3 Factors Every Guest Looks for in a Direct Booking Website

3 Factors Every Guest Looks for in a Direct Booking Website

Around 57% of all travel and accommodation reservations are made via a well-built direct booking website. In the US, that percentage could be as high as 77%1.

Being able to tell your vacation rental's story and guide your potential guests through the entire experience of your direct booking website through its design is critical to your success. It's an important factor in building an online conversation and increasing engagement with your business via your website.

Creating original, compelling content for a vacation rental website is a challenge. Some people find it overwhelming, but it's critical to your success.

Remember, your website plays a key role in creating perceptions and influencing prospective guests' decisions to book with you or not. Donald Miller calls this the “grunt test”2.

In effect, could a caveman understand what your web page is selling well enough to want it? If not, then your page doesn't pass the grunt test! To read more about this intuitive metric for online content, The next question is how hospitality owners can adapt Donald's theory to our world.

How do I get more direct bookings for a vacation rental website?

I've written three key things you can do, and I encourage you to include these factors if you are planning to build a direct booking website for your vacation rental.

Your Guests Want to See Quality Photos

In this visual world, when someone sees an appealing product on sale, they buy it. The same thing happens in the hotel business. High-quality photos are critical for good web design on a vacation rental website.

Photos and videos are invaluable for any vacation rental web design, and quality is everything.

Use Quality Photos for Your Direct Booking Website

Insufficient or absent visual content makes the customer assume that you have something to hide. This will automatically send your customer to tour competitors! Your website reflects your business.

Missing out on proper presentation of online content is a fundamental error.

Pro Tips:

  • Select a design or theme that portrays your properties’ best features through imagery.
  • Show at least four photos of your accommodation. Remember to include the bathroom. Guests love to see what that looks like!
  • Invest in a professional photographer for pictures and videos. Don't rely on your iPhone or your personal skill with a camera!

Provide Up-to-date information on Your Direct Booking Website

Keep your website updated. One of the primary errors hospitality owners make is not updating their accommodation websites.

Adding information during the creation of your direct booking website is not enough. That content will quickly age and attract fewer and fewer customers as time goes on.

Designing a website is not the same as print advertising. You can't just finish it once and leave it forever. Imagine how off-putting it would look if you had a photo of your building from the last decade!






Having outdated information, such as old special offers or particular festival menus, still running at the wrong time of the year will make your guests navigate away from your website and increase your bounce rate.

If your last blog post was about six months ago, visitors are more likely to think that the business is no longer current. If you don't have the time to update your information, outsource its upkeep! You must maintain your website as though it is a home into which you are welcoming guests.

You wouldn't want to make a first impression with a dusty, unkempt house.

Don't let your website get dusty, either!

Pro Tips:

  • Create a blog for your direct booking website and update it at least once a month.
  • Create a special offer on your website and give that program a clear expiration date. Set reminders on your phone or computer to update this. (Incidentally, this is also a great use for IFTTT).
  • If you don't have the time to update your website, outsource the work.

Ensure your Vacation Rental Website has a Unique Selling Point

Every successful business knows its USP, or “Unique Selling Point”. Establishing the USP is more difficult than many hoteliers think. However, once determined, it can be the difference between profit and failure. What are the elements that make your business different?

Here are a few examples of unique selling points you could add to your holiday booking website:

Your Location,

A property's location can be a unique selling point, especially if it's in a popular or desirable area, such as a city centre, beachfront, or mountain resort.

Your Price

It's not about the price. It's about matching your price with your target market's expectations.

Offering competitive or lower prices compared to other properties in your niche can be a unique selling point, particularly for budget travellers or those looking for a deal.

Your Amenities

Having unique or standout amenities, such as a rooftop pool, spa, or on-site restaurant, can be a selling point that sets a property apart from others.

Your Direct Booking Website Design and Theme

Your branding should reflect your ideal guest. A unique design or theme can be a selling point for certain properties, such as boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, or vacation rentals.


Green is in. Properties that are eco-friendly, sustainable, or carbon-neutral can be unique selling points for travellers who are environmentally conscious.

Personalised Service Is anything unique about your service? Is there any opportunity to go the extra mile for a guest or add value to their stay? Providing exceptional, personalised service can be a unique selling point that sets a property apart from others and leads to positive reviews and repeat business.

Family or Group-Friendly What kinds of groups are uniquely positioned to serve? Properties that cater to families, intimate get-togethers or large groups can be a unique selling point.

Maybe you could highlight features such as family suites, connecting rooms, games rooms, large group dining or on-site activities for children. You have to provide the customer with something so eye-catching and unusual that when your customers browse the net, your business stands out from all of the competition.

Pro Tips:

  • Make a list of unique services that you offer at your hotel
  • Make a list of attractions local to you
  • Once you figure out your USP, give your visitor a clear picture of what you have to offer. This alone will encourage your prospective guest to book with you.

If you can't think of any USPs you already have, make some! One idea is to buy something to put in the guest's room on arrival. This can be something particular to the area. Now it's time to put these tips into action.

Open up your direct booking website and ask yourself: “Does my website pass the grunt test”?

1 Statista

2 Click here to read his article

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