If you want to #BookDirect you need your own website. If you go the WordPress route, there are thousands of plugins that can increase the functionality of your site, make it look professional and are easy to use. Jason Beaton, partner at Vacation Rental Formula, and digital marketing expert talks us through 10 plugins you might want to consider for your site.
Plugin vs widget?
This was my first question as I wasn’t sure what the difference was, so Jason explains how a plugin adds functionality whereas a widget is how you see it
Our ten plugin recommendations are in no particular order:
Every #BookDirect site needs a method to take reservations, otherwise, there’s not much point in having one.
Our good friends at Lodgify offer a booking widget that will allow you to accept direct bookings and credit card payments
“Embed Lodgify’s smart booking widget into your vacation rental WordPress theme and allow visitors to instantly check your property’s price and availability. Guests can reserve their stay directly on your website using the WordPress booking widget, paying by credit card for total ease.
The WordPress rental widget uses HTTPS and SSL encryption, meaning your guests’ sensitive data is transmitted securely. Offer the best price and secure reservations when travelers book directly on your website.”
Collect reviews on your site and import them from all your channels
So, if you are getting reviews on Google Business and Facebook you can pull them into your site as well.
Repuso monitors all your social media channels for reviews by your customers. Reviews can also be collected through our widgets.
Another option for displaying and collecting reviews
Your guests have a lot of questions and they ask them often. Having a FAQ page on your site gives you a place to send them so they can have all those pressing questions answered. With an easy drag and drop interface and the ability to add images and video, you can imagine how useful this would be.
If you have a website but aren’t keeping up with all the analytics you are missing out on so much information that can power your business
“The plugin connects your WordPress site with Google Analytics, so you can make data-driven decisions to grow your business. “
Jason’s bonus recommendation: Facebook pixel plugin
Bloggers will love this plugin as it tells you whether your efforts are meeting your SEO goals.
“Optimize for keywords, keyphrases and synonyms, related keywords and all word forms
In Yoast SEO you can enter the keyword or keyphrase you’d like your post or page to rank for in the search results. We then run a check on your content to check whether you’re using the keywords often enough – but not too often – and in the right spots.”
Images can make or break a website and although it really comes down to the quality of pictures you have of your property, how you display them really matters too.
“NextGEN Gallery plugin allows you to create beautiful photo galleries and albums in WordPress. Additionally, you can upload photos in bulk, import metadata, add/delete/rearrange photos, edit thumbnails, and group galleries into albums. It’s a complete gallery management tool for WordPress.”
Once you have your best images on your website, you don’t want them weighing it down and slowing it up. Imagify compresses the images for you without reducing the quality of them.
Your theme may have a form builder as standard, however, it’s likely to be basic and may not connect easily with a CRM.
“A plugin such as Gravity Forms can build and publish your WordPress forms in just minutes. No drudgery, just quick and easy form-building. Select your fields, configure your options and easily embed forms on your WordPress-powered site using the built-in tools.”
A live chat plugin will allow you to connect quickly with your guests online wherever they are on the website.
There are plenty of options available and most have a monthly fee, so we’re not offering a recommendation. Check this article for some options
Do you have any plugins that work well for you? We’d love to hear about them.
Also, you don’t have to do this yourself. I’ve made the decision that a ‘done for me” package can be so much more cost effective than beating myself up trying to learn the technology. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on courses and consultants in the process of trying to save money by going in alone. In the end, I’ve had mediocre results.
Now I’ve made the decision to hand over all the work and have it done for me thjs year, I’ve freed up a ton of time to work on the things I love…strategizing!