You decided to launch your personal vacation rental website. Congrats! The next step is to find the right domain name. When you are considering purchasing a domain name for your vacation rental website, it is important to spend some time doing research. Here are few best practices that we recommend:
1. Think about potential keywords
What will a guest type into Google.com when he or she is looking for a vacation rental in your area? By including a keyword or keyword phrase in your domain name, it can help your search ranking for this keyword. Google’s Keyword Tool is a fantastic and free tool to help you find keywords related to your business and will show you the number of searches each month. When you first begin your domain name search, it helps to have 5 terms or phrases in mind that best describe the domain you're seeking. For vacation rental websites specifically, we have found that a good equation is the following: town/city where your vacation rental is located + accommodation type like “rental, “vacation rental,” or “cabin.”
2. Know the difference between Discoverable versus Brandable
What’s your strategy? Solely relying on traffic from search engines? Then you should use real words and phrases that people are searching for to increase your search ranking. If your marketing focus is to focus on complementing your current marketing efforts on other listing sites like HomeAway, you can come up with a brandable name that guests will remember. Check out this listing for Ruby's Retreat Lake Tahoe on VRBO http://www.vrbo.com/241244. The owners decided to create a brand for their vacation rental. They could choose a domain name like rubysretreat.com or rubysretreatlaketahoe.com. A recent vacation rental marketing survey found 74% of people looking for vacation rentals would definitely “Google” the name of the property or the owner outside the listing environment. This means that after guests find your listing on VRBO or HomeAway, they do their own research on the web. If you have a brand associated with your vacation rental, it is a no-brainer to have a branded personal website that shows up in these search results. You are creating a professional image for your vacation rental and this will help generate trust between you and potential guests.
3. Keep it short and sweet and easy to type
A long domain name, apart from being difficult to type, can be difficult to remember. You want your potential guests to be able to find your website and ultimately book your vacation rental! One of our clients manages vacation rentals in Rio de Janeiro and Copacabana, Brazil. He chose the simple domain name www.riobeachrentals.com. This not only helped optimize his site to be a top result for the search “rio beach rentals,” but it also is easy to remember and clients don’t need to remember how to spell Rio De Janeiro.
4. Choose ”.COM”
The ”.com” is the most popular top-level domain and it can be hard to find one that is available. In most cases, you should favor a ”.com.” However, if you are planning to promote your vacation rental in a specific country only you should consider a country specific domain such as “co.uk” for the United Kingdom.
5. Check the availability
Once you have a wish list of domain names, the next step is to check to see if your domain name is available. Here are a few websites to help you brainstorm names: NameStation.com and LeanDomainSearch.com. If your requested domain is not available, these sites offer a list of similar names that are available. Most likely you will not get your first pick; don’t let that discourage you. You will find a great domain name to represent your vacation rentals.
About Sarah Brubaker
Sarah is Co-Founder of WebChalet.com, a software company that makes it easy for vacation rental owners and professional managers to take control of their vacation rental business and book travelers directly through their own website. Starting with a wide variety of vacation rental website templates, owners and professionals can create their own website with availability calendars, online payment processing, and a suite of marketing tools pre-built into the software. Headquartered in San Francisco, WebChalet proudly hosts websites for thousands of vacation rental properties around the world. For more information, please visit WebChalet.com.