MotoPress has been serving hundreds of vacation rental homeowners and hoteliers during the past 2 years, since the first release of the WordPress reservation system for rental properties. Throughout this journey, we’ve learned lots of SEO and marketing techniques for vacation rental owners – both plain simple and complex.
So… If you are using any of our custom-crafted hotel & property rental WordPress themes or the reservation plugin alone, we are going to share those tips with you!
They are also well suited for the owners of any property management WordPress theme, so feel free to dig deeper.
Well, first off, bad news – website optimization is not something you can do overnight.
Good news – the biggest part of the job is absolutely doable! A little bit of determination is required, so keep the end result in mind. Which result? This one:
Better visibility of your vacation rentals across search engines > more visitors > higher domain name authority > more prospects!
Before we start with the actual tips, let’s list several keystones that are a must-have for every vacation rental website:
- Fully responsive and mobile-friendly website design – an absolute must!
- Memorable brand name and domain name – these are important things. You should create a strong image of your brand in the mind of your visitors.
- Instantly accessible address&contact information or/and safe and easy online bookings.
So how to establish that camaraderie with search engines, hence, with travelers?
SEO for hotels: General tips on how to increase a vacation rental WordPress website traffic
1. Share social proof and credibility badges
Let’s say your holiday rental website is a CV of your business, aka resume. Your credentials always say more and better than your words. That’s the reality.
If you haven’t managed to get any recognizable micro-credentials (digital badges) from niche “influencers” of all sorts, make sure to add some real reviews from your guests. Testimonials ensure that prospective tenants can trust you. Remember, modern travelers always seek other people’s testimonials, so they will never book your lodging without reading reviews!2. Translate your website into other languages
SEO for hotel websites quite often includes localization. Having your website localized into multiple languages is like creating several websites at once. And imagine all they send that precious traffic juice to your canonical domain! Several websites is better than one, agree?
In simple terms, localization helps a wider audience from more countries stumble upon your website and book directly with you. So… if you are in the process of prioritizing website optimization things, this is gonna be your first mantra: “Localization is my best friend.”
If you are looking for WordPress tools to deal with this task, WPML plugin is reported to be the most used WordPress tool for multilingual websites. Most likely, it will work for you too, no matter the vacation rental WordPress theme you’re using. As an alternative, you can also go with the Weglot Translate multilingual plugin that, among other tools, offers instant machine translation via Google Translate.
- Use high-quality professional photos
If this sounds so obvious, why do I still encounter so many blurry, horrible pictures of great holiday places?
I implore you – do anything you can to use high-quality images of your lodging, be it an exterior or interior. Use professional images that will make prospects stare at them and endlessly slide across them. Let’s rephrase…
Your role is a detective fiction writer and your task is hard: hold guest’s attention! The more they stay on your website (hopefully, enjoying your story and holiday home), the better domain name rankings you can expect over time. The more odds they are failing in love with your vacation rental!
Find out what are the perfect dimensions for image containers in your WordPress theme and try to fit your images into them.
Before uploading or updating your images, take a look at our WordPress SEO guide for images – it will help you employ some best image optimization practices that lead to better rankings across search engines.
- Provide a flawless, peculiar pre-vacation experience
Are you a homeowner who can be proud of providing an extraordinary vacation rental experience? Then make sure the pre-vacation experience is simply mind-blowing! Use WordPress rental property plugin to enrich the website functionality and make it easy and understandable by users. Every piece of your website should make sense:
- Make your property description shine
Show your expertise, tell a story, be honest and… spell check! If you feel you can’t do that Hemingway job, probably think about making use of professional copywriting services.
- Tell who your lodging is suited for so that relevant prospects instantly feel your home meets their needs.
- Put some data visualization in place: people are always avid for numbers, so showing some stats is a great way to make data more easily accessible and also impressive:
- Focus on videos and virtual reality tours: the more reality of your lodging you are ready to show, the stronger credibility bridges you are building with your prospects. Even one catchy promo video will be enough to have their attention right away.
By the way, video files are usually a huge asset, so consider hosting all your videos off-site (upload to video hosts like Youtube first and then simply embed videos as iframe). For embedding virtual tours, we recommend using iPanorama free WordPress plugin.
- Don’t forget hosting
WordPress hosting is responsible for almost everything on your website. It has a measurable impact on the website load time, security and overall user experience. If it takes more than three seconds to load your website, people tend to abandon it. What does that mean?
This means that a fast website is not only significant for ranking well with Google, it’s also going to improve a visitor satisfaction and overall bookings rate.
A reliable hosting provider is so important that you should be totally obsessed with registering with only the best hosting provider.
SEO for hotel websites on WordPress (and not only)
1. Update your Google Business Listing
Choose the best photos of your hotel or vacation rental and upload them to your Google My Business page.
These photos, along with other contact and location details, will show up in Google Hotel search and maps.
If you haven’t verified your business yet, follow this Google’s guide. Make sure the photos you upload are high-quality, not altered with the programs like Photoshop and communicate your brand identity. Also, choose descriptive, meaningful filenames for your photos (use high-volume keywords including your location) – that will help Google find them easier and send more traffic your way.
2. WordPress SEO for hotels includes a lot of blogging
Literally – be restless in this activity. At least one good post per month is a need to keep steady traffic to your website.
Wanna tell how you practice fika in your place? Got a fun story to tell? Are there any absolutely amazing things to do in your location? So blog about them! Share travel tips while tailoring your posts to your brand message. Leading a blog and writing some engaging content are the best ways to drive traffic website and to get profit out of it.
Blogging with WordPress is very easy, the platform is by default arms you with great SEO tools. You just need to perform a keyword research and got some inspiration for storytelling. If you struggle to find the right words, don’t forget that there are a lot of professional copywriters who can help you (but honestly – it’s always better to tell personal stories).
As a rule of thumb – share your posts across all possible social media accounts. Though it sounds easy, writing for social media may be really tough and tense. You should be witty, intriguing, fun, and probably even possess some neurolinguistics skills! Only by writing demanded article and conducting some market researche (the most searched requests on the Internet etc.) you can drive traffic from your old content and attract new audience.
Who said it’s gonna be easy?
- Use trusted WordPress SEO plugins
After the keyword research is done (most likely, you are going to use local keywords) and you are ready to put them into practice, rejoice!
There are several cool WordPress SEO plugins that provide a needed level of automation and SEO tips for those who don’t have any expertise in this field. Yoast SEO is the one we use on this website and recommend. It’s a great free WordPress plugin that will significantly simplify your work with content optimization for a better visibility across search engines.
- Get backlinks from other niche websites
SEO is an art and a science that may take years to befriend with. However, one of the most clear (and 100% effective!) technique is getting backlinks from trustworthy niche-focused resources.
But don’t seek your fortune in black-hat SEO companies that promise that desirable #1 in Google. In many cases, they are going to blindly submit your website to a bunch of suspicious URLs. Not to mention this is the easiest way to violate Google’s guideline for backlinks and get banned!
Try to make it your way – write guest posts and share your expertise on relevant blogs and get those real, efficient backlinks that one by one increase the authority of your domain name.
In simple terms – create conversations everywhere and seek for mutually beneficial links exchange with relevant websites.
- Post videos on Youtube to get the most out of SEO for hotel WordPress sites
Youtube is a fantastic place to 1. Get more backlinks to your website 2. To impress prospects with your vacation rental 3. To increase bookings.
Record professional videos and upload them to Youtube – make sure to optimize video titles with local keywords and provide a link to your website in a video description.
It’s not necessary the video is about your vacation rental, the videos about local area are sometimes even more important for your prospects. A combo can work even better: tell about the most exciting places of interest in your area and also mention the best place to stay (of course, it’s your holiday home!). Brag, but moderately.
Videos are a hundred times more effective than words and images – it’s not in your best interest to ignore this fact.
6. Install a WordPress AMP plugin
As I said, blogging is hugely important, not just for SEO purposes; it helps you show prospects that your website is alive and that you care of them by constantly sharing useful travel tips. To make your blog posts load instantly on mobiles, you can install WordPress AMP plugin.
AMP is an acronym for Accelerated Mobile Pages – a project by Google that aims at providing the highest website loading performance on mobile devices. AMP is reported to help websites increase the website traffic and conversions on mobiles and provide users with the perfect speed and UX.
It’s not just the blog you can use AMP for – you are free to enable AMP for the entire website with just a set of button-click settings. With AMP enabled, you’ll be able to provide users with simplified website layouts that load at a blink of an eye.
AMP WordPress plugin is going to be a perfect website speed accelerator so that travelers who book with their mobile phones are going to love your website even more.
Marketing & social media tips for hotel and vacation rental sites
1. Find the way to grow your email list
Skyrocket your email list growth. This is the first tip you can get from any marketing expert. And they are right! If you have an email address of your prospect, you are almost speaking to them face to face.
The most widespread ways to make people want to leave their email address on your website are: a promise of sending hot discounts, a one-time special discount or any other enticing thing.
Just use your creativity – imagine yourself in a role of your prospect and offer them something the best about your vacation rental in exchange for their email address. If you are using the Hotel Booking plugin by MotoPress, feel free to connect Mailchimp and set common automated emails on autopilot.
2. Don’t discount frequently
Sounds strange? Marketing gurus on the local workshop told you about the benefits of discounts?
Discounts may provide a good boost for a short time, but in the long run, you may start facing problems with the vacation rental occupancy at a regular price. People adore discounts. And they are ready to wait for them!
Promotionals, special offers and free stays act as immediate calls-to-action; in most cases it’s a great way to entice your guests to book directly with you. But all those goodies should not be taken for granted by guests – make people feel it’s nothing but a good fortune. Just use your serendipity to the fullest.
One more tip, if you discount the rentals – in addition to a front page banner, write at least a short post about it on a blog. Many travelers google for “discount” accommodations in specific local areas. A short blog post is a great way to make your deal visible for local search queries.
Typically, it’s a proven practice to provide a free night only for extended stays. By the way, with the newest update of the Hotel Booking plugin, you can create personalized coupons with the monetary value.
3. Run giveaways on social media
Easy yet effective way to find new customers on social media. It’s not so much of a problem to create a giveaway like a contest and make people share it – just offer something valuable!
Giveaways can result in a great traffic boost, at the same time allowing you to get more social media followers.
4. Post on relative groups and forums
Become an insider of dozens of groups where people ask for a travel or vacation rental advice. Share your expertise and find prospective customers. But honest and don’t try to spam!
5. Make sure all your social media icons are in place
Get more followers easier by making your social media icons visible right away.
Make all those links instantly visible on your website. Modern people tend to procrastinate a lot, but if you manage to get your holiday home on their social accounts, be sure that some of them will come back.
To go even further, you can embed a live feed from any of your regularly updated social networks to your WordPress theme.
One of the most engaging and effective ways is to post aspiration types of imagery of your vacation rental and location via Instagram. Check out how it’s done in Ciestra hotel and resort WordPress theme.
Don’t abandon any of your networks: share stories and discounts via your Facebook group, post content to niche-specific Linkedin groups, impress people with photos on Instagram, tweet and retweet useful travel tips and news, etc.
Make it a part of your website maintenance routine and you’ll see that new followers appear every day.
6. Add a “Book” button to your Facebook official page.
You can also increase direct reservations by using your Facebook fan page. Facebook allows you to add a call-to-action button to the page of your business profile – and since there is a choice of buttons (e.g. “Learn More”, “Get in touch”), you can choose the most appropriate one. You can see it below your Page’s cover photo. Most likely it’ll be a “Book Services” button, which lets prospect know right away that they can book a property.
Once you’ve chosen a button, Facebook will ask you to insert the URL. That would obviously be a dedicated page on your website with the booking forms, where clients can make a reservation!
SEO for hotels: there are many ways to increase your vacation rental WordPress website traffic
Do you want to give your vacation rental a better chance to be discovered? You cannot control the SEO changes that Google is sending your way, but using these actionable tips you can significantly increase a vacation rental WordPress website traffic.
If you’ve got a feeling that you are pulled in a million directions with all these tips, here is my prioritization advice:
- Make sure all media content across your website is high-quality (photos, videos, virtual reality tours) + your texts that are engaging and authentic.
- Translate your website into other languages.
- Be persistent in creating conversations on different forums, groups and blogs.
But you can shape it to your needs and budget, of course.
Link building, professional design, and a great service – all help buttress your Google listing. Ready to start?