You already learned about the importance of professional photos and writing property descriptions. These are some of the basic components for a vacation rental business. The next step is to host this content on your own website.

It is important to create a website that gets travelers to book your property. Here are the first steps to designing a vacation rental website.

Choose a Platform

Rental owners have many options for their websites’ platform. You may already know some popular platforms. Such websites include WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix.

Yet there may be other platforms which work better for your business. This depends on your budget, tech skills, and desired website features. See which platform matches your goals:

Weebly

Drag and drop website builder with guided setup

Weebly Website Snip
Souce: Snippet From Weebly Website Themes

Features

  • Create your own galleries, backgrounds, and slideshows
  • Custom Domain
  • SEO Tools

Pricing

  • Free (Basic Use)
  • Drag & Drop Builder
  • Displays Weebly Ads
  • 500 MB Storage
  • Weebly.com Subdomain

Starter – $8

  • Drag & Drop Builder
  • No Weebly Ads
  • Unlimited Storage
  • Connect Your Domain
  • Advanced Site Stats
  • 3% transaction fee

Pro – $12, Same as the Starter Plan with the addition of:

  • Site Search
  • Password Protection
  • Video Backgrounds
  • HD Video & Audio
  • Up to 100 Members

Business – $25, Includes all features listed above with the addition of:

  • Unlimited Members
  • Membership Registration
  • 0% transaction fee

Simbla

One unified business environment: Responsive Website Builder, Application Builder, App Market

Simbla Website Themes
Source: Snipper From Simbla Website Theme

Features

  1. Full Security
  2. Cloud-based Platform
  3. SEO
  4. Bootstrap technology

Pricing

Free – 60 Day Trial of all features

Starter

  • $6/month
  • 1 GB Storage & Bandwidth
  • Connect your Domain
  • 1,000 Database Records
  • 1,000 Database Requests
  • Blog
  • News
  • Product Catalog
  • Lead Manager

Basic – Same features as above with the differences:

  • $12 /month
  • 3 GB Storage & Bandwidth
  • Connect your own Domain
  • 5,000 Database Records
  • 10,000 Requests
  • E-Commerce

Advanced – Same features as above with the exceptions:

  • $24 /month
  • 10 GB Storage / Bandwidth
  • Connect your own Domain
  • 20,000 Database Records
  • 40,000 Database Requests

Pro – Same features as above with the exceptions:

  • $48 /month
  • 20 GB Storage / Bandwidth
  • Connect your own Domain
  • 50,000 Database Records
  • 100,000 Database Requests

WordPress

Source: Snippet From WordPress Theme Directory

Features

  • Drag & Drop Posts/Media
  • Built-in Social Sharing
  • In-Depth Stats
  • SEO

Pricing

Free

  • WordPress Subdomain
  • JetPack Plugin (Social sharing, site stats, spam protection, SEO)
  • Basic Design Customization
  • Free themes
  • 3 GB Storage Space

Personal – Same features as above plan with the exception of:

  • $2.99/month billed yearly
  • Custom Domain Name
  • Email and Live Chat Support
  • 6GB Storage Space
  • Remove WordPress.com Ads

Premium – Same features as above plan with the exception of:

  • $8.25/month billed yearly
  • Unlimited Premium Themes
  • Advanced Design Customization
  • 13GB Storage Space
  • Remove WordPress.com Ads
  • Monetize your site
  • Video-Press support

Business – Same features as above with the exception of:

  • $24.92/ month billed yearly
  • Unlimited Storage Space
  • Remove WordPress.com Ads
  • Attend live courses
  • SEO Tools
  • Install Plugins
  • Upload themes
  • Google Analytics Integration
  • Remove WordPress.com Branding

Wix

Wix Website Themes
Source: Snippet from Wix Website Themes

Features

  • Easy Drag and Drop Design
  • Custom Domain Name
  • Video
  • SEO
  • Bookings / Customers Tab
  • Mobile App
  • Members’ Forum
  • Text Editor – for customization

Pricing

Wix offers prices for personal or professional websites. Listed below are the ones most applicable for vacation rental users:

Unlimited Plan (For Entrepreneurs and Freelancers)

  • $14/month
  • Unlimited bandwidth & pages
  • 10 GB storage
  • Free Domain
  • Remove Wix Ads
  • $300 Ad Vouchers
  • Site Booster App
  • Form Builder App

eCommerce (For Small Businesses) – Same features as the unlimited plan with the exceptions of:

  • $17/month
  • 20 GB bandwidth
  • 20 GB storage
  • Online Store

VIP (Priority Support) – Has the same features as the eCommerce plan with the additional items:

  • $25/month
  • VIP support / 24-7 Support
  • Site Review

If you don’t have time to build your website on your own, that’s okay.

Futurestay's vacation rental Dashboard, can help you design a website. You choose one of our templates, customize your fonts and colors, add photos, and make your website personalized!

Do you already have a website? No problem! You can connect your website and domain to access Futurestay’s Dashboard with full access to Futurestay’s listing channel automation, guest management, financial reports, and other features.

Choosing a Website Template

Different platforms provide designs that tailor to your property. For instance, whether you want your website to be image-focused. Some templates allow you to choose where you want the search bar. Should it be in the middle of the page? After your property’s images?

How do you choose the best template for your rental business? Think of your brand as a whole. What colors, images, and font choices reflect your brand?

For instance, an urban apartment’s website would have a different feeling than a tropical villa. Make sure that your design choices have meaning.

Choose a Website Template Which Aligns with Your Rental Business

Keep It Simple

Part of creating a website means customizing it for your business. It’s tempting to overspend or over-design. Sometimes that means adding plugins and features which you may not need.

Less is more. You don’t want to overwhelm your renters. Here are some ways to optimize your website:

  • Easy Navigation – One article cites that you have less than a minute to capture your viewers’ attention before they leave the page. If you have clear navigation, travelers will know where to click and visit.
  • Call-to-actions (CTA) – Are text, images, or buttons that link to content or pages. This persuades users to download, signup, or buy a product or service. A carefully place CTA can draw your renter into your site. Some examples include:
  • “Read More”
  • “Book Now”
  • “Download e-book”
  • “Sign up Today”

Mobile Friendly Websites

In 2016, Hosting Facts found that “52.7% of global internet users and 75.1% of U.S. internet users access the internet via mobile.”

With more individuals shopping from their phones, having a mobile friendly website is key. “40% of global internet users, or more than 1 billion people, have bought products or goods online.”

Travelers booking vacations also browse and book from their phones. Expand your market and booking possibilities by having a dual site. This will increase your reach and also prove a testament to your sites’ navigation.

Mobile Capabilities are Important for Your Websites' Success

Starting Your Website

Choosing your platform and features is the basis for creating a vacation rental website. When making your decisions, mobile friendly and navigable designs matter.

The next step for your website is to customize it for your business. Check out part two of our post, where we discuss the design and styling of a website.


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