How to select the best Vacation Rental Websites
By William May
Published: 06/30/03 Topics: Comments: 0
You may have one or a few vacation rental websites that you love. But In case you haven't noticed there are hundreds of such sites on the Internet.
And it seems that more are being added every day. So how do you know which ones are any good? Well, in short you don't.
If a site is well designed, graphically pleasing and easy to navigate that's a good sign. But just like any form of advertising, great design doesn't mean anyone reads the product (visits the website).
If it seems to have a great many listings that might indicate that other owners have found it effective. Except that many new sites offer free trial periods and some owners on older sites are there simply due to habit.
In time, we can expect vacation rental websites (and advertising websites in particular) to conform to the standards that traditional media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, etc.) have used for years. Rating systems will be devised that will tell advertisers like you how many people visit the site in general, how many ask for your geographic area and how many found your home in particular.
In print media, reputable publications publish audited circulation figures. In broadcasting, independent firms estimate the size of each show's audience using sophisticated sampling techniques.
We can only hope that one day we'll be able to buy website advertising in the same way.
In the meantime, there are a couple of ways to check out the sites you are considering.
TIP: Contact the owners of other properties already advertising on a site. Ask how long they've been there, how many leads they gotten and, more importantly, how many bookings have they secured. Beware of websites that do not allow you to contact the owner directly. What do they have to hide?
TIP: Question website operators carefully. Ask they to give you statistics for a property similar to yours. If they can't or won't you have to worry about their success.
TIP: Lastly, there is another route that we suggest even thought it sounds correct. In short, we recommend trial and error. Using your good judgment about design, number of listings and customer service from the website administrators, pick the sites you like best.
Then go ahead and spend the money to place an ad. Track your responses exactly and only renew those that pay off. In general a website must produce 20 times the revenue that it costs you. If it doesn't you should move on and try another one.
Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0019 – 06/30/03