Gone are the days of struggling to code or hiring expensive web designers to create a website for your short term rental property. The vacation rental landscape has blossomed, and with it, a plethora of user-friendly website builders specifically designed for hosts like you. Whether you're showcasing a charming cottage on Airbnb or a portfolio of luxurious beachfront villas that you want more direct business from, here's your guide to crafting a stunning website that attracts bookings and simplifies your hosting experience:
- Who needs a short term vacation rental website?
- What are the benefits of a vacation rental website?
- How to create a short term vacation website
- 21 website templates for short term vacation rental websites
- Customise your short term vacation rental website
Who needs a short term vacation rental website?
The traditional travel scene is fading, replaced by a thirst for authentic experiences and unique spaces. This shift empowers a new breed of travel heroes: savvy property owners turning their homes into empires, entrepreneurial hosts curating unforgettable escapes, and local champions guiding journeys to hidden gems.
A website lets you showcase your space, tell your story, and attract guests who resonate with your vision. This keeps the focus on the diverse audience who needs a short term rental vacation website while maintaining the core message of authenticity and unique experiences.
What are the benefits of a rental vacation website?
A rental vacation website can unlock a treasure trove of benefits for property owners, transforming your cosy cabin or city apartment into a lucrative asset and a gateway to exciting possibilities. Here's a closer look at the juicy rewards:
- Reduce vacancy blues: say goodbye to empty nights. With your own holiday rental website, you’re not solely reliant on OTAs or listing sites as a source of guests and bookings - you can attract your own. So think of it as your route to higher occupancy rates and a steadier flow of income.
- Direct booking bonus: bypass costly platform fees and connect directly with potential guests. Keep more of your hard-earned cash flowing back into your pocket.
Freedom and flexibility
- Control your destiny: set your own rental terms, house rules, and guest selection criteria. Create the perfect experience for your ideal guests and maintain control over your property.
- Diversify your income: rent out a spare room, a guest house, or your entire property. Your own website gives you the flexibility to adapt your offerings based on your needs and market demands.
Marketing and brand building
- Showcase your uniqueness: create a stunning website that highlights your property's charm, personality, and amenities. Attract guests who resonate with your unique space and build a loyal following.
- Build a brand beyond bricks and mortar: craft a story around your property and establish a distinct brand identity. Attract guests who align with your values and vision, fostering a community and building lasting connections.
A short term rental vacation website is more than just a booking platform - it's your key to financial freedom, creative control, and brand-building opportunities.
How to create a short term vacation rental website
Before diving into templates, let's explore the three paths available for building your vacation rental website:
1. PMS direct booking website builder:
Using a PMS (property management system) direct booking website builder can be an attractive option for vacation rental owners. It promises a streamlined process for managing bookings, reservations, and guest communication, all within the familiar interface of your PMS. But before you dive in, it's important to weigh the pros and cons carefully.
- Easy setup and use: most PMS website builders are designed to be user-friendly, even for tech novices. Drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built templates make it simple to create a professional-looking website without coding knowledge.
- Seamless integration with PMS: booking information, guest data, and payment details flow seamlessly between your website and PMS, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing the risk of errors.
- Reduced dependency on OTAs: by driving bookings directly through your website, you can bypass commission fees charged by online travel agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb and Booking, increasing your profit margin.
- Limited design flexibility: website builders often offer a limited selection of pre-built templates and customisation options. This can make it difficult to create a website that truly reflects your unique brand and property.
- Hidden costs: while website builders may advertise as ‘free,’ there are often hidden costs involved, such as transaction fees, premium template upgrades, or limited features in the free plan.
- Dependence on PMS provider: your website is tied to your PMS, so if you switch PMS providers, you'll likely need to rebuild your website from scratch.
Overall, PMS direct booking website builders can be a good option for owners who prioritise ease of use and integration with their existing PMS. However, be aware of the limitations in design flexibility, hidden costs, and dependence on the PMS provider.
2. Build a direct booking website with WordPress:
WordPress is a powerful and versatile platform, making it a tempting choice for building your vacation rental website. But, like any tool, it has its strengths and weaknesses. Let's look at the pros and cons to help you decide if WordPress is the right fit for your direct booking goals:
- Unrivalled customisation: unlike many PMS builders, WordPress offers endless customisation possibilities. With thousands of themes and plugins, you can tailor your website's design, functionality, and user experience to perfectly capture your property's unique charm.
- Cost-effective solution: while premium themes and plugins exist, WordPress itself is a free and open-source platform. You can build a basic website with free tools and gradually add functionalities as your needs evolve, making it a budget-friendly option compared to custom development or expensive SaaS website builders.
- SEO advantage: WordPress websites are search engine friendly by default, providing excellent opportunities for organic traffic growth. Optimise your content with relevant keywords, and watch potential guests find your website directly!
- Technical learning curve: building and maintaining a WordPress website requires some technical know-how. While resources and tutorials abound, it's not as plug-and-play as certain PMS builders. Be prepared to invest time in learning or consider hiring a WordPress developer for support.
- Security concerns: as self-hosted software, WordPress website security ultimately falls on your shoulders. Regular updates, plugin management, and robust security measures are crucial to protect guest data and avoid security breaches.
- Ongoing maintenance: unlike some managed website solutions, WordPress requires ongoing maintenance. Keep plugins and themes updated, conduct regular backups, and ensure your website functions smoothly. This can be time-consuming, especially for busy property owners.
If you value design freedom, cost-effectiveness, and SEO potential, and are willing to invest time or resources in learning or maintenance, WordPress can be a powerful tool to showcase your property and attract guests directly.
3. Website builder with third-party booking links
Using a simple drag-and-drop website builder like Wix or Squarespace with third-party booking links to Airbnb or Booking can seem like a quick and easy way to get your vacation rental online. However, before hitting publish, consider both the advantages and disadvantages:
- Easy setup and use: website builders boast easy-to-use drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built templates, making it simple to create a professional-looking website even with no coding knowledge. Integrating third-party booking links involves just a few clicks.
- Reduced overhead costs: many website builders offer affordable plans, and using existing booking platforms removes the need for a dedicated booking system, potentially saving you on software fees.
- Broader visibility: popular third-party platforms attract millions of potential guests, increasing your property's exposure and potential bookings compared to a standalone website.
- Limited customisation: website builders often offer restrictive design options, making it difficult to create a truly unique website that reflects your property's brand and personality.
- Reliance on third-party platforms: you're subject to the rules, fees, and algorithms of the booking platform. Changes in their policies or algorithms can directly impact your bookings and revenue.
- Reduced profit margin: third-party platforms charge booking fees on every transaction, eating into your potential income compared to direct bookings through your own website.
Overall, website builders with third-party booking links can be a good option for property owners who prioritise ease of use and broader visibility, especially when starting out. However, be aware of the limitations in design flexibility, dependence on external platforms, and reduced profit margins. As your business grows, consider moving towards a platform offering more control and direct booking capabilities.
Ultimately, the best choice depends on your individual needs and goals. Take time to assess your priorities, budget, and tech comfort level before deciding on the right solution for your vacation rental website.
Remember: with up to 70% of short term rentals now booked via mobile, ensure the website builder you choose offers a mobile-friendly version of your site.
21 website templates for short term vacation rentals
Now, let's dive into some of the best vacation rental website templates available across popular platforms. We’ll start with some of our favourites - a range of leading PMS that all integrate seamlessly with Touch Stay, then we’ll share some popular STR templates from Squarespace, Wix and WordPress.
OwnerRez offers a full, fast and flexible PMS software package for small homeowners and large property managers alike. As part of that package, they provide an excellent website builder with countless templates for short term vacation rentals built on power, functionality and best practices for the web. And what’s even better is that OwnerRez integrates beautifully with Touch Stay!
Guesty offers a huge range of PMS tools, including a drag-and-drop website builder that lets you easily create your own direct booking website in minutes. Choose from their range of professional templates designed specifically for the hospitality industry and customise it with various widgets and reviews. Check out how Guesty integrates with Touch Stay.
Anytime provides simple, fully-supported booking management tools to streamline direct and third-party bookings for holiday rental owners, glamping and campsite managers, motorhome fleets, and holiday parks. The Anytime PMS integrates with Touch Stay, while their intuitive website builder lets you choose from hundreds of templates designed for outdoor hospitality and customise it to your brand.
This popular PMS system (that also integrates with Touch Stay) offers short term rental managers an all-in-one solution to scale their rental business. Included with Avantio’s PMS software is an easy-to-use website builder that features a range of stylish templates, direct booking engine, dynamic widgets, custom category filters, and SEO optimisation to increase traffic to your site.
With 20+ years in the PMS game, Smily (formerly known as BookingSync) knows a thing or two about providing tools to help streamline operations for short term vacation rental hosts - and their website builder is no different. Whatever the type of property you manage, Smily offers the ability to create a professional website in minutes, fully integrated with a channel manager, payment features, and, best of all, Touch Stay!
One of the titans of the PMS world, Hostaway features the largest marketplace for vacation rental software and tools, offering over 100 solutions to every hosting issue imaginable! Their PMS and channel manager integrates with both WordPress and Wix, giving you several options when using the Hostaway website builder to create a short term vacation rental website. Or embed the Hostaway widget into any existing website. Plus, Hostaway offers seamless integration with Touch Stay digital guidebooks.
Boostly is trusted by more than 2,000 vacation rental owners worldwide to build their direct booking websites - and for very good reason! Boostly offers a complete, mobile-friendly web design template which can be fully customised to your brand, allowing quick and easy direct bookings straight from your website.
8. BnB Holiday
BnB Holiday allows hosts to save a lot of money by offering a free (yes, FREE!) website builder. Whether you need a template for a B&B, apartment, villa, cottage, summer house, caravan or hotel, they have a website template to suit. B&B Holiday’s website builder is easy-to-use and lets you create your own rental website in minutes, with the first bookings in your inbox the same day!
Lodgify is a PMS system that simplifies vacation rental marketing for property managers and owners looking to automate their business. Not only does Lodgify integrate effortlessly with Touch Stay, but its innovative all-in-one solution helps you to increase bookings, save time and scale your vacation rental business. Their website builder feature offers a huge range of templates - here are some of our faves:
9. Livingstone (from Lodgify)
This modern and minimal template design features a clean layout and a prominent hero image to showcase your stunning property. It's perfect for hosts who want a website that's both stylish and functional.
10. Brooklyn (from Lodgify)
This newly updated template features a sidebar menu and a large hero image on the homepage, making it easy for guests to navigate and find the information they need. Lodgify’s Brooklyn template exudes sophistication and charm - a great choice for hosts who want a website that's both modern and user-friendly.
11. Capucine (from Lodgify)
This holiday rental website template features a bright and clean boxed layout that puts your property in the spotlight, accentuating its features. It's a good option for hosts who want a website that's easy to read and scannable.
12. Tideway (from Lodgify)
This template is a cross between a boxed and full-width layout, featuring a prominent search box front and centre. It's a good choice for property managers who want a website that's both visually appealing and easy to book.
Next up we have some super easy-to-use, drag-and-drop templates from Squarespace:
13. Suffolk (from Squarespace)
For a timeless and elegant vibe, Suffolk shines. Its classic design, clear navigation, and ample space for showcasing your property's unique features make it a popular choice.
14. Maple (from Squarespace)
Showcasing your property with a huge hero image, Squarespace's Maple template offers a clean, chic layout and a prominent ‘Book Your Stay’ button.
15. Barbosa (from Squarespace)
Make a statement with Barbosa's bold typography and striking visuals. This modern template is perfect for showcasing unique properties and grabbing attention with its contemporary flair.
Like Squarespace, Wix offers an almost unlimited number of simple-yet-beautiful drag-and-drop templates. Some of the best website templates for short term vacation rentals Wix offers found in their Travel and Tourism section:
16. Travel & Tourism (from Wix)
Wix offers a wide range of themes and is a vacation rental owner’s paradise! There are templates suitable for hotels and B&Bs, apartments and hotels, as well as all types of other travel services. Transport your guests with vibrant imagery and captivating video backgrounds.
For the more tech-savvy, WordPress offers a huge range of excellent website templates for short term vacation rentals. Some of our favourites are:
17. Booklium (from WordPress)
An all-in-one WordPress rental theme for your B&B, apartment, villa or hotel, Booklium wastes no time in showcasing your property’s (or portfolio's) best features. And when paired with the MotoPress Hotel Booking plugin, this theme offers robust functionality for managing bookings and reservations.
18. Homey (from WordPress)
19. Divi (from WordPress)
One of WordPress’ most popular themes - and for very good reason! Divi is an all-in-one WordPress theme that not only looks amazing but also tells your property's story and informs potential guests. Effortlessly creating detailed listings brimming with high-quality photos, captivating descriptions, and clear amenities breakdowns. Divi's custom modules let you seamlessly integrate availability calendars, user-friendly booking forms, and interactive location maps, giving short term vacation renters all the tools they need to book their dream getaway with confidence.
20. Bellevue (from WordPress)
Bellevue is an all-in-one booking calendar WordPress theme designed specially for vacation rental or hotel websites. Choose from 8 stunning templates covering everything from chalets and beach houses, to urban chic and cosy countryside retreats. It offers features like a full booking system, integrated availability calendar, and seamless WooCommerce payments.
21. Sunway (from WordPress)
Sunway is your WordPress passport to building a vacation rental empire that rivals Airbnb. Whether you're hosting a charming cabin, a luxurious resort suite, or anything in between, Sunway gives you the tools and templates to turn lookers into bookers. Built on the robust foundation of the MotoPress hotel booking plugin, the Sunway theme ensures a seamless reservation experience for your guests.
Customise your short term vacation rental template
Remember, these are just starting points! Whether you opt for a PMS direct booking website builder, a custom WordPress site with direct booking capabilities, or a self-managed website with third-party booking links, make sure you spend time customising your chosen template with your branding, high-quality photos, and detailed information about your property and amenities.
Bonus tip: enhance your guest experience and reduce inquiries by easily integrating a preview of your Touch Stay digital guidebook into your website. Provide essential guest information about their stay, local recommendations, and helpful tips, all at their fingertips. Learn how to embed a guidebook preview on your website.
Click below to see how Sea View Cottage previews their Touch Stay guidebook on their site:
By creating a beautiful and informative website, you'll attract more bookings, streamline guest communication, and leave a lasting impression. Happy hosting!
Discover how Touch Stay seamlessly integrates with all the leading property management systems: