Is there a widget for direct bookings?
- Add a Book Now Button
- Add an Online Bookings Calendar widget
- Link to a Multi-Property Search Engine
- Link to Multi-Property Calendars
A holiday rental owner recently asked us, "As I have my own website, is there a widget that I can put to take direct bookings?" Let's explore your options.
If you have your own website, then you'll need a way to take direct bookings. In most cases, the most cost-effective way is to add a booking widget.
I have a holiday rental website - is there a widget/button to take direct bookings?
We were asked this question in a demo, and thought it would be useful to cover the details here.
Firstly, what is a Direct Booking Widget or Button?
A Direct Booking Widget is a piece of code that allows your guests to make a booking on your website.
Some property management software provides you with the option to add a widget or button to help you take direct bookings.
There are a variety of options when you're planning how to take direct bookings on a website.
Create a website for your holiday rentals
Let's start with the website.
To take bookings on your own website, you are going to need a website.
Here are four options:
- Build a website yourself using a website builder like Wix or Squarespace.
- Employ a web designer or developer to create a website on your behalf.
- Use an Instant website from your booking system.
- Use a custom website created by your booking system.
There are advantages and disadvantages of each option, so you'll need to weigh up your business needs and each individual option.
Booking widgets for direct bookings
The good news is that if you choose a template website or a custom website from your booking system, then the booking service will be baked in, so you don't need to do a thing.
If you have your own website, then you'll need a way to take direct bookings:
Here are four options:
- A 'Book Now' link or button
- A booking calendar
- A multi-property search engine
- Multi-property calendars.
Let's look at these four options in more detail.
There are two options that offer advantages for property owners and managers with single holiday properties.
1. A Book Now button
A book now button or link is the simplest option, and works well for websites that only have one holiday property for rent.
You can see a Book Now button in action on this demo website.
This is a simple piece of code that can be inserted into your website on the page your property details.
It creates a button or link that your guests can click and make a direct booking.
This links to your booking engine calendar, where guests select dates and provide booking details, such as name and credit card details.
An Online Booking Calendar also works particularly well for websites with only one property for rent.
The widget is a piece of code that can be inserted into your website.
This widget creates a calendar, showing available and booked dates, in addition to dates that only allow check-in or check-out.
The code can be adjusted to display just one month at a time, up to three months.
There is a scroll button to enable potential guests to move forward and backward through the year.
What's important here is flexibility.
There are increasing numbers of people who use mobile phones for searching on the internet.
As a result, it's important for guests, as well as for ranking better in Search Engines like Google, that your calendar is mobile friendly and responsive across all screen types, like mobile or tablets.
There are two options that offer advantages for property owners and managers with multiple properties.
This widget creates a page that displays all your properties together, with a search bar and a filters list.
This search bar helps your guests to search for their ideal property in a number of ways:
- Search using the date search and party size
- Search using the filters, such as number of bedrooms
- Search using the facilities eg Swimming Pool or Suitable for Dogs.
Once your guest has selected the property for them, they simply click to book.
4. Multi-property calendars.
This widget creates a page that displays all your properties together, with the calendar for each property alongside.
This is particularly helpful if you have a number of similar properties or your properties are all located close to each other.
It can indicate at a glance which dates are available for each property.
After choosing the right property, the guest simply selects the dates of interest for their ideal property, and clicks to book.
When you're planning how to take direct bookings on your website, consider the four options:
If you build a website with your property management software, the direct booking buttons and calendars are often automatically added.