Column: Your Vacation Rental Needs A Website

January 9, 2020 | 2 Comments

[Column written by Ade Brown]

Recently, there has been much discussion within the community about reduced bookings in the short term rental [STR] market. Many property managers and STR owners are struggling due to decreased occupancy. The introduction of the 4.5% Government levied taxes are largely being associated with this issue. But, hold on, there is another culprit to be considered as well: Air arrivals have been down significantly, compounding the problem. Unfortunately, these external factors rob the Host of the ability to efficiently control how their property performs.

Be encouraged! All is not lost! For those that are looking to get an edge, I have some tips for you. In this current environment, it is more critical than ever to get more exposure for your property. One way to get more exposure is by having your own booking site for your listings.
Your rental website can benefit from:

  • 1.Commission free bookings! [Some sites such as booking.com, charge hefty booking and commission fees that can go up to 20%.]
  • 2.Loyal, returning guests booking directly through you and getting the best price
  • 3.Being independent from sites like AirBnb because they pit you directly against competition in your area
  • 4.Freedom to market your property as you desire

I have found that the cheapest and most effective way to build a website is to use a drag and drop solution like Wix or Squarespace. Both of these websites have great templates and can have yours up and running in as little as an hour with a great professional look. You can also save yourself some time and money by registering one of the numerous domain names available for purchase through these sites. I use a .com domain. It is a fraction of the cost versus registering a .bm domain with Bermuda NIC.

Your vacation rental website needs to be able to take direct bookings, manage reservations and synchronize all your other channels. There are many channel managers that will support the integration of a personal website. I personally use Cloudbeds.com. Make sure that the channel manager which you choose has the following attributes:

  • Ability to accept credit card payments
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • SEO and social media integration
  • Edit anytime capability
  • Review showcasing
  • A reservation system
  • A central inbox to manage inquiries and bookings
  • Good and reliable customer support

With these simple tips and tricks, you are now ready to set up your own site! Don’t worry if you find the task daunting, if you need any assistance, we at AirHandled are always happy and willing to answer any questions!

Feeling better already about the booking slump? Good! That was our intention!

- Ade Brown is a co-founder of AirHandled, a start-up company that aims to provide linen-for-hire, cleaning, supplies and management services; catering to short term rental properties that list on websites like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and Booking.com

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Comments (2)

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  1. Angus says:

    “ But, hold on, there is another culprit to be considered as well: Air arrivals have been down significantly, compounding the problem.“

    Would you fly on vacation without a place to stay? Isn’t it more likely that air arrivals are down because of the 4.5% and thus this 4.5% is affecting more than just short term rentals? Taxi drivers, departure tax, tour operators, etc.

  2. Eve says:

    Great ‘Column’, Ms. Brown covers the subject well and points out the fears many had when BTA started interfering in the vacation rental market.
    Who brought in AirBnB? Who gets paid directly from AirBnB? Who was behind the 4.5% tax? Who gets the 4.5% tax? Who gets above average compensation (salary, bonus & perks) for understanding the Bermuda tourism market and developing sales & marketing programs that put heads in de beds? BTA!
    Americans and Canadians traveling outside their country have been constantly increasing while air arrivals to Bermuda have constantly been decreasing. These are the two major target markets for BTA and unfortunately they have completely missed the target.
    All stakeholders should be very concerned about their ROI from the BTA!

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