A website can be one of the most valuable marketing assets in your vacation rental business. And the good news is that you can create a direct booking website in just a few clicks. As the vacation rental market becomes more and more competitive, having your own vacation rental booking website is an excellent way for your properties to stand out online. A direct booking website can also increase your profit margins (by removing booking fees from the equation), and give you independence from OTAs like Airbnb and VRBO.
Fortunately, it’s never been easier to create a website for your vacation rental. The trick is to find a good website builder with great pricing, features to help you find the one that matches your needs, budget, and style.
There are several different ways to build a direct booking website, so let’s explore the information and examples to help you decide which option is best for you.
In addition to the popular website builders (like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, WordPress, etc.), there is now an increasing number of vacation rental website builders to meet the demand of this growing industry. They’re built specifically for property rentals, and they come packaged with other features designed to help you manage your short-term rental business.
Using a vacation rental website builder is the easiest way to create a direct booking website, science direct booking is built right into the website (along with other vacation rental management features).
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a website builder.
All of these website builders are actually just one feature in a larger property management system. You’ll want to look into their other features like channel management, automation, and others you might be interested in.
The platforms here have a wide range of price points. Given that the website builder is just one of several features in these vacation rental management software platforms, it’s important to keep in mind what else you’re getting for the price.
How many templates do they have and how customizable are they? Can you change fonts and colors? Can you create additional pages?
What do their websites look like? Depending on your priorities, this may be more or less important to you.
Now let’s take a closer look at some of the best Vacation Rental Website Builders in the market.
Lodgify is one of the most popular vacation rental website builders on the market today. They are trying to establish themselves as the “Shopify for vacation rentals.” Their strength is in their backend features, and not in their web design or blogging features. That said, you can find many examples of well designed Lodgify websites on the web.
If you are looking for a basic website builder with a ton of automation features and integrations that will make your life easier, Lodgify is one of the best options available.
Built-in booking engine and channel manager Tons of integrations and automation features
Limited number of well designed website templates (Update: Lodgify recently updated their templates and have some great options) Relatively expensive, but still a good value for what’s included
You like the design of their website templates
OwnerReservations or OwnerRez is quietly growing a very committed user base because of their robust feature set, low price, and responsive customer service. Even more so than with Lodgify, their strength is in their backend features, and not in their web design. The website builder is quite basic, giving you a very simple (but clean and attractive) website.
Your Porter App is a more affordable alternative to Lodgify. It comes with all the basic features you’d expect from a vacation rental management platform and has an easy-to-setup ‘Single-Click Website‘ feature (you can try this out without even creating an account). Their template is basic but professional, and you can change the fonts and colors, and create additional pages.
Tokeet is another affordable alternative to Lodgify. It comes with multiple template options, and the ability to add pages and customize your design (you can even add custom CSS and JS).
Uplisting is a premium, comprehensive vacation rental management software. It’s our top pick on our list of the best vacation rental channel managers. Their product is robust and reliable, and their customer support is excellent.
The Uplisting website builder is very basic. There’s only 1 template, and no ability to customize it or add additional pages. However, the design of their booking website template. It’s modern, clean, and designed to get guests to book!
Pro Tip: If you want to use Uplisting, but you also want to be able to customize your website, one option is to link to your booking website from an external website (like Squarespace).
If you haven’t really loved any of the templates you’ve seen so far, then you might be interested in Squarespace. Squarespace is known for their beautiful design, and they have a Real Estate & Properties template category, with several good options for vacation rental websites.
If you want the Squarespace aesthetic, but with more booking features, there are multiple ways you can do this. You can use Hostaway’s embed widget, or you can add a “Book Now” button that links to any other direct booking software. This could be Hostaway, Uplisting, or any other booking software you choose.
Wix has exploded in popularity in recent years. They have a ton of templates, and features that can be added to make virtually any kind of website you can think of. For vacation rental owners and property managers, they have a range of “travel & tourism” related website templates that are perfect for showing off your properties and integrating a booking calendar.
Last, but certainly not least, is WordPress. By some estimates, WordPress powers over 30% of the internet. It’s open source software, free to use, and has an incredibly large base of users and developers working to make it better all the time.
To set up a WordPress site for your vacation rental business, you need
Check out this post on the best WordPress vacation rental themes and plugins.
You are willing to do some research and learning to set up your site (or you plan to hire someone to build a custom website for you) You want to truly “own” your website and be able to customize it with no limits
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