When you own a unique property, the natural thing to do is to rent out for holidays and earn some extra cash. Going online is the best way to do this and you’ve probably heard about the Lodgify vacation website builder. In this review, we are going to check out this software from the backend and see if it’s a good solution to start a property online business.
What Is Lodgify?
Lodgify is a website builder that is specific for home owners/innkeepers or agencies to list properties online. It has a built in calendar and booking system so all that’s needed is just to key in the information.
The pricing plan pretty much depends on whether you are listing single (Professional) or multiple properties and they are divided into monthly, yearly and two year period.
Here’s the breakdown of the hosting fees.
- Monthly – $31 (Professional), $66 (up to 5 listings)
- Yearly – $300 (Professional), $636 (up to 5 listings),
- Two Years – $528 (Professional), $1176 (up to 5 listings)
The multi property hosting can go up to 100 units. If you have more than that number or want a custom web design, you’ll need to contact the support team.
Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty details of some features that I found to be excellent.
1) The stock images that are provided for the homepage background are of high quality and they do make your site look professional.
2) The information required for each property is very detailed (overview, map and gallery, rates, contact, customer reviews and etc.), pretty much like what you would see in an AirBnB property listing. This allows specificity and build trust for people who are searching for vacation homes online.
3) Lodgify uses PayPal and Stripe as their payment gateway. This will also make your site more trustworthy as those are two well known professional services.
4) When you go with the annual hosting plans, you can save up on custom domains because they are offered for free.
5) Each website comes with multiple language settings for the listing. The default ones are English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, but you can continue to add other languages as desired. This type of feature will certainly increase your audience outreach.
6) Getting subscribers is easy as the software is already integrated with Mailchimp, which is a reputed tool for email marketing.
7) What I am happy to see is that this website builder allows you to connect to Google Analytics for tracking visitors and this is really appropriate for a rental site because you want to know where your audience are coming from.
8) Another cool feature is that it gives the ability to automatically connect to external booking channels such as AirBnb, HomeAway and HouseTrip so that you can feature your property and piggyback on the online traffic that are visiting those popular sites.
As simple as it might seem, not everything is a bed of roses. Here are some limitations that you should know when it comes to using website builders.
1) The template designs are limited and somewhat standard looking. That’s not really a big deal, but they can look a bit boring if you have multiple properties to manage.
2) My biggest disappointment is that the software doesn’t have a blogging feature which restricts your ability to promote through the search engines. Without one, you can’t implement keywords to target specific visitors you don’t have a spot on the first page of Google and worse, you are relying on booking sites where there are usually a lot of competitions from other properties.
Of course, you could always promote through social media, but it is often time consuming with no promise of targeted audience unless you choose to do paid advertisement. Even so, understanding keyword research will produce a better overall result.
3) If you look closely at the pricing plan, it’s quite expensive, especially if you have several properties and that’s JUST for listing without any active online marketing feature. You are aware that traffic doesn’t come automatically, right? Despite that, you are spending so much just to make their websites!
4) Another setback is the lack of integration with Google Search Console, which is part of the free Google tools that I think you should be using. This software aids in indexing and ranking websites and it ties closely with the richness of content from that site. Since there’s no blogging platform, your property site is bound to have ‘thin content’ and that will make it difficult to be found by visitors who uses Google.
So, Is Lodgify Worthy of Your Time?
Overall, Lodgify is a great software to help you understand what online property listing looks like on the back end of a website. It does make you think about ways to boost the appeal of your property as a vacation home, rather than just another house or apartment for rent.
Vacation rentals peak the most during the summer months, so this is the season where you want your property to make the most profit. However, without any form of marketing strategies, I don’t see how this software is going to bring in the holiday traffic.
For about the same amount of yearly fee for a single property, you can actually do better with a self hosted WordPress website that is more diverse in terms of templates/designs and has a powerful blogging platform. With a good blog, you would generally get more social followings, more sign-ups for your email and definitely get Google to notice you.
Having said that, they are not entirely out of the box type of solution like Lodgify, but there are special plugins that can handle reservation and booking system. It takes some learning curve, but the long term benefit is way better.
Now, what if you have multiple properties, but want to keep your online maintenance to the minimum?
Then you should consider hosting WordPress with SiteRubix. It allows you to create 25 custom websites (that’s 25 properties, if you have that many) for $359/year. Yup, you read that right. If you average the number, each is only going to cost you about $14/site (excluding domains) for the entire year.
Besides, the hosting is also connected to an online business training platform – at no additional cost to you – that will teach all the latest techniques (not gimmicks) to drive traffic (organic and paid) to your sites and grow your property business.
If this sounds like a better deal, join here for free and find out how this awesome community can benefit you.
I hope this Lodgify vacation rental website builder review has given you a good sense of direction on how to go about marketing online. Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comment below and I’ll get back to you.
You may also be interested to read;