How to accept direct bookings from your short-term rental website

book-direct Jul 02, 2020

A direct booking website is critical for any successful short-term rental business. Your business can’t afford to rely on listing sites that commonly come with hefty booking fees. Plus, you need the flexibility and control to list rentals in your way.

To boost your bookings, become self-sufficient, and take control of your vacation rental business, you need to rely on your website. And you can’t afford to just have an ugly website that won't convert guests.

You need a beautiful and optimized vacation rental website that you can easily manage. And you need great features like a payment system and a calendar synced with all your channels.

Try our all-in-one short-term rental software

We’ve built an all-in-one property, channel management and automation tool to help property managers scale seamlessly.

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Elements of a successful booking site

You’re probably already convinced you need to accept direct bookings from your website. But what do you need to create a successful booking website?

Optimized, user-friendly website

A user-friendly website is a must-have. Slow loading pages, hard-to-read text, and a lack of images are a nightmare for travellers looking for information.

According to a report from Hubspot, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.

If your website’s first impression is mediocre, people will judge your property by association, no matter how beautiful it is in real life.

Must be mobile-friendly

Your website must be mobile-ready. Travellers are increasingly using their smartphones, tablets, and other devices to make purchases and bookings online.

According to a recent report from ipropertymanagers.com, 50% of all Airbnb users are mobile.

You can't afford to lose 50% of your potential guests because your website doesn’t work on the latest iPhone.

Get found online

Your website needs robust search engine optimization (SEO) to reach new customers. Search engines like Google scan your business website for specific keywords and use this information to determine your ranking.

Consider which terms people would search for if they were trying to find a vacation rental in your area and add these to your website’s content. For example, if you operate a rental in London, you may want to focus on “Vacation rental in London” or “Short term rental in London”.  

Synced across all your channels

You will still promote your listings on websites like Airbnb, VRBO and Booking.com. Keep this in mind as you develop your booking engine. You want to ensure all your channels are connected through one booking engine, so you don’t worry about double-bookings or incorrect prices on each platform.

Secure payments

It is vital to offer a reliable payment option on your website. This is a must-have to gain credibility and run your business. You need to understand how to set this up in a secure way so you gain the trust of your guests, and they feel comfortable entering payment information. Recent government regulations, like GDPR, SCA and DPB are just a few regulations you need to be aware of if you are accepting online payments.

Conversions

The goal of any booking website should be to get your properties booked. This is your number one goal. You need to ensure your website is user-friendly and makes it easy for visitors to find an available property and book it.

Try our all-in-one short-term rental software

We’ve built an all-in-one property, channel management and automation tool to help property managers scale seamlessly.

Start a free 14-day trial

Questions to ask yourself when creating a direct booking site

So, you are ready to develop your direct booking website. And you know what features and functionality you need to succeed. Now… where to start?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when creating a direct booking site:

  • Do I need a web developer to create a site?
  • What about a secure domain name?
  • How do I choose a hosting provider?
  • Can I sync up my website to Airbnb?
  • How will I ensure my channels are also in-sync with the direct booking engine?
  • Am I prepared to continually invest in the direct booking engine to ensure there are no bugs?
  • How do I set up a credit card payment system?
  • Will my website be optimised for all devices?
  • What’s SEO?
  • Am I in over my head?
  • How will I afford all of this?

This list can look a bit intimidating. For a website for it to be successful, you need to jump over several hurdles. And it can be very hard to manage by yourself while running the day-to-day business operations.

The team at Uplisting understand you probably aren’t a website expert or developer.

That’s exactly why we created a direct booking engine just for you. No worrying about building it yourself or figuring out how to keep it in sync with all of your other channels.

Build your website with the Direct Booking Engine from Uplisting

Spin up your very own custom direct booking pages in minutes with Uplisting. Customers who use our direct booking engine consistently get more bookings and increased revenue.

All you need to do is connect your Stripe account to accept reservations. Everything is hosted by Uplisting, optimised by Uplisting, and monitored by Uplisting.

Guests expect beautiful web pages and intuitive experience. It’s not enough to *just* have a website or regular direct booking pages. Booking pages need to be mobile-responsive, no matter the screen size (desktop, tablet, mobile), straightforward to select dates, book and pay, trustworthy, and feel good.

Curious about how it works? Here’s what you can expect with the Direct Booking Engine:

No coding required – launch in seconds

Listing pages are created automatically as soon as you connect your Airbnb account. Uplisting direct booking pages are:

  • Beautifully designed in look and feel
  • Responsive and optimised for all screen sizes
  • Simple and straightforward booking flows

Seamlessly synced through Uplisting

As always, everything is seamlessly updated and synced through Uplisting to all your other channels. That means no double-bookings, correct prices, payment processing, automated messages, unified inbox, and more.

Guest payments

Uplisting can automatically validate credit cards and securely take payments.

  • Fast loading and conversion-focused direct booking listing pages for each property
  • Listing pages are created automatically as soon as you connect your Airbnb account
  • Take 3DS and SCA guest payments via Stripe. Get paid instantly. No chargebacks.

Optimised for mobile and to encourage bookings

50% of Airbnb traffic in January 2020 was mobile. That’s why Uplisting is completely optimised for mobile with guest-friendly listing pages, booking flows, and high-performing page load speeds.

  • Mobile focused, guest-friendly listing pages, and booking flows
  • Optimised for performance with rapidly quick page loading speeds
  • Focused on potential guests converting into paying guests

No double-bookings

It’s on Uplisting, so you’ll never get a double-booking; no need to hassle with the technology of making sure it’s in sync with Airbnb, Booking.com and all of the other channels (or lose sleep wondering if you got a double-booking overnight).

Launch you direct booking website in minutes!

We’ve built an all-in-one property, channel management and automation tool to help property managers scale seamlessly.

Start a free 14-day trial

Tips to get started creating your booking site with Uplisting

Are you ready to launch your new booking site with Uplisting? We’ve created some simple steps to get starting right now. Follow the instructions below or view our video the get started today.


Upload your logo to create your branded booking page

  1. Assuming you have compressed your logo*, go to the Direct page and select the Design tab.
  2. Drag and drop your image or select ‘click here’ to upload.
  3. If the logo meets the requirements, then it will be in place instantly. You will see the logo underneath the upload area.

* Page loading speeds are critical for optimal conversion rates

For this reason, we want to keep our image files as small as possible without losing quality. We recommend you compress your logo image before uploading it to Uplisting. You can use a service like ImageCompressor to do this easily. Every byte saved helps boost your bookings!

Your logo cannot be:

  • bigger than 1Mb
  • Larger than 720px in width or height

Create your subdomain

You can personalise your Direct Booking Engine to use your logo and subdomain.

What is a subdomain?

A subdomain is something other than the usual www at the start of a website URL.

For example, if your company is called London Rental Management, your subdomain may be `london-rental-management`.

How to create your subdomain

How to create a subdomain

  1. Go to Direct > Booking engine link (URL) (here).
  2. Enter your subdomain into the input.
  3. Save domain. Done.
  4. Copy the link or click the preview button.

Accepting payments

Connecting Uplisting to Stripe is simple.

  1. Go to the Connect > Stripe screen
  2. If you are connecting Stripe for the first time, select the Connect with Stripe button
  3. This opens up Stripe where you can authorise Uplisting
  4. Once your Stripe account is connected, select Settings
  5. Select the listings to connect to this Stripe account and select Save and connect Stripe
  6. Done. When guests attempt to book using your Direct Booking Listing pages, payments will automatically process through your Stripe account.

Get started today

Better experience for your guests, fewer headaches for you and your team. You’ll be set up in minutes with our Direct Booking Pages. Sign up right now, the first two weeks are free!

Check out our guide below to launch your new direct booking website in minutes.

How to launch a direct booking website in minutes (genuinely!)
In this guide I’ll show you how to launch a top of the range direct booking website from start to finish in a few minutes.

Vince Breslin

I'm one of the founders at Uplisting and am obsessed with helping property managers solve problems and grow their business. Join us at Uplisting and we'll do whatever we can to help.