In talking to many potential customers, especially people who are thinking about entering into this market, there is always the question of whether to do the website first or choose a vacation rental management system. What comes first, the chicken or the egg?
The reality is, both of these are big expenditures for any company. So trying to buy one solution or another is awfully tempting. But I believe that the reality is that you need to try and do both at the same time.
Consider this… when you are changing to a new vacation rental management software, you are fundamentally changing how you do business. Hopefully the software is a mechanism for letting you do business the way that you want to and not forcing you to run your business the way that the software requires you do business. Taking on a new vacation rental management software should be a watershed moment, when you take the time to really look at how you engage with customers, both owners and tenants. (Just as an aside we have offered a whitepaper about “How to Successfully Navigate Organizational Change”… check it out here.)
So if you are looking at engagement, I would suggest that your website is the primary mechanism to engage customers in the ever online and mobile world. You need your website to build brand, appeal to your niche markets and to help you create the overall customer vacation “experience”. It is no longer just about renting a condo or a house.
Our web marketing partners, found here, are poised to help with all of the above. They understand both your needs and how to integrate with one of the most flexible systems on the market today. Ideally, your web partner and your vacation rental management software partner work together to create the seamless transition from bringing in a lead to converting them into a customer.
Here is what a few of our web design partners had to say about this concept:
“In reaching today’s consumer it is imperative to provide a shopping experience whether on mobile, tablet or desktop device that provides the traveler with all the tools and information they have to come to expect 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This really can only be accomplished with a professional branded website that provides the consumer with real-time information directly from a quality rental management software. Together good software and a good website are the most important tools in the professional rental managers arsenal for reaching new and existing customers and with the right partners this endeavor does not need to be as hard or as expensive as you might imagine.”
-- Robert Gray, Vacaystayconnect.com
“All great points Claiborne. We agree that it's important to focus on both software and a website simultaneously as they go hand in hand but provide two very different business solutions. One takes care of the backend operations of your business while the other drives customers and bookings. Two essential aspects and together they will help you grow your business. Gone are the days of build "big and forget" websites. Of course your website needs to embody your brand and generate bookings, but the scope and scale can evolve as your business, and more importantly, your sales grow. That's why we build all new sites on our enterprise platform that easily allows added features down the road, year after year. No need to bite off more than your business can chew if you invest in a smarter website."
– Joe Joyce, Digital Marketing Consultant, Bluetent
“I agree that when you go to make a PMS change it is advantageous to engage with your web company for a redesign. Switching from one platform to another will require "behind the scenes" programming changes to your site's booking engine. With the way that technology advances from year to year there is a good chance that your website will be slighted dated. By coupling you PMS selection along with your website design or redevelopment you will save yourself time and money over the long term and will be taking advantage of the latest technologies available. Creating the best customer experience and improving conversion rates are key to a website's success. By selecting the right web company and property management systems you could see increased online conversion rates and revenue with no increase in marketing spend. Get started today!”
-- Brandon Sauls, InterCoastal Net Design
So what are your thoughts, experiences or questions that you have about this topic? I’d love to hear from you. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.