If you’re not mobile, you’re nowhere! Okay, that may be a bit over the top and premature, but the mobile revolution has begun and it’s not waiting for you to catch up. The next time you’re in line at the grocery store, at the airport, in the mall or just about anywhere on earth take a look at the people around you. Heads down, smartphones out, lost in cyberspace, oblivious to any external goings on. Kids are bad, 20-somethings are worse, but it doesn’t stop there. Recent studies show that smartphone and tablet usage among 35-54 (this is your main vacation rental audience by the way) are absolutely skyrocketing.
What this all boils down to is that the people you’re targeting with your vacation rental marketing are increasingly looking for their next rental on their mobile device. If you’re not mobile ready, you’re missing out on bookings and you’re future prospects are circling the drain.
The good news is, making your vacation rental business mobile friendly isn’t all that difficult. In fact, there are some shortcuts to ride the mobile wave. Here are few to get started:
1. Turn your website into a lean, mean mobile-friendly booking machine. If you’ve had the same website for a few years now, chances are it’s not all that “responsive”. That means it doesn’t automatically adapt to the device your online visitors are using to visit your site. Easy fix: switch to a responsive theme for your website. There are plenty of sites out there offering low-cost responsive website themes (less than $40) including the instructions to set it up. We like Theme Forest. If you’re not all that technical (like me) you can hire someone to do it for you. Shameless Plug: Sign up with Vreasy and we’ll take care of it for you.
Also, to get started, pick a few websites that you like to visit on your mobile device. Chances are they’re more visual (more emphasis on pictures than text) and they’re super user-friendly (ie: if someone wants to book your place, make it easy for them)
2. Which leads us right into point number two. Do you currently accept mobile payment? More and more consumers want to book directly from their mobile device and not wait to get home to their desktop or log into another portal or make a phone call (god forbid). Depending on where your vacation rentals are listed (ie: HomeAway, Airbnb, FlipKey, etc) your account may already allow for this option. You simply need to activate it. For example, on Airbnb, click on “edit listing” then “promote” and you’ll find several options to put a payment badge on your own website. Now, people can book your place online, using their mobile device, directly from your website. Better yet, you and your future guest are assured a safe and secure transaction.
3. Now let’s fast-forward to the guest experience side of the transaction. You successfully landed a few mobile booking and now they’re arriving. Make sure you have the WIFI installed, turned on and easy instructions for them to get online. People are bringing their smartphones and tablets with them on vacation and many have spent months saving all their important to-do lists and places of interest organized nicely on their iPad. Don’t let them down with a bad WIFI connection or make them read the tiny 50-character code on the back of the router. They’re on vacation. Make it easy for them.
Plus, if they’re visiting you from outside the country chances are their SIM cards won’t work and they’re relying on your WIFI to keep themselves organized and access all the prep work and bookmarks they made on their tablet.
Bonus Tip: If you want to go the extra mile, organize some links to downloadable resources for your guests so they can assimilate to your city much faster. Provide your guests with links to city guides, maps, local restaurants and touristic activities so they have easy access and are instantly aware of what your place has to offer. Once it’s downloaded using your WIFI, they can access the material offline while they check out your city and not have to use their expensive international data plans.
What other mobile-friendly vacation rental tips do you have to share? We’re still learning too!
photo credit: Mashable, MakeUseOf