Second home as cash cow

Second home as cash cow

Booking a holiday home often happens though the Internet. It is after all the perfect medium to compare prices and the supply is high. Perfect for the booker, but how does your house stand out among the enormous offer?

A short introduction on internet marketing.
In internet marketing it is all about Google ranking, powerful presentations and a call to action. The holiday home market is not an easy sector for individuals to score high in the search engines. Many professional rental companies have large marketing budgets which have to ensure that they end up on top of the search results, the so called Google ranking. Search engine optimisation (SEO) absorbs a large part of their budget. Another and easier way to make sure you will be found is connecting with websites which already have a large exposure. You can for example choose to place your holiday home on Marktplaats.nl or Speurders.nl or you can even create an own advertisement with availability calendar on the international HomeAway.nl with 60% discount on a subscription for Mondi members. Take advantage of the offer of Holidaylettings.com; free advertising with a three percent commission fee on the rental amount. Use discount code: MMZU2ND4 and you will not be charged a 25-euro entrance fee at the largest Dutch holiday homes platform Micazu.nl which, as partner of D-reizen, offers holiday homes worldwide from Dutch owners and which meanwhile has a strong position, as demonstrated by the ranking. These sites all have a strong name through which they attract many visitors. Also the reliability of these sites is well taken care of.

Gold
Just because your site attracts many visitors does not automatically imply that the bookings will come in that easily. In order to achieve that you still have a lot to do. The completeness of the descriptions and the quality of your photos can make the difference between none or dozens of bookings. A website that is complete, looks personal and seems reliable is more likely to receive bookings than a website that gives only a brief view of the holiday home.

Atmosphere
The better guests can imagine their stay, the more likely they will book. People are visually oriented and several internet surveys have shown that visitors check the photographs of the holiday home first and on basis of those they decide whether they continue reading or leave the presentation. Also the amount of photographs is important. Your guests want to obtain a complete picture; what does the kitchen look like, what kind of beds are in the bedrooms, is the living room cosy and how modern is the bathroom? Do not forget the role of the exterior and the neighbourhood. Photographs determine the atmosphere of the website and also tell something more about the content.

Tips

  • Always place a short description under your photograph in which you explain the photo in a pleasant, unique way. Research has shown that the texts in or under a photograph are read carefully by almost everyone.
  • Also include a photograph of yourself or your family in your presentation. It inspires trust and gives your presentation a personal and authentic touch.
  • Include a map of your holiday home. Several free tools to create a map can be found on the Internet.

Honest
On the basis of the information that you provide on your website your visitors must make a decision. The more extensive you describe the facilities of your house, the better your visitors can imagine their stay. Is there a microwave, a dishwasher, is the holiday home child-friendly etc. The more extensive the description, the less questions you will be asked and the sooner your visitors will proceed to making the booking. Be honest in the presentation texts. When you mention a shortcoming, the advantages look strong and trustworthy. Writing for a website requires another approach than writing on paper. Reading a text on a screen takes about 25% longer than reading the same text on paper. Therefore screen texts must be brief and to the point. Divide the text into clear paragraphs with clear subheadings to make it easy to read.

Communication
Most websites are rather distant and business-like. But why? Make it personal, show a photograph of yourself or your family. Tell why you have ‘fallen in love’ with this region and why the holiday home is so fantastic to stay in. Tell your personal story, how the renovation has developed and how other guests feel about it. The business-like character will disappear like frost under the morning sun and visitors will be more likely to contact you. At least they know who they communicate with. The final important part of internet marketing is the call to action. Write (in the presentation texts) towards contact or ask for a booking. Tell visitors what they must do. The Internet is a ‘do medium’. This means that on each page there should be something to click on. For example when you described on a beautiful page how magnificent the neighbourhood of your holiday home is, you should end that text with a call to action: “Do you imagine yourself enjoying this magnificent view? Check now if your desired period is still available!”

Source: Martin van Kranenburg