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Optimize your website to increase conversions

Welcome back to the next article in our series on how to improve the conversion rate of your vacation rental website. We hope that by now you have had the opportunity to look at your website in more detail, and you have a good feel now of where errors are and maybe even had the opportunity to fix any broken links and/or misplaced search bars. This next article looks at how to improve the process further for your visitors to help you improve that conversion rate.

Get increased online bookings for your vacation rental website

  1. Never-ending purchase processes: From the moment a customer clicks on ‘Purchase’, they need to be moved swiftly through the process to pay. The more steps there are, and the use of external sites to make the booking, the more likely you are to lose the customer. Take a look at your booking process. Does it move the visitor to an external site or a pop-up? This can reduce the credibility of your company. Keeping the booking process within your site reduces this. Does your potential guest have page after page of booking forms to complete? Anything more than 1 page, and you will start to lose bookings. Reducing the number of steps in the purchase process can help reduce the loss of visitors before they make the final purchase.
  2. Slow loading pages: Research shows that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load (Kissmetrics). If your website takes too long to load, you need to look at why – using shorter videos, compressing your photos and reducing the use of Flash can all speed up your site. We really like Optimizilla to compress photos because it’s free and very easy to choose the compression amount you want.
  3. Uncertainty about paying on the internet: With cybercrime issues on the rise, visitors need reassurance that their credit card or personal information cannot be taken unlawfully. Any payment over the internet requires trust that your company has taken steps to protect the payee. There are a number of ways to do this, such as buying an SSL certificate for your website and using a secure method to collect payments, such as Paypal or a PCI approved method. But you can go one step further. As visual creatures, it is reassuring to see a badge or symbol that indicates and reassures that the information is safe such as Visa and Mastercard approved logos and a SSL Certificate Logo.
  4. Button styles: The button is the most important part of your website – it is the ‘call to action’, which means that with the click of this vital button they are going to take the action you are looking for, whether that is requesting a brochure, renting a property or calling your sales division. But with regards to increasing conversion from your button, there is no hard and fast rule here. Research has shown that changing the colour, size or name of your booking button can all affect your conversion rate. Contrasting colours usually convert better, big but not too big, and short text is more effective. The only way to see if colour, content and size affects your visitors is to try a change and assess the results over time.
  5. Uncertainty in your properties: If a guest has been to your properties before and had a great experience, then they are more likely to book from you again. A visitor with no prior experience of your business lacks that sense of security, and looks for reassurance in different ways. One aspect is by looking at your customer reviews by previous guests. Reading guest reviews can give your visitor the reassurance they need that they are making the right purchase. You can put an option within your site to link to external reviews of your properties, such as Tripadvisor reviews, articles from the local press about your business, and also create a process to ask previous guests to include customer reviews on your website or in the property descriptions.

Avantio provides specialist websites designed especially for the vacation rental market. If you would like to talk to us about how our websites can help you improve your conversions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our final conversion article in this series will be available in early December so come back to see it and in the meantime, happy conversions.

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