Visitors go through a series of stages when they’re planning on booking a holiday, and your holiday lettings need to become the ultimate solution. These ‘customer journey’ stages include the following: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, and Delight.
Passing through these stages, people change from ‘visitors’ (simply browsing) to ‘leads’ (expressing an interest) to ‘customers’ (using your services) to advocates (telling others how awesome you are). The following post will outline 14 conversion tips that will help you get more online bookings with specific consideration of the different stages of the customer journey.
– Discovery, research, daydreaming
When guests are looking to book a vacation rental property, they will be researching a plethora of options. At this stage they are merely expressing a ‘desire for travel’, comparing their options and ‘daydreaming’ about being on holiday. In order to encourage more visitors to convert at this stage, you need to really help them picture themselves being there and show how it will benefit them. Fundamentally, this buyer is trying to solve a problem, get an answer, or meet a need.
Top 5 conversion tips for raising awareness of your holiday rentals:
1. Know your buyer personas & tailor content around them
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer. Think of their pain points and what would appeal to them, then mould your marketing strategy around this. See an example how to do this in our improving occupancy rate blog.
2. Optimise your website for different devices
What are your visitors’ behaviour like when visiting your website via desktop vs tablet vs mobile? (The easiest way tp find out is via Google Analytics). Have a look at the bounce rate and time on page per device – is one performing worse than the others? Find out how to optimise your holiday website for mobile here.
3. Advertise your properties in different channels
One of the quickest ways to increase awareness of your vacation rentals is to advertise them on trusted external websites such as HomeAway, Holiday Lettings, Airbnb, Booking.com. Within iPro Software, you can use you can use the fully integrated Rentals United channel management platform to easily manage this. It pulls through all of your booking information and ensures all properties and websites are synchronised. Find out more here
4. Develop a presence on social media channels
Having a variety of social media profiles can have a surprising influence on conversion rates, especially when you want to promote a holiday let, offer or share news. We’d recommend following the rule of thirds, regularly post and share user-generated content (UGC) as much as possible!
5.Optimise and promote your website content
If you have interesting/useful content on your website (e.g. a blog), think about the different ways you can share and promote this to your audience. Each blog should be optimised for search engines to increase the likelihood of ranking organically, but promoting via AdWords, social media ads, or simply sharing to relevant networks can help raise awareness.
– Exploration, Comparison
When visitors to your holiday booking website are in the consideration stage they are essentially “exploring options”. By now the customer has determined (more or less) where they will be traveling and what they want. Now they are likely to compare things like pricing and availability, as well as the logistics of the trip, including restaurants, attractions and upcoming events in the area.
In order to encourage more visitors to convert at this stage, you need to make the conversion path clear, and think “what can I give them that my competitors can’t?”. Consider each individual holiday let, but also your business as a whole.
Top 5 conversion tips for those considering your holiday rental business:
1. Open up a conversation with messages, forms, or meetings
Capture your visitor’s interest and get them to come back. They may not be ready to book a holiday with you at the moment, but they may be at a later date! Think email subscriptions, pop-ups, downloadable eBooks, an onsite video. Remember to clearly show the benefit of them interacting with you.
2. Make sure your homepage passes the five-second test
As stated by the Nielsen Norman Group, “Users often leave Web pages in 10–20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer.” It is therefore paramount that your homepage is both attractive (e.g. featuring your best holiday rentals) and clearly demonstrates what you do. Ideally, visitors should be able to deduce this in 5 seconds.
3. Enhance website navigation & display
The navigation of your vacation rental website can highly affect your conversion rates. It needs to be user-friendly and optimised for search engines. Some top conversion tips include using labels that include key phrases (e.g. not just ‘destinations’ but ‘holiday villa destinations’), limiting your navigation to five items, and avoiding large dropdowns. See more navigation tips at Kissmetrics.
At this stage, your holiday guests are expressing intent. Think of this as the ‘select vacation and book travel’ stage. Here you need to be transforming your leads into customers. One of the easiest way to manage and develop this is to use a sales tool such as iPro’s property management CRM. Not only will this help you to track leads, but it will provide you with key data insights that will help you identify trends. It is important to note that leads at this stage have typically spent the time planning their trip, or something has encouraged them to impulsively book (likely an offer).
Top 3 conversion tips:
1. Show you are trustworthy
When visitors are considering booking a property, it is vital that you show that you are trustworthy. Your domain needs an “s” after the http in the website address (standing for secure) and you need to be using known payment providers. Furthermore, you should clearly show your partnerships, reviews and ratings – 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations!
2. Optimise your holiday rental description
Although this is relevant to all stages of the buyer’s journey, it is particularly vital in the decision stage as a property description can be a make or break. Learn How To Write An Awesome Holiday Rental Description For SEO for an in-depth insight!
3. Use clear and frequent CTAs
Call to Actions (CTAs) essentially tell your visitor what it is you would like them to do next. For instance, a little red button saying “book property now” or “get in contact”.Try experimenting with colour, text, size, location and image (to name a few) throughout your site. CTAs can have a surprising effect on your online booking rates! See some great CTA examples here.
After you have (hopefully!) provided a remarkable experience for your customers, getting them to advocate for you can be invaluable. This is as, quite simply, happy guests will likely book a holiday let again, will stay with you longer, refer their friends, and be happy to tell the world they love you!
Top 3 conversion tips:
1. Make it easy for your customers to get in touch
If your holiday guests have any inquiries or issues, you need to ensure that it is easy for them to get in contact. Whether this is via contact forms on site, a phone number or email – they all need to be highly visible! Parallel to this, you also need to provide a quick and helpful customer service. Nobody likes to be kept waiting!
2. Fast booking confirmation & email reminders
As soon as they have made an online booking, get in contact! An automated confirmation email is essential, but also setting up email reminders (e.g. “are you excited for your trip in next week?”) which can nudge towards activities/places to visit will be really appreciated! These can be easily set up within iPro Software.
3. Ask for UGC
Using user-generated content (UGC) is a powerful (and free!) marketing strategy for vacation rentals. However, you’ve got to ask for and encourage guests to talk about you! For example, ask your guests to share photos of their trip using a hashtag, or offer a discount for referring a friend, or a chance of winning if they complete a survey.
It is important to note that selling your holiday rental properties is not a simple and static process, it needs to be adapted and fine-tuned with time. We’d therefore recommend experimenting with all of the conversion tips above, and seeing how these affect your online bookings.
Want to know a bit more about iPro Software, a property management system booking software for the vacation rental industry? Please get in touch here, or book your demo by clicking the image below!