A website delivers one of the simplest and most effective ways of boosting your direct bookings, which can bring you more revenue than the reservations made through OTAs. But that’s valid only if you have a user-friendly lodging website.
When it comes to vacation rental websites, their user-friendliness depends on 4 main characteristics: load time, ease of navigation, readability, and mobile compatibility. Let’s discuss them one by one to find out how you can improve your website’s usability and increase your conversion rate.
The load time of a lodging website is an important aspect for a traveler looking for vacation rental properties. Just like anyone else who uses the internet to search for different products or services, a traveler won’t wait for a slow site that takes 2 minutes to load. In fact, new research reveals that 53% of internet users will leave a website page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
An important thing to remember is that a slow lodging website won’t just drive away potential guests; it will also rank lower on search engines. As a result, it will get fewer visitors than other lodging sites that have higher rankings.
If you have a slow lodging website, it can be fixed. Currently, there are different software solutions that you could use to check the load time of your website, monitor the web hosting server speed, and even find out which parts of your website are slowing things down. However, investing in the services of a professional is the right choice, particularly if you don’t have any web development experience.
Good navigation is another key element that can make your lodging website user-friendly. Intuitive and logical navigation can be achieved by opting for a simple design and layout. One way to improve your website’s usability, which means that visitors can find information easily and quickly, is by limiting the number of menu items and page elements as much as possible and making sure they’re straightforward, with concise links. For instance, by placing a visible “book now” button next to every vacation rental you advertise on your lodging website, you could encourage a higher number of travelers to book directly through your platform.
Equally important is to keep your reservation process clear and simple. Since a confusing, complicated, or excessively long booking process is the number one reason why 81% of travelers abandon their bookings mid-process, a fast and easy reservation process could protect your business from this phenomenon.
Most users tend to scan through the key parts of web pages in order to determine whether the information they find is relevant to their needs. Thus, when formatting your content, make sure that it allows visitors to gather the most important information at a glance. This can be done by choosing a short and simple layout with headings, sub-headings, short paragraphs, bulleted lists, and bold fonts.
The color scheme is another key factor that can improve your website’s scannability and readability. Besides ensuring the site is aesthetically pleasant, there must be sufficient contrast between the background color and the font color to make sure content is easy to read. However, the colors that you choose are important too, as they can make the content easier or harder to read. For example, black text on white background provides better readability compared to white text on black background.
Travelers around the world are growing more dependent on their smartphones for all aspects of travel. In the US, 61% of travelers rely on their mobile devices to plan every aspect of their vacation, from finding a vacation destination and paying for airline tickets to booking accommodation.
Optimizing your website for mobile use will make booking a vacation rental through your platform easier. Not only will this enhance the overall user experience; mobile optimization will also boost your website’s ranking, which could translate into a higher number of travelers booking directly through your website. If your lodging website is not yet optimized for mobile use, a mobile version of your website can be created easily.
When it comes to lodging websites, the trend is clear! Since vacation rental listing sites, such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and HomeAway, are already popular and user-friendly, a vacation rental management company that doesn’t have a visually appealing website with responsive navigation and easy-to-read content could be missing out on massive revenue opportunities.
Regardless of whether you have your own lodging website or use any OTA and/or social media platforms to advertise the vacation rental properties that your company operates, our software solution can help you manage every aspect of your business from an all-in-one dashboard. Since our system has the ability to integrate with different software solutions that you may use to run your business, it will offer instant transparency to all of your operations whenever you wish. Although it may sound complicated, our lodging management system is nothing but a simple and easy-to-use tool that can steer your business in the right direction and keep it on the road to success. If it’s time for you to adopt easy to use lodging management software, contact us today to learn more about our consulting and support services!