What the New IslandRealty.com Means for Owners
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18 Dec 2015
Why did we decide to completely redesign the website? Two reasons: our owners and our guests.
Those are the two driving forces behind all the decisions we make at Island Realty. Will this benefit our incredible group of property owners? Will this enhance the experience of every Island Realty guest? With the new IslandRealty.com, we believe the answer to both of those questions is a resounding yes.
There are four main features of which we are especially proud:
1. Mobile-First Design
Mobile bookings are expected to account for more than half of all travel bookings in 2016. With that in mind, we worked diligently with our web-development team at Blue Tent to design an entirely mobile-friendly website. As a guest, take comfort in knowing that you can easily plan and book your dream vacation from anywhere in the world on your mobile device or tablet without sacrificing any of our site’s features. As an owner, know that we are not only keeping up with the trends of the travel industry, we’re setting the trends as one of the first vacation rental companies in the nation to design a site with a mobile-first mentality.
2. Larger, High-Resolution Photos
When planning a beach vacation, guests want to be able to truly envision themselves not only playing in the surf, but also relaxing in their vacation rental’s living room. With our high-resolution photo stream on every house listing, guests will know the house they choose to rent inside and out before even arriving. Owners can rest assured the professionally taken, edited, and uploaded photos will help promote their property worldwide. All of the photos for the new IslandRealty.com had to be edited off the originals or the property had to be reshot. Scheduling shoots with detering factors such as weather, availability, renovations, and sunlight made the high-resolution photo project a huge puzzle; it took months to see the beautiful image behind all of those pieces. We appreciate the patience of our owners as we fill in the final pieces of the photo project puzzle.
3. Enhanced Property Search
As a guest, we hope you’ll take advantage of our easy-to-use search features when planning your dream vacation. Whether you know exactly when you want your trip to be, how many people you’ll be with, and where you want your vacation rental to be located, or you know only that you want a pet-friendly house sometime in the summer, our new website gives you the tools to find what you’re looking for. Our enhanced property search options make it easy to quickly get an overview of all available properties, or to delve deeply into what precisely you need. With our ‘favorites’ feature, you are easily able to save and compare your favorite rental options and even send those options on to other members of your party.
4. Seamless Online Booking System
Once a guest has found the vacation rental he or she wants, the booking process could not be simpler. If that guest has already entered vacation dates, only homes that are available during that time will have been shown during search results. If a guest falls in love with a house but has not entered dates yet, a calendar on the bottom of each property page shows its availability throughout the year, so he or she may pick vacation dates that correspond with the schedule openings.
With one click, guests are able to go from looking at a property to booking and paying. This level of ease is important for our guests, since many of them prefer to book online than over the phone. Since launching the new website in November 2015, we’ve seen a huge leap in our conversion rate, or the percentage of people who visit our site and ultimately book their vacation with us online.
(Screenshot of our old website.)
From January 1, 2015 to the launch of our new website in November 2015, our ecommerce conversion rate averaged at .27% (ecommerce conversion= the percentage of site visitors that make an online reservation) . Between the launch of our new website and January 1, 2016, our conversion rate has been averaging at .36%, a major increase we are determined to maintain.
As an owner, we hope the new IslandRealty.com makes you proud. Proud to be a part of our program of incredible Charleston area properties. By shooting and editing the most beautiful images of your home, we’re able to promote your property worldwide on a platform that works on any device at any time. By keeping a close relationship with you, your owner representative, and our in-house maintenance department, we’re able to strategically plan any and all improvements to your home. By understanding our market as only a company with nearly four decades of experience can, we’re able to turn not just Island Realty, but truly the Charleston area into the optimal vacation destination.
Take a look at some of our competitor’s websites. Not only are they behind the times in terms of web development, they’re also not offering nearly the personalized touches that we are. A vacation rental manger's website should be the #1 method of direct and assisted bookings. Ask other vacation rental managers what the sources of their bookings are and shouldn't be suprised to hear that the majority of their bookings are sourced from online travel agencies, which strip away brand identity and encroach (expensive) dependancy on their listing sites for booking. We’ve continuously worked to ensure our concierge program is the best of its kind. From preferred vendor listings on our website to easy to find contact information for our in-house concierge, IslandRealty.com is truly becoming a one-stop-shop for guests when they plan their Charleston area vacation.
Island Realty capitalizes on the market and leverages expertise to maximize your income and maintain the integrity of your home. We attribute our decades of success to fully embracing market trends and providing unparalleled customer service. Our new website is just one of the ways we are able to show you the difference between a property management company that is good for now, and one that has now been good for over 38 years!
We encourage guests, owners, and potential owners alike to take a look around the stunning, easy-to-navigate IslandRealty.com and let us know what you think! We can see you being part of the Island Realty family. Can you? Click here to get started.