I have done lots of holiday rentals web design over the years. They are websites that I very much enjoy building, lots of different properties with their own characteristics and showcase photographs.
Holiday rentals websites do have their own special requirements including:
As a property owner you should only use the very best photographs. If possible hire a professional photographer it will be worth it. This website is the showcase for your property and incorrect lighting that doesn’t show the room at its best or even a badly ironed sheet can lose you the client. People want to see beautiful rooms, a lovely view and pristine bed linen. It goes without saying that photographs should not be blurred and without any ugly obstacles. I have seen some bad photographs over the years and I have always explained to my client why they should not use them. It is all about the success of the holiday business, that is what is important.
It is vital that this works correctly and only returns true results. The results need to be beautifully formatted in an easy-to-scroll list. A good not found page with the option to search again is essential to retain the visitor.
The search results and property listings pages need to be succinct and concise, allowing the visitor a really good overview at a glance. A property image, brief description and icons indicating number of beds, price etc should be included to give the visitor a really good idea of what the property offers. A link to view the full property details needs to be very clear.
Full-width galleries are perfect to showcase holiday properties. User interaction is import too so that the visitor can easily scroll through themselves and pause on the photographs that particularly interest them. Mini thumbnail images below the gallery are great for gallery navigation, these together with clickable arrows to enable the visitor to scroll/swipe right or left make it a great user experience.
Property Detail Pages
Everything that the visitor could possibly need to know should be included. The most important items such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms plus the price should be detailed with icons. Then following that you will want to have bullet points detailing the key amenities. This should lead into the full property detail text.
Prices, change over information and availability need to be very clear. Availability calendars should clearly indicate available and booked dates.
Using slide and reveal panels or tabs enables you to display all of the information but the visitor needs to click to view it. That way they are not overwhelmed with text when they land on the page.
A Google map for the property location is really useful, the visitor can see the proximity of the holiday property to local amenities. These days they can also carry out a street view, which reassures them that your property is situated in a great neighbourhood.
It is a good idea to include the ability for people to leave a review. You might want to make sure you can moderate these though. You wouldn’t want an over zealous competitor leaving spurious feedback. Reviews lower down the page are best in this situation as it is a further reassurance for the holiday maker that they are doing the right thing in booking your holiday rental.
Enquiry Form & Contact Details
The initial enquiry form does not need to be massively long. You will want to collect the enquirer’s name, email, telephone and address. You will also need their preferred arrival date (they will have already checked your availability calendar), length of stay, number of adults, number of children and an area for them to write their message. You might also want to ask their preferred contact method, i.e. should you contact them by phone or by email. Ensure the form goes to all relevant people to ensure a quick response to the enquirer.
NB. When you are collecting secure details you will need to make sure you have a secure website with a green padlock.
Social media sharing is vital to the success of any website these days. Make sure you have prominent sharing buttons so that your visitors can send the property by email to a friend and share on Facebook and Twitter at the very least. In the holiday industry Facebook and Instagram will probably be your best social media channels but there is no reason to stop your visitors sharing to all channels, even those you don’t use.
Other important details for a holiday rentals website
Flights, getting here, car hire.
Its important that holidaymakers can see how easy it is to get to you. With self-catering holidays it can be a bit scary to find yourself at an airport, looking for a hire car and a brand new map to follow. Let people know that you can arrange airport transfers to take that worry away from them. People who operate a few holiday properties often lay on a minibus to take several groups in one go. Some people will want to make their own way and all of the travel link options need to be set out with approximate cost and transfer time. Whatever the arrangements keep it clear and concise.
The local area
Not only do you need to sell your property you also need to sell the local area. High quality images of the area and local attractions are just as important as high quality images of your property. It’s best not to use oodles of text as people never read it all. Show them the whole experience in pictures, that will really sell it.
Advertise with us
A holiday rentals website needs advertisers. Good quality listings will encourage advertisers but make sure you have calls to action for holiday property owners so that they are encouraged to get in touch and pay you to list their property.
There is a lot to consider with holiday rentals web design. Design layouts for all templates need to include the right amount of information that is well laid out with beautiful images. A professional web designer with lots of experience of holiday rentals websites will go a long way to ensure the success of your business.