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Perfecting your direct booking website
Episode 245th December 2022 • Direct Booking Success Podcast • Jenn Boyles
00:00:00 00:09:42

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If you were already on the direct booking journey, then you know how important having somewhere for your guests to ‘book direct’ with you is.

If you are just starting, let me tell you straight up, you need your own website!

Topics discussed:

  •  Guests need to be able to ‘book direct’ on your website
  •  Stop putting obstacles in front of guests
  • Not every booking will do
  • Using your marketing to get bookings from your ideal guest
  • What not to do in your marketing
  • Your business – your rules
  • Look at how Airbnb guides the guest to book
  • KISS - Keep it simple stupid!
  • Ask a friend to go and make a booking on your site for feedback on the experience
  • Your website should never be ‘done’


Ask me anything about… your direct booking website 

Friday 9th December 2022 at 2pm GMT / 9am EST

Live in the free Marketing Hub Facebook Group

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Ep#24 Perfecting your direct booking website

Hello. Thank you for joining me today for another episode of the Direct Booking Success podcast. I'm your host, Jen Boyles, and I'm so happy to have you here. If you were already on the direct booking journey, then you know how vital having somewhere for your guests to book directly with you is.

If you are starting, let me tell you that you need your website. Guests need to be able to book directly on your website. Gone are the days of bookings by inquiry only or guests writing checks and sending them in the post for better or worse. We live in an Airbnb world, and the expectation now is that as a guest.

I can book anywhere. I want to stay direct right away. Before I go further on this topic, I want to tell you about an event I am doing in my Marketing Hub free Facebook group this week. If you were listening to this in the first few days of the episode's publication date, then you are in luck.

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Facebook. If you're not yet a member, head to the show notes on whichever platform you're listening to this episode. And there will be a link to join us, or head to Facebook and just search for the Marketing Hub for Holiday Rentals Facebook group. Now back to the episode. I often hear the remark, but I don't want people to just book on my website. I want to talk to them first. I want to make sure they're my right kind of guess. Now my response is, that's fine. I'm not going to tell you what to do if you want to put obstacles in front of guests and get fewer bookings than you could, then OK.

If you want to maximise your bookings and not tick people off, allow guests to book directly on your website immediately. Now, I'm not saying just any booking will do. I never want you to try and get as many heads on beds as possible. I wouldn’t say I like that term—charges on the bed. It feels opposite to what we in hospitality should be looking to do.

Anyway, I digress. How can we ensure our ideal guest is booking with us through our marketing, branding, and messaging? If you don't want a party crowd and only want older couples, reflect that on your website in your marketing. It might seem obvious, but don't promote the nightlife in your area or talk about the local bars in your marketing. If you have an off-grid site with no mod cons and wifi, then the messaging in your marketing should be about guests wanting to unplug and unwind, escape from their day-to-day life.

You don't want people who aren't willing or even want to leave their mobile phones at home. There is no need to speak to every guest before they book. If you are talking to your ideal guest through your market, The guests who could be a better fit will be repelled and won't book. Plus, here's a thought.

If someone who isn't the right fit does book, you could cancel that booking. , it is your business. After all. You don't have to follow anyone else's rules. Now go and get excited by messaging me about you telling us to cancel bookings. That's not something we want to do, but obviously, it is something we could do if there were no other options, and hopefully, this will be done in consultation with that guest in question.

But why I'm telling you this is because you won't have any penalties. No ones is going to penalise you for running your business. It's your rule.

Only if you weeks ago in episode 22. Did I speak about what to include on the homepage of your website? So if you haven't heard that, go back and listen after this one. But I do want to say one statement that I've made before. The word Airbnb has become a common noun in how we use Kleenex in North America. And Hoover in the UK. Running an Airbnb is understood universally, and I’m bringing this up because when you go to book a stay, Airbnb is on the platform; all the information you need is on one page.

You are guided from the top of the page down. It's all encouraging to book. Your website does not need to be complicated. The simpler, the better. Get all the information guests to need about booking on your homepage. Of course, not all of the details, but the general information; you’ll still need other pages for users to click on and read more.

It would be best if you also had this for SEO and search engine optimisation. So a one-page website won't cut it, but remember to keep it simple. Have you ever heard the acronym kiss? I've always liked this one. I remember it. Hearing about it in school, keep it simple and stupid, and get some other eyeballs on your site.

Ask a friend to go and make a booking on your site. Get their feedback on what issues they encountered, if any, and find out how easy or hard it was to make that booking. If you have created your website or worked for the designer to make it, you probably aren't the best judge of its usability.

You are just too close to it. Your brain fills in the gaps where there's missing information because you already know it. It's your business, and that can be true in the photographs you see, the copy you write, and the layout of the. Get a trusted second opinion, and I don't mean by asking anybody and everybody on Facebook to weigh in.

You'll then open yourself up to several opinions and subjective comments. I do a website audit for everyone in my direct Booking success group program and go through what could be improved and what has been done.

Your website should be dynamic, not just in responsive design for viewing on different devices, but the content. Your website should never be done. Content should be added consistently. Something that might have worked a few months ago now needs to be updated. Whatever the reason, your website should be constantly tweaked.

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