Everyone knows that the Internet is transforming business in general but far fewer people know how to turn it to advantage for their own business.
In holiday home property management, the internet is changing the rules in all kinds of ways. Firstly, most people who are looking to find a holiday home look online first to research their options and get an idea of what kind of holiday homes are available and at what price, in their selected destination.
In fact, many businesses and even tourist boards no longer worry about printing expensive glossy brochures anymore – the action is all online these days!
UK industry research indicates that the internet is by far the largest single source of information when people are looking for holiday homes. So there is no question that your web presence is increasingly the most important element of your marketing.
Whether you decide to have your own website or you just have a page or two on a third party site, it is vital to really focus on making sure your holiday home is presented in the best possible light. Always invest in the best photography you can afford. You should also consider adding additional features such as using video to make your holiday home stand out from the competition.
However, if only it were as simple as making sure the holiday home looks great on your website! In fact, internet marketing raises a whole host of other challenges It is all very well to have a great looking site, but what if nobody ever comes across it because it languishes somewhere on the 100th page of the search engine results when someone does a search on ‘holiday homes’ in a particular area? It is a sobering fact that 80% of people do not ever look beyond even the first page of search results.
So there has sprung up a whole new industry of search engine optimisation experts to help you rank at a high position on Google and the rest of the search engines. If it is simply not realistic to improve your ranking significantly in the ‘organic’ results, you can always consider a ‘pay per click’ campaign, where you effectively bid for the chance to appear in the sponsored links on the right hand side of the search results page. This is a practical and easily managed way of improving your visibility to your target group for a fixed budget.
It is also vital to offer online booking if at all possible. There are a huge number of options when it comes to software to allow you to provide this facility to prospective customers. With online bookings now accounting for roughly 20% of all holiday bookings in the UK and growing fast – it would be short sighted not to offer an online booking facility on your website. There are a whole range of IT solutions available to you at every price range, so you should take time to do some thorough research.
Another area that can provide rich returns is email marketing. Aim to build up a list of email addresses of previous customers and other people who may be interested in your holiday homes so that you can send them regular email newsletters in future, to keep your holiday homes top of mind and increase the chances of repeat bookings.
You can also save money and streamline the efficiency of your property management by using email to let guests know in advance about any holiday concierge services available to them, as well as the key holder services and cleaning services they can expect during their stay. This will increase customer satisfaction with your service and can also provide the opportunity for secondary sales.
The bottom line is that promoting your holiday home well on the Internet will certainly increase the return on your investment. You may not personally have the IT skills or knowledge of web marketing and search engine optimisation to be able to fulfil all the potential yourself. So do not be afraid to turn to experts for advice or assistance. You will find that some of the better holiday home property management companies can also provide guidance and practical assistance.
Or you could choose to make the time and effort to teach yourself what you need to know using the many excellent free resources available on the Internet.
Whichever route you take, it is vital to recognise that making full use of the Internet is no longer an optional extra – it should be the core strategy for anyone who is serious about property management and achieving a high yield on their investment.