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Good examples of vacation rental sites
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kendalcottages



Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 2464
Location: Kendal, between the Lake District and the Dales

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:42 pm    Post subject: Good examples of vacation rental sites Reply with quote

Hi everyone

I'm going to be starting on our website soon.

Before doing so, I'd like to have a good look at some of the sites out there, make sure I have everything covered, and perhaps pick out some of the best bits.

So, my question is... which vacation rental sites out there do you think do their job best of all? (I'm interested more in sites for individual properties or a few properties, rather than the large directories that you get...)

What features do you like about these sites?

What features do you think are absolutely paramount to a vacation rental site?

All opinions welcome - thank you! Smile
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A-two



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 2110
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the best starting point: http://www.laymyhat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=257
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Waves from America
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Windy



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 3246
Location: Windermere UK

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or if you want to know about site design and content rather than where to list your finished site you could take a look at this thread

http://www.laymyhat.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=28

where you will find some great sites and some great critiques, both of which may be quite useful.

there's a lot there mind you Smile

My votes would be for clear design, great pictures, loads of relevant content and prominent calls to action
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kendalcottages



Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 2464
Location: Kendal, between the Lake District and the Dales

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, A-two... but the listings sites wasn't quite what I was after.

And thanks, Windy... I was aware of that forum but there's obviously quite a mix there. I was hoping you guys might be able to help me sift through and unearth the best ones... Wink

Let's put it this way - if you were to pick out just two or three examples of sites that do the job really well, which sites would you choose and why?
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Windy



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 3246
Location: Windermere UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK let's start the ball rolling by throwing a couple at you.

Photos -

http://www.experienceburgundy.com/

How could you look at this place and NOT book. The photos are pure property porn.

Style -

For style look at Garris sites - he's so hip that it hurts but you will end up doing what he does one day Smile

http://www.holidaypad.net/ (undergoing a redesign)
http://www.holidaycrunch.com/ (although it's giving a ruby error today)
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Margaret



Joined: 16 Jul 2007
Posts: 3579
Location: Bavaria and Mid Wales

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There you are.....nobody agrees on the perfect website. Not only do I not think those photos are the best (and does porn make you want to buy the goods?), I actually don't like seeing what looks like bits of left behind clothing draped over the furniture and someone else's breakfast. Purely my personal taste, no offence meant to the owner of the site!
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Margaret
www.bavarian-forest-holidays.com
www.bayer-wald-ferien.com
www.border-holidays.co.uk
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Windy



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 3246
Location: Windermere UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margaret - my (perhaps feeble) attempt at humour with the phrase "property porn" probably says more about me than it does about the web site I pointed out. Wink

Are you looking at the same site as me?

I see beautiful, dreamy, well dressed up photos of a gorgeous rental property where you apparently see "bits of left behind clothing draped over the furniture and someone else's breakfast."

Crikey - I know we all have our own tastes and all that, but I'd hate to have you judging my site on one of your cup half empty mornings Laughing
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Margaret



Joined: 16 Jul 2007
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Location: Bavaria and Mid Wales

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It comes of watching too many of those property makeover sites, where they get your property sold within hours by clearing away all the clutter!
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Margaret
www.bavarian-forest-holidays.com
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Windy



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
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Location: Windermere UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wheras here the consensus seems to be that we should dress up our photos .....

... but let's not get into a "what's the perfect photo" thread - on a more posistive footing, how about you propose a site or two that you think does the job photowise then M?
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kendalcottages



Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 2464
Location: Kendal, between the Lake District and the Dales

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the links. I wasn't expecting everyone to agree for one moment, but was just looking for a general overview of what people think is good. I anticipate it might make me see things that I hadn't previously though of.

Personally I think the photos on the Burgundy one do look good. Yes, they've all been 'staged' in order to create an impression, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.
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kendalcottages



Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 2464
Location: Kendal, between the Lake District and the Dales

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, here are some sites (all UK-based) that I think are visually attractive:

http://www.bidwellfarm.co.uk/
http://www.cheviotholidaycottages.co.uk/
http://www.beaconhill.co.uk/
http://www.breamishvalley.co.uk/
http://www.beehill.co.uk/
http://www.norfolk-luxury-cottages.co.uk/
http://www.doxfordcottages.co.uk/
http://www.alnwickcastlecottages.co.uk/
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Margaret



Joined: 16 Jul 2007
Posts: 3579
Location: Bavaria and Mid Wales

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one has stuck in my memory, which is what it's all about isn't it?

http://www.dovecotebarnsyork.co.uk/

Kendalcottages - I took a look at a couple on your list and I think they had far too long a list of click throughs in the side box on the home page - I prefer to go for broader topics with drop down menus for more detailed topics for each.
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Margaret
www.bavarian-forest-holidays.com
www.bayer-wald-ferien.com
www.border-holidays.co.uk
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www.facebook.com/BavarianForestHolidays
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Windy



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 3246
Location: Windermere UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ths are all very polished looking sites - there's a lot from the same designer there aren't there.

I should probably ask if you have any connection with Scottish Web Design just so we can all be happy....

I'm sure that the main photo on http://www.cheviotholidaycottages.co.uk/ is the picture used on the front of the VB Quality Standards Manual?

Margaret - that is a very nice site - you can tell that a professional photographer has been at work there!
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kendalcottages



Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 2464
Location: Kendal, between the Lake District and the Dales

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, yes... to clarify, I have no association with any of those sites I posted. If anything, Scottish Web Design is a competitor to my other business! Smile

Good point about the number of clicks, Margaret - I need to take a closer look at that. I was going more on appearance rather than usability with my examples, but obviously both need to be looked at.

Would everyone agree that a professional photographer is 'worth it' (obviously, it depends what they charge!), particularly if you are aiming at the upper end of the market?
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Windy



Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 3246
Location: Windermere UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you've answered your own question - at the top end of the market it makes a big difference I think - perhaps more debateable in the mid market.

Obviously there is no point in having super photos and a crappy web design so it's part of a general image / marketing cost decision that once made can set you on the road to some major expenses!!
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