There is of course the option of an advert in the print media, whether it is in a magazine or newspaper, and this does work, but it also has some serious drawbacks. Firstly it is expensive and it is something that you have to continuously work at. The print media is not the ideal vehicle for promoting your establishment as any potential visitors will still want to find you online to see more about your venue.
“Just get a website”, is a call that is often made, and at face value it would appear that this is not a bad option. After all, all you need to do is pay somebody to set up a 3 or 4 page website showcasing your property, then wait for people to find you on Google and sit back and watch the holiday bookings roll in. Sounds easy, but of course there is a catch. The problem is that if your website does not appear on the first page (or possibly the second or third) of Google, then you are not going to get many visitors to your website at all.
Holiday Accommodation is a fiercely contested battleground in the Google search results. There are thousands of websites all trying to be on the first page of Google, some of which are well established and have been around a long time. It is unlikely, although not impossible, that your little website is going feature against some of these established websites who have a budget to pay for search engine optimization.
Other options exist, such as free adverts on the online classified websites, but the free ads quickly get pushed down the line and you have to constantly resubmit your ad for it to be found. Online Holiday Directories can be a good option, however be careful when choosing which directories to advertise on. Some will offer a free listing and you only pay a percentage of you booking. This is usually between 12 – 18% and can ultimately work out very costly.
Other directories charge a monthly or annual fee for you to advertise. This is definitely the better option. You know exactly how much you are going to pay and it is normally a fraction of the commission based directories. You can expect to pay between R100 and R200 per month for an online directory of this sort. You can view a great example of one such directory which offers holiday accommodation on the North Coast of KZN, but there are many others out there which would do a similar job.
So what is the final verdict? What is the best way to advertise your holiday accommodation? Consider the following: You don't need your own website. Sign up to one or two directories that charge a fixed monthly fee (As long as the fee is reasonable). Let them do the advertising for you. You will soon know if one of them is not working for you and then change to another website. If you also do other traditional advertising, such as notice boards, print media etc, then get your own website as well so that it is easy to direct visitors to see your venue and your venue only. Don’t send them to your page on an online directory as they may then decide to look around at what else is on offer.
Some food for thought.