Going Mobile With Your Vacation Rental Website – The Time Is Now!

Erin Colbert —  December 6, 2012

MyVR Mobile Website iPhoneMore people will be using their mobile devices to access the internet than their PCs in 2013. Smartphones and tablets are also starting to outpace desktops when it comes to search. You can still be on the forefront if you create a mobile site for your vacation rental, but not for much longer.

5 Stats On Mobile Search For Travel

  1. 38% of travelers used their mobile device to search for travel information in 2012.
  2. Mobile hotel searches grew 135% year over year in January while PC searches stayed flat.
  3. Nearly 2 in 5 smartphone users accessed travel content from their devices in July.
  4. 180% more people will use Google search on tablets to find accommodations next year.
  5. A bad mobile website is the #1 deterrent to booking travel on a phone.

7 Features Your Mobile Site Should Have

So, how do you condense your beautiful vacation rental website down into a user-friendly mobile site?

Here’s what we think you should include and some mobile best practices to keep in mind. Think thumbs and fingertips – and short attention spans!

1. Main Page

Feature an image of your vacation rental and large navigation buttons buffered with enough space to inhibit accidental clicks. When you select an image, remember it will shrink. Sweeping landscapes won’t read as well as close-ups.

2. Photos

You don’t need fewer photos, but compress the images so they load quickly. If it takes too long, users aren’t likely to wait or return. Make them scrollable and tap-to-enlarge.

3. Home Details

Shorten descriptions and use bulleted lists to highlight your amenities. A lot of mobile sites are being accessed in between tasks, so make it easy to get through key details.

4. Rates & Calendar

For MyVR mobile sites, we’re using a version of the rate chart and scroll-by-month calendar we use on our full sites. The calendar contains pricing and condenses well for smaller screens. If you need to, you can link to your availability calendar on a listing site, but make sure it displays well on a few devices first.

5. Map

Include a Google Map of your location.

6. Guest Reviews

Good reviews are still the most compelling information for future renters, so include a separate button as if they’re no different than photos.

7. Contact Info

Use fewer form fields than normal to keep typing to a minimum. Allow renters to enter very basic info to submit an inquiry. Include a tap-to-call button to increase your chances of getting a booking.

There’s plenty of help out there for novices. GoMo by Google has some helpful best practices and a do-it-yourself process. There are several other sites that have guided or full-service processes for creating your mobile site. MyVR has also incorporated mobile into our services, creating a mobile version of your full vacation rental website automatically.

Erin Colbert

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Marketing at MyVR.com. I help vacation rental owners improve their online marketing efforts and get more inquiries & bookings as a result. You can find me on Twitter and Google+.
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