Beyond Airbnb: How to attract guests to your own website

So, you’re thinking about having your own booking website, but there’s this lingering question: “Where will my guests come from?” If I have my own site, how do I make my guests find me?” Some might even believe, “Airbnb promotes me for free” (spoiler alert: it doesn’t). We totally get where you’re coming from, and you’re not alone in this. In fact, we get this question a lot. Let’s explore how your own website can enhance your visibility and make it easier for guests to discover your unique accommodation.

1. Local SEO: Attracting guests through targeted online searches

Understanding local SEO:

Ever heard of local SEO? Think of it as your website’s way of waving hello to travelers searching online. It stands for Local Search Engine Optimization, and in simpler terms, it ensures that when someone’s looking for a place in your area, your property gives them a friendly nudge saying, “Hey, check me out!”

Making local SEO work for you:

  • Optimize your website content: Let’s say you’ve got this amazing beachfront villa in Malibu. Make sure words like “Malibu beachfront villa” are naturally integrated in your website’s content. It’s like telling search engines, “Hey, we’ve got what they’re looking for!”
  • Get on Google My Business: This free tool from Google allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can help potential guests find you more easily.
  • Local backlinks: Know that popular travel blogger in town or the café next door? Team up! Collaborate with local businesses or blogs to get backlinks to your website. For example, a local travel blogger could write a review about your property, linking back to your site.
  • Don’t forget mobile users: A lot of us are glued to our phones, right? So, make sure your website looks good and works well on mobile devices. Google loves mobile-friendly sites, and so do your potential guests!

The importance for property owners:

So picture this: Someone’s daydreaming about their next escape, maybe typing in “luxury villas in Puerto Rico” or “cozy mountain retreats in the Alps.” If your place matches what they’re dreaming of and your website is optimized using local SEO strategies, your property could pop up as their top choice for a stay. It’s like setting up a signpost in the digital world that points straight to your door, making it easy for guests to find and book your place.

Building a digital trust bridge with guests:

You know that feeling when a friend recommends a great coffee shop, and you just know it’s going to be good? When your property keeps showing up in local search results, it gives potential guests that same vibe. It’s like the internet’s way of giving you a friendly nod, saying, “This place? Totally legit and worth checking out.”

2. Social media: Not just for cute cat videos

Ads that hit the spot:

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram aren’t just for scrolling through vacation pics and food snaps. These platforms have a knack for knowing just what we’re dreaming about. Ever wondered how that happens? It’s all thanks to their algorithms and ad targeting capabilities. And the best part? You can take advantage of this.

When you advertise your property on these platforms, you’re not just casting your ad into the digital wild. You’re strategically placing it in front of people who’ve shown interest in travel, maybe even in your specific region. You can tailor your ads based on age, interests, behaviors, and more. So, the next time someone’s daydreaming about their ideal getaway, your property could be the star of that dream.

Teaming up with influencers:

Influencers are like those popular kids in school. When they talk, people listen. But they’re not just popular; they’ve built trust and credibility with their followers over time. When they share a product, place, or experience, it comes with an implicit stamp of approval.

So, how does this magic work for you? When you collaborate with an influencer, especially one whose audience aligns with your target guests, you’re tapping into a pre-established community of potential bookers. It’s not just about showcasing your property; it’s about storytelling. Influencers can weave narratives around their stay, making it relatable and aspirational for their followers.

Imagine an influencer capturing a sunrise from your beachfront property, sharing a story about the serenity they felt. Or perhaps they document a day of local adventures you’ve recommended, showcasing the full experience guests can expect. This kind of authentic promotion can resonate deeply, driving not just awareness but genuine interest and bookings.

3. Email marketing: Your digital postcard

Hello again, dear guest!:

Remember the couple who celebrated their anniversary at your property? Or the family that had an unforgettable summer vacation? These are cherished memories, and a personalized email can be a wonderful way to reconnect. It’s not just about sending offers; it’s about evoking those fond memories and inviting them to create new ones. Share updates about your property, highlight seasonal attractions, or simply send a heartfelt message letting them know you’re thinking of them.

Tailored just for you:

In a sea of same-old emails, a bit of personalization is like a breath of fresh air. Remember the details about your guests and use them to craft messages that feel like a friendly chat. For instance, if a guest once booked a room that’s perfect for families, why not drop them a line about new activities for kids or special family deals? Or if a couple once chose your place for a romantic escape, send them the scoop on special packages for couples or dreamy experiences nearby.

Special treats and early-bird specials:

Who doesn’t love a sweet deal? Your email list is the perfect spot to share those extra-special offers. Think about crafting unique packages or discounts that are just for your email buddies. It’s a win-win: you encourage bookings, and your subscribers get to feel like VIPs. After all, everyone deserves a little VIP treatment, right?

4. Local partnerships: It’s all about teamwork

Why go local?

Think about your favorite neighborhood cafe, the annual jazz festival that everyone looks forward to, or that hidden gem of a vineyard just outside of town. These local treasures are more than just attractions; they’re potential partners. Collaborating with local businesses can lead to special packages, exclusive discounts, or simply a richer, more memorable experience for your guests.

Ideas for local collaborations:

  • Exclusive discounts: Arrange for your guests to receive a discount at a local restaurant, shop, or attraction. In return, these businesses can offer their customers a discount for staying at your property.
  • Special packages: Create special packages that include experiences from local businesses. For example, a “Romantic Getaway” package could include a stay at your property, a romantic dinner at a local restaurant, and a wine tasting at a nearby vineyard.
  • Shared promotions: Promote each other’s businesses on social media, in your newsletters, or on your websites. This can help increase visibility for both your property and the local businesses you partner with.

The magic of word-of-mouth:

When local businesses support each other, it creates a positive ripple effect throughout the community. That cafe down the street might recommend your property to guests looking for a place to stay, and you can do the same for them. It’s not just about business; it’s about building a supportive community where everyone thrives.

5. Platforms: Airbnb and beyond

The Airbnb myth:

Yes, Airbnb can help get your property in front of a lot of eyes, but it’s not all smooth sailing. The commissions can start to feel hefty, and let’s be honest, it’s easy to feel like just another listing in a sea of options. Additionally, the platform’s algorithm and ranking system can be unpredictable, making it hard to maintain consistent visibility. This is why having your own website can be a game-changer.

Your website’s superpower:

While Airbnb and other platforms can boost your visibility, your website is where you can truly shine. It’s the space where you can offer special deals, create unique packages, or simply share what makes your property so special. Think of it as inviting guests into your world, offering them a glimpse of the experience that awaits them, and having a genuine conversation.

The best of both worlds:

There’s no need to choose between Airbnb and your website; you can have the best of both worlds. Use Airbnb and other platforms to attract guests, and then encourage them to book directly on your website in the future for exclusive offers and a more personalized experience. Here are some ways to make the most of both:

  • Leverage Airbnb for visibility: Use Airbnb to get your property in front of a large audience. Make your listing as attractive as possible, and encourage satisfied guests to leave positive reviews.
  • Encourage direct bookings during their stay: While you can’t share your website or contact information on your Airbnb listing, you can certainly talk to your guests about it during their stay. Let them know that they can get special deals and better rates by booking directly on your website next time.
  • Collect contact information: With the guest’s permission, collect their email address during their stay. This allows you to send them special offers, updates, and promotions directly, encouraging them to book directly with you in the future.
  • Offer exclusive deals on your website: Create special packages or offers that are only available on your website. This encourages guests to book directly and can help you build a loyal customer base.

Conclusion: Unlocking a world of opportunities

One of the most common concerns we hear from property owners is, “Where will my guests come from if I have my own website?” We hope this post has shed some light on the many ways your own website can actually help attract guests.

Sure, Airbnb is a big player, but it’s not the only game in town. Your own website can be a magnet for guests, drawing them in through local SEO, social media, email marketing, local partnerships, and yes, even Airbnb itself.

Think of your website as more than just a booking platform. It’s your property’s own little corner of the internet, a place where you can show off what makes it special, offer exclusive deals, and build a community of loyal guests.

So, why not give it a try? It’s not about ditching Airbnb or other platforms; it’s about using all the tools in your toolbox to attract guests from every corner of the internet. And remember, if you ever need a hand, we’re here to help.

Here’s to a full booking calendar and happy guests all around!