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Pro: Control How Your Rental Looks Online
On marketplaces like Airbnb, you can have eye-catching photos and write a description that captivates potential renters. But you have little control over how users navigate through your listing.
With a website, you can display your photos and content exactly how you want visitors to see them. Want to wow potential renters with your competitive per-night rate? You can display that information front and center. Would you rather have them fall in love with the property and amenities before crunching the numbers on the price of their stay? You can do that, too.
Check out the website for Villa Las Palmeras, a vacation rental in Guerrero, Mexico. Step by step, the website guides visitors through the key details, with stunning views from the property sprinkled in between. Speaking of Villa Las Palmeras, it’s currently listed for sale on HighFlyRE, if you’re looking to acquire a great rental in Mexico!
Con: Takes Time To Get Running
It’s hard starting on a project as big as a website. And, on top of that, it probably won’t get very much traffic right out of the gate. This early combination of high effort and low reward can be stressful.
We recently spoke with rental owner Maria who said she created a website for her property in Cannes, France but decided it just wasn’t getting the traffic she expected. She felt that Vrbo and Airbnb, with their built-in user bases, were more effective, and many owners would agree.
Con: Missing Out On Some Marketplace Searchers
As tempting as it is, you can’t be everywhere for everyone. You’ll have to make decisions on how to prioritize your time and marketing budget.
Even If you create your own website and list your rental on Vrbo and Airbnb, you’ll still be missing out on vacationers who only visit other marketplaces, such as Booking.com. That website has around 1.5 million bookings every day, according to iGMS, including many hotel rooms but also vacation rentals.
Will your rental get more traffic on its own website than it would on Booking.com, Tripadvisor, or another one of these marketplaces? That’s the tough question you’ll have to ask yourself.
Pro: Avoiding Fees
We’ve gotten this far without mentioning the most obvious benefit of creating a website for your rental: avoiding those pesky service fees! By creating a booking system on your website, you can prevent marketplaces like Vrbo and Booking.com from taking a chunk out of your earnings. These fees can be substantial, too, such as 15% per transaction on Booking.com.
That’s not to say, though, that there are zero costs associated with a website. You’ll still have to pay for your domain name and its annual renewal. You may also need to pay a monthly or annual fee to website builders like Squarespace. But in general, these costs are far lower than paying a marketplace’s service fee.
Rental owners who want more control over marketing will enjoy having a website. Meanwhile, others will want to use that time and energy to build their presence on one or more of the pre-established rental marketplaces. We hope this guide helped you decide which group you fall in!