Your website is your storefront for the entire world. While many businesses stick to social media to promote their services, they could be doing so much more with their own website.
This series will show how easy it is to create your own website tailored to your business, whether you’re a hairdresser, a restaurant, a consulting firm, a photographer, or anything. With our recommendations, you can have your own website up and running quickly, easily, and ready to get customers in.
Today, we’re focusing on making a site for guest homes, event rentals, bed-and-breakfasts, and anywhere else you’re renting out space to someone. A good website frees you from external fees, customer confusion, and lets you stake your claim on the Internet.
Before you get started making your website, you need to know what you want to put on the website. Do you want your visitors to book online? Do they need to talk to you first? Are there specific events you’re happy to host, like weddings or parties? What do you provide for your visitors? Can they bring pets? Are there extras they can pay for, like groceries? Do your prices change every day, or just by season?
There’s a lot to think about, and that’s even before you get into the descriptions of your beautiful rooms or the scenic views. Have a look at how larger businesses have built their websites, or how the competition has built theirs, and then use those as a guide as to what will work well for you. Don’t forget that, especially with independent businesses, people like to see the personal touch as well.
Once you’ve worked out what you need on your site, you can then buy a web hosting package and get started.
We recommend buying a good basic package, either our Essential hosting package or our Basic Managed WordPress package. Both of them will give you the space and performance you need without costing too much. If you choose Essential, you’ll need to install WordPress on your package, and if you choose Basic, WordPress will be installed automatically.
Helping Customers Book
Being able to book online has revolutionised travelling. No more playing phone tag, no more hoping that there’ll still be a place when you arrive, just sort it all out online and it just works. You can go through a third-party platform, like Airbnb or Booking, but if you want even more control over your bookings, and don’t want to pay additional fees, using a plugin is a great way to avoid the hassle.
This booking plugin brings in everything you need for basic room booking. Set up different rate plans, specific types of rooms, and take offline and online bookings with ease all through your WordPress admin area. The pro version is €140 for one year and comes with even more features, including seasonal rates, restricted bookings, extra services, and check-in/check-out options.
Designed to handle multiple properties as well as single places, Hotel Booking Lite lets your visitors book using PayPal, and provides everything you need to have your rental property running smoothly online. The pro version is $99 for one year and comes with more payment providers and even more features. There are also additional plugins you can purchase to add even more customisation to your site.
WP Hotelier gives you a range of options to set up your rooms, including instant bookings, variable rates, and deposits. The main plugin is free, and there are a range of extensions that can be purchased separately to customise your site, from using Stripe as a payment gateway to allowing week-only bookings.
Showing Off Your Reviews
You want to show everyone how amazing your rental property is, right? And visitor reviews are a great way to get new visitors in. Many review sites will have their own scripts to add to your site, but by using a plugin, you can cut down on the loading times and excessive scripting on your site.
Tripadvisor is a great source of reviews for travel destinations. With this widget, you can smoothly add up to 10 Tripadvisor reviews for your business and display them in over 25 pre-designed widget styles with over 40 layouts. The widget is also designed to be SEO friendly and has a dark mode version to match your design.
Facebook is also great for visitor reviews, especially if you’re looking for a niche audience. With this widget, you can pull reviews from your Facebook page into your website, making it not only easy for your customers to see how people feel about your property, but also getting more customers to your Facebook page.
Integrate your reviews with your social media feeds with this all-in-one plugin. In the free version, you can include Google Place reviews on your site as well as your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds. Upgrading to the pro version, which is $79 for one year or $198 for a lifetime license, gives you even more review feeds, such as Yelp, Trustpilot, Tripadvisor, and Facebook, and the ability for your customers to message you on WhatsApp and Telegram.
Making Everything Look Good
Your website needs to be as helpful as possible. Along with making sure your phone number and address are prominently displayed, you should make sure there are clear directions and any important information you need your visitors to know before they book. Your site also needs to work on both mobile and desktop browsers. Here are a few themes that’ll make your site looks as good as your hospitality.
With a range of image carousels and bright call-to-action buttons to make your visitors pay attention, Hotel Booking Lite gives you a cheery breezy style that would be perfect for any beachside cottage. The theme comes with RTL support, ideal for any business that is expecting international visitors. The pro version is $39 for one year and comes with even more image carousels and blocks for added colour and versatility.
Built for speed and ease, Hotell is a theme that comes mobile-ready and optimised for fast loading times. It also has good search engine optimisation and social media integration. The pro version is $49 for one year and integrates smoothly with Hotel Booking Lite, making it easy to run your website beautifully.
Built for holiday cottages and other full rentals, Party Villa gives you an eye-catching theme perfect for drawing in potential visitors. The free version comes with everything you need to set up your website, but the pro version, which is $49 for one year, comes with even more customisation, free installation, and support.
So there are some options for setting up your own website. Whether you’re a beachside cottage, a cabin in the woods, a boutique city hotel, or an entire castle for rent, having a well-built and detailed website is a great way to get your name out there, introduce people to your rental property, and show off how fantastic your hospitality is.
If you ever have any questions about how a website can help your business, get in touch with us! We’re happy to help!.