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Do you have your own website?

Hello everyone,

I’ve been considering my options with regard to increasing my rental’s visibility (0 bookings for the last 12 days or so), and one thing that looks like a good idea (and basically free!) is to set up my own website. (Of course, there are a number of other things I can do.)

Doing this well could be a fair amount of work, though a basic web site will probably not be so much work. Among other things, basic means that the web site will not accept bookings. At least initially I think I’ll have a link to my Airbnb listing and some pictures and a bit of description about the rental and myself. Also, a hits counter. Fortunately, I already have a VPS which I can use to host such a website.

I’m wondering how many of you have their own websites for their listing, and if so,

  1. have you found it useful in increasing visibility and bookings?

  2. did you design it yourself?

  3. would you like to share a link?

  4. what software did you use, and what hosting site?

Thanks in advance.

1 Like

Hi @faheem -

  1. Yes. It increases visibility enormously when I promote it via social media. At the moment, it directs to the Airbnb listing for various reasons. One of which is for the moment, we only accept guests from Airbnb or guests who have stayed with us previously.

  2. Yes. It’s very basic and simple. The reason for that is that more and more people are using their phones (as the statistics from my ‘real job’ site shows as well as industry stats) to search for and book accommodation and so all you need is something that gives basic facts and can be navigated through quickly. See it as more of a ‘shop window’ rather than the comprehensive sites of years gone by.

  3. You’ve seen it already but here goes:
    http://www.hendricks-isle.com/
    :slight_smile:

Hi @jaquo,

This might be a dumb question, but is promoting your own web site via social media better than promoting the Airbnb listing link directly via social media? And if so, why? But maybe your point 2 is partly an answer to that?

And yes, you already posted your website for me earlier. Thanks again. :slightly_smiling:

Hi @faheem - not a dumb question at all :slight_smile:

I promote the listing directly too but sometimes I might want to promote a various aspect of the listing that I don’t have full details about on Airbnb. For example, I recently wrote about the fact that we are dog-friendly and so I promoted that. On Airbnb it just has the pet-friendly box ticked and I think one sentence in the description.

Because I want to promote the dog-friendliness in particular at the moment, I made the page to show what the guests get in more detail. I also wanted to advertise the fact that people can paddle board directly from the dock so I wrote this article on my ‘real’ site. Doing these gives me a lot more opportunity to explain special features than the listing does and every article links through to the listing so that people can see more images, check in and check out times, availability and so on.

Hope this makes sense :slightly_smiling:

If I make a website, I am going to have accept payments directly from there, as I’m not willing to link back to ABB, then people get floating around there to see what else is available, and then I’ve managed to do is give free advertising to ABB and maybe even someone else who gets my booking instead of me. I also have a FB page for my rental. I’ve been experimenting with boosting posts from to very specific places and during specific time frames. So far, my campaigns have had very good results. No bookings, but then again, I’m not leading them to a website just my FB page. For instance, early this morning, I boosted a post to a specific town + 50 miles. Within 4 hours it had 6 likes and my FB page got 2 new likes.

1 Like

Hi @brook2adks,

That sounds good in principle, but I imagine it would increase the difficulty of setting up the website somewhat. Probably no big deal, if you have a little experience with that sort of thing.

I’m not sure if not linking back to Airbnb would make any difference. Most people will have probably done a quick onceover of popular sites, I imagine. And Airbnb is hard to miss. They advertise everywhere.

Yes, it’s no big deal. There are plenty of ways to do it and it’s what we used to do before we started with Airbnb.

If you’re making pages to promote on your own website, the goal is to make it so attractive to viewers that yes, they might have a peek around Airbnb but if you’ve done a good enough sales job on your site, they’ll book with you. Every time I promote the dog page I get a booking or bookings from dog owners :slight_smile:

Hi @jaquo,

Yes, that does make sense. On the Airbnb page you are constrained to a very specific format. Note, however, that the link at the bottom of that article (http://fort-lauderdale-paddleboard-vacation/) is broken. :slightly_smiling:

Either that, or my DNS servers are misbehaving.

It just worked for me but just in case, here’s the direct link:

1 Like

Faheem,

I will PM you my website. It still needs a lot of work, and I was just going to create a new thread asking for advice on Fiverr, etc.

  1. Has it increased visibility and bookings? Yes. I link to a couple of local attractions in the area and they have a section on their site for places to stay. I am listing under their lodging section in exchange for me posting their link under my activities section.

  2. Did you design it yourself? No. I do give myself an “A” for effort in trying to create a Wordpress site. But I was so frustrated. I would look at youtube videos on how to create your site within a couple of hours, etc. And even if the video was very recent, it seemed there were already changes in that version of Wordpress. So, I would be trucking along and then BAM! - I was stuck and would spend two hours googling how to do a work around. I finally did a guest stay barter in exchange for a site. I think the cost would have been at least $750 out of pocket. Can’t quite recall, but the person came recommended from a previous guest. That was a learning experience too. I still needed to do my own research on how to spot a bad website designer and how to communicate what I wanted my site to portray. For example, I read up on colors that are used in marketing in order to attract certain consumers. You know…how the American fast food places all use red, yellow, and orange in their brand because they subconsciously trigger the appetite. I let my designer know who my target market was and asked if she could use certain colors to portray elegance, luxury, etc.

I let all my Air and Flipkey guests know if they would like to return to contact me directly through my site if they want to avoid the booking fees. Depending on how far out the dates are, I require a check. I understand that won’t work in certain markets. But I despise credit card fees, and hate being susceptible to a potential chargeback.

When I receive a new inquiry via my website - I will share my reviews on Air and Trip Advisor, but I warn the guest about the booking fees. I do tell them they are welcome to book through those sites, but they always come back to book through me directly. My rates are based on what the market will bear (WITHOUT booking fees) - so people booking me on sites like Air and Flipkey, etc. have money to burn. That’s why I no longer get many bookings through those sites.

Hi @jaquo,

No, you misunderstand me. http://jaquo.com/fort-lauderdale-paddleboard-vacation/ is the link for your article. But the link at the bottom of that article, labelled “Find out more about the apartment here.”, is linked to http://fort-lauderdale-paddleboard-vacation/, and that doesn’t seem to be a legit domain name.

Querying a nameserver directly (on Linux) gives:

host fort-lauderdale-paddleboard-vacation
Host fort-lauderdale-paddleboard-vacation not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)

Oh, and the picture by your byline is also missing.

THANK YOU! Missed that :slightly_smiling:

Hi @cabinhost,

Yes, please do. I might offer some suggestions, if that is Ok.

I’m unlikely to use Wordpress, because I hate PHP with the fire of a thousand suns. :slight_smile: I might either go with plain handwritten web pages or possibly a web framework like Django. There are many possibilities. The only certainty is that it will take too much time to do. I’ve done some web programming before (for a project that was much harder than any website), so I think I will probably cope, though.

BTW, note that Stack Exchange is generally a good place to ask for programming help. They even have a Wordpress site - https://wordpress.stackexchange.com/.

Absolutley agree with Brook2 about leading someone to sites that have hundreds as your competition. That used to be a huge no no to me. Only recently - after HA implemented their booking fee, do I now use Air and TripAdvisor to add credibility to my own site.

Basically before - I would never send my website inquiries to VRBO as I didn’t want them to now start poking around. But once they implemented the booking fee, I am using it to my advantage. When a guest sees on Trip Advisor it will add $40 per night to their stay, or Air it will add $30 a night per stay…they come right back to me.

I do not have the booking fee on VRBO because I no longer use their payment system. But I refuse to send guests there to read my reviews because I despise them right now…lol.

1 Like

I am planning on making a website for my rental and even looking at adding a credit card ability. I also plan on adding some new properties here in the near future anyway and am using ABB to see if I should list them there or go on my own. So far after a promising start ABB has given me no bookings for a month now. It is seeming that it may be better to go on my own but will wait to see if it picks up.

I can advertise on my own for anyone looking for accommodations in my area if I want.

HI @luckytxn,

Thank you for your response. Have you thought about where you will host the site?

Sorry to hear that. What is your approximate location?

Regards, Faheem

I’m interested as well as to the hosting site. I have one on wix, that I never bother with because it’s quite horrible. I can stumble around the internet a bit, but in no way an expert at setting up a website. I was thinking of something like weebly.

Between Houston and Galveston Texas off the bay.

I haven’t thought where to host the site except find a cheap hosting site. I had a website for a business here also we have and it is easy to make and set up a site.

By all means use ABB to rent out your accommodations - with the goal of trying to get your own direct bookings through your own site. You just don’t want to be 100% reliant on a company that has the ability to change the rules of how you run your business - at any time. Tomorrow Air could say they want an additional 5% commission, on top of the credit card fees, and the traveler fee that limits our ability to raise rates.

It’s good to have repeats book direct with you instead of sending through Air again. Have your happy guests refer their friends/family to you, not Air.

2 Likes

Actually the website I am planning on is to turn the property into a venue for very short rentals like wedding party or dinners. Part of the property has an external no attached kitchen area and balcony, etc. That can be rented for hours at a time so chefs and such can entertain. If the property is rented through ABB it will be kept that way but if ABB doesn’t pick up bookings then I can switch to renting the house on my own through a website and I even have other property that can be furnished and rented out whole. IF ABB is getting the bookings then I will keep using them and adding properties. You are right if they increase the costs then I will go on my own.

The problem where I am using ABB is that ABB seems to be little used right now and unknown. I am hoping it gets popular and becomes a good resource to rent properties but so far it is lacking. I started an ad that uses Google and seeing if that helps but so far a lot of clicks but no bookings.

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