payments which by definition follow the entrepreneurs criteria. Last but not least, direct reservations are exempt from intermediary commissions so the gain is net.
On the other hand, online channels have a strong marketing team supported by various other professionals that have the only objective to increase reservation flow. This means they may guarantee enough reservations to survive and work on becoming more independent, which requires time. For this reason OTAs must be seen as allies, not enemies. Aside from reservations they also guarantee a certain visibility for the properties and, in any case, they do not impede property managers to work on increasing direct reservations.
Advantages from having an own website to attract direct reservations:
- Personalized website with company brand
- Creative content that adapts to company values and philosophy
- Direct communication with clients and authentic reviews
- Possibility to adorn the stay with special services and discounts
- Direct payment control
- No intermediary commissions
It is worth to mention that Icneas new booking engine
launched this summer proposes various improvements compared to the earlier version: the process is now more visual and easier to go through also thanks to the new features we added.
If you decide to have Icnea deliver your new website this, along with the iFrame/booking engine, will be all synchronized with the PMS Channel Manager just like it happens for OTAs. Any reservations coming in will update the main calendar which will consequently update all other connected calendars. Moreover our system will allow property managers to enable various types of discounts in order to differentiate prices between direct and indirect reservations.
Icnea offers various website templates but if the property manager wants we can also create totally customized websites. More information can be found here
In conclusion, having an own website presents various advantages which do not limit to receiving more reservations but also unlock different opportunities for the property manager to establish a relationship with their clients, enhance company image and, in general, improve overall activity.