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    Improve Conversions on Vacation Rental Websites: Part 2

    We hope that by now you have had the opportunity to read part one of this post, take a look at the analytics of your website and understand on how your visitors move around your pages. In this article we look at five reasons why potential customers might leave vacation rental websites without converting.

    1. Mobile incompatibility
    With the increase in purchases made using mobile technology, it is not an option to have a website that is not optimized for mobile and tablet users, as well as desktop or laptop users. While tablet purchases appear to have slowed down, the mobile phone market is continuing in its growth stage. What’s more, a website user is unlikely to visit a website after seeing it doesn’t work on the mobile phone, so there are no second chances. If you are not sure how mobile-friendly your site is, test it out on a phone and see how easy it is to use. Or use a  free tool like this one from Google. If the results show your website needs work, there are temporary fixes to make it more friendly, however, it is best to upgrade your website to one that is mobile- or tablet-responsive.

    2. Poorly designed or lengthy reservation forms
    Research shows that conversion can be affected greatly by form length. This varies depending on the market and the customers; ­­­­­­there is no set-in-stone rule on what, how many and in what order to ask questions. However, what is clear is that testing the content of the reservation form can affect your conversion rates. Take a good look at your reservation forms. Are the questions short, essential and clear? This can speed up the booking process, and if you choose to reduce the number of questions you ask, you can always ask for further information at check-in.

    3. Hidden or poorly written property searches
    A search bar is an important aspect of your vacation rental website. If it is not easy to search for a property, a visitor will give up and leave your website. Put your search bar in a prominent place, such as near the top center, and ask the minimum number of questions to help your visitor search for their future vacation property. Check-in and check-out times, property location and the number of adults/children visiting are all that is required to ask for here — further details can be collected later.

    4. Unclear search results
    The search results should offer the most important information your visitor needs to know, presented in an appealing way. High-quality photos, attractive property descriptions in appropriate languages and property layouts can all help customers decide if they are interested.

    5. Broken links
    Ensuring all links work can have two effects: It improves the professionalism of your brand and it ensures that your visitors can make a booking. There are a number of free tools available on the internet that will check your site for broken links. Avantio recommends Google Webmaster Tools.

    It is worth asking your non-vacation rental expert friends of different social and technological skill levels to use your site on computers, tablets and mobile phones, too. Watch what they do and where they go; listen to their questions; see how easy they find the booking process; and ask them how confident they feel in making a reservation. By observing their testing, you will better understand the experiences your visitors are having.
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