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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,
have you found it useful in increasing visibility and bookings?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Those are all very good points. You don’t want to be entirely dependent on companies, regardless what they are. Ultimately Airbnb, like all companies, is focused on the bottom line. But I said elsewhere, managing booking by yourself does pose some issue - since the guests have to trust you instead of, for example, Airbnb. This might be easier if you have a lot of positive reviews, of course.