If you rent a vacation home or operate a bed and breakfast, a web presence is now essential. Most tourists today plan their trips using the internet.
When designing a website for a tourist accommodation business, I strive to convey a feeling for the scenery and/or the decor of the house in the website. I figure that the people who will want to stay there will be attracted to a website that reflects the house’s personality.
The website has been a tremendous advertising tool and accounted for a major part of my business last year at a time when many tourism operators were struggling so I cannot thank you enough.
~ Elizabeth Measures, Whitman Wharf House
While search engines bring in some traffic directly, visitors to vacation home sites often arrive via provincial or state tourism publications or websites, and by online listing agencies such as CyberRentals, Cottage Link, VRBO and others.
HomeAwayConnect.com provides an availability calendar and a guestbook that site owners can link to and maintain themselves, and a very informative newsletter that is worth reading if you’re in the holiday rental business.
Update, Feb. 21, 2011: See my extensive blog post about websites for vacation rental homes and cottages.