As you may know Black & White Standard is not just a webhosting company, but also develops a variety of solutions to make your business more streamlined and successful. In the past several months we had a look at one of our accounts and wanted to make it better than it currently was. Portside Condos Grand Haven is our subject for this writing and how we brought helped maximize it’s business potential in the short term and to help build the long term off of the back of that.
Originally we put the site together with Dog Ear Marketing Web Design and had a reservation platform in the site that would take reservations natively within the site for anyone what was looking to stay in the rental on a short term rental basis. Over time and testing the platform we noticed that it wasn’t performing the way we had originally intended it to and needed to be further improved to serve our clients needs and helped facilitate rentals more easily with the customer.
The above is what we came up with. It looks somewhat similar to the original platform that we had in place however it is a night and day improvement on a number of different levels.
Our original plugin had created some pricing confusion due to the way it calculated everything unfortunately and also had a slight issue with how it displayed the calendar / discounts. Those were the main things we were looking to fix. However, wait there’s more!
Minor things included being able to work the backend of the platform and be able to think straight when doing so. Unfortunately the process to add fees, make restrictions etc. were somewhat convoluted and formulaic math was necessary to work it correctly, that in and of itself is not good for the end user to be dealing with on a regular basis. If the user isn’t happy we’re not happy.
Lastly the marketability of the site is somewhat subdued by just leaving it up to the site alone to field reservations. While our sister company Dog Ear Marketing does a fantastic job with SEO we all know there are more ways than one to field clients on the internet. Our primary build didn’t help us in that regard.
During our research phase we set out to look to improve on each of the above problems and go one further than that if we possibly could, as we only try to shoot the moon for clients.
To improve this platform we found a platform that would not only achieve better a display and user experience but also would allow the site to communicate with all of the larger brokerages that deal with short term vacation rentals. Like Airbnb, Booking.com, VRBO, and TripAdvisor. This feature alone is something that resulted in a great rise in success. See the above picture for the example of what the reservation page currently looks like.
Frankly the biggest improvement we could have put in was the connection between all of the different brokerage sites. For those of you that have done your research you may know there are several different services that will connect the brokerages together for a monthly fee, but do they also give you a fee-free option to book future clients?
The biggest issue for a host in this industry is pricing, and fees. In order to make sure that you’re whole after all the costs to run your rental you have to make sure that your pricing is set accordingly as well as competitively with the other rentals out there otherwise you’d be wasting resources, that’s where a website like ours comes in. The main upside to using the brokerage marketplaces like AirBnb and Boooking.com is the fact that they are widely known and really get the word out with the mass visibility. The downside is they charge a fee for that great marketing that they have built in. No one can blame them for that, it’s a service they provide.
If you have a site like Portside Condos Grand Haven you can use it to tie all of the different sites together via our built in platform, monitor all of the reservations from there AND shepherd repeat business to your own website to avoid said fees later on. The #1 upside to working with us is the fact that you OWN your assets. We charge you the labor to setup and get you running, help you maintain along the way and you get to have your own turn key biz ready to go.
So the main problems have been solved above, now for the few minor ones, mostly the backend usability for the host. Our installed platform also has that covered. There’s ton of customizable options for interacting with your customers with automated messages and pre-built invoices as well as the general setup for the pricing and availability is overwhelmingly simply in comparison to a few platforms we have trialed and the original one that we built.
Below are the examples of the different things that can be customized and how easily they are done.
Our favorite things about this platform include the reservation form as well as the reservation management on the backend.
As you’ll see below the reservation form itself is a drag and drop editor with some menus in it to help make sure that you capture everything you need from your guest upon making the reservation. If you have mandatory fees like cleaning or security deposit etc., those are just added as an additional field that is hidden (they do show up on the invoice to avoid confusion on billing).
In addition to reservation forms, managing reservations are extremely important and should be easy to do on the hosts side. See the photo below.
As you can see everything is very easily discerned with a glance. No need to really look hard because color coding and simple organization allows you to know exactly what is happening when.
So as shown you can have an extremely amazing short term rental platform that is easy to use and is super marketable through a bunch of different channels. This build was the first of our kind when we took it on originally and over time we are proud to have been able to evolve it into what it is today and hope to continue to do so.
If you are looking to create a successful rental platform or know someone that is we’d be more than excited to help you get it off the ground and tailored to your business any way that we can. As always your success is our success and we won’t stop until you get there. Contact us in the sidebar if we can help in anyway.