VRS185 – Are you planning on building a new vacation rental website?

Are you planning on building a new website, or want to make some changes to your current one? If so, this episode could be for you.

The topic came about in response to a request from Sanjiv Sandhu, a member of our Vacation Rental Formula Facebook Group (VRF members only), and at the start seemed a simple list-based question:

What are the key elements for an amazing website?

That seemed easy – a great home page; amazing photos; easy to access rates and availability; an amenity list; an About Us page to help create a relationship; FAQs; a blog with consistently delivered posts; quality content; easy navigation…all with well-written copy.

Well maybe not that easy or simple, but given that list, most owners could start creating their website without too much difficulty.

Then I came across a post on the Say NO To VRBO Facebook group, and it gave a different perspective on it.

Here’s the post:

“I say this to be helpful, not critical, so please take it as such.
I made a Facebook post on one of the Facebook pages sometimes mentioned here, asking blindly for rentals over Thanksgiving. I mentioned a state I wanted to visit, but I wanted fresh ideas on locations. I did ask for NO VRBO links.

I got a few great ideas.

And I got some horrible websites.

Here are some of my complaints:

*i have no idea where this is located (no map)

After getting frustrated I asked one lady about a map. She said you click this, hover over that, scroll down, and click map. Ok…right. I should have known that.

*i have been on the website 10 minutes and I still don’t know if you have a pool

*so much STUFF I can’t find the basics

(All these plug-ins like weather and 10 other things make it so busy and overwhelming I just want to leave the site. I am NEVER coming to your site to check the weather. I have an app for that. That’s just one example but I’m at your site to see your property. Not 50 other links about what the dolphins had for dinner last night and how he sun’s ray can damage your skin).

*some links don’t work

*one lady I told her NONE of her links worked from PC. She said they work from phone and mac and to try back later. Ok I did. They don’t work. ?

In my opinion less is more. Within 20 seconds on your page I want to see a map, pictures, rates, a calendar, and an amenity list. If you have tons of rambling text I am not going to read any of your text

I agree with a lot of this, and some I disagree with, so thought it would be interesting to speak directly to the poster and ask her more about what she looks for in a vacation rental website.

So thanks to Danica Thornburg Connell for posting, and for joining me to talk about it in greater depth.

The remainder of the episode explores some of the issues Danica raised in our conversation and covers:

  • What is useful and what is not on a website
  • Why it’s important to know your personas and speak to them in your website content
  • Whether less is more – the arguments for and against
  • The 8 key elements of a website (my personal opinion)

Links mentioned in this episode:

About the author

Heather Bayer