March’s Website of the Month winner was holiday rentals website Panoramic Villas. We caught up with them to find out about how a family-run business can compete in such an aggressive market, their success so far, and most importantly, their top holiday destinations…
Hi, tell us a bit about yourself and PanoramicVillas.com.
Panoramic Villas is a family run business and started life through our passion for holidays and a keen interest in the overseas property markets. Initially, we began to rent out our own privately owned villas on the Spanish Costa del Sol, this made perfect sense as these beautiful holiday homes would otherwise be left empty most of the year!
Early on we realised we needed a highly functional website to further promote and provide detailed information on our holiday villas.The website allowed us to streamline our booking process, which is imperative in the Holiday Home industry, and enabled us to publish our local area knowledge online to offer guidance and help for holidaymakers.This investment provided a rapid increase in the number of holidaymakers we were dealing with and created a brand loyalty that saw our customers returning to book with us again and again!
The success we had didn’t go unnoticed. We were soon approached to rent other nearby homes for owners who wanted our help and expertise. The portfolio of holiday rentals on our website grew with each month and year. We added more website features and expanded into more countries and regions. We started with 5 villas on the Costa del Sol and within just a few years have increased this to 500 quality rentals worldwide!
Panoramic Villas biggest achievement to date is the ability to offer great value holiday rentals across the most popular worldwide destinations with the ability to easily and securely book online. Don’t just take our word for it, view our testimonials and see why holidaymakers return to us each year.
Holidays are an incredibly competitive industry. How have you helped ensure that Panoramic Villas stands out from the crowd?
We are passionate about delivering a fantastic holiday experience and stand for quality holiday homes NOT quantity. In a competitive industry we stand apart from many of our competitors by going the extra mile. We only offer the very best rentals at direct from owner prices. Our website delivers extremely detailed information and photos’, so finding a holiday home and renting from the property owner has never been safer or easier. Our holiday rental guarantee assures holidaymakers that the property they see is the property they get and that it will be ready and waiting for them on arrival!
We handle all the holidaymaker enquiry e-mails and telephone calls and process the booking from start to finish.The property owners are kept informed at all the crucial stages but we take all the hassle out of Holiday Home rental for our owners.
We listen to our customers’ feedback and react continually to improve the service we provide. Our company motto ‘making holiday home rental easy’ describes our simple ‘Look, Click and Book’ approach to finding your next holiday rental… it really is that easy!
What’s your dream holiday destination and why?
We asked three members of our team for their thoughts.
Andy Lea, Managing Director – Idyllic Mijas on the Costa del Sol is my holiday destination of choice for many reasons. Mijas is the quintessential Spanish whitewashed village that exudes charm, culture and variety.
Mijas Pueblo offers a fantastic choice of restaurants, cafes and shops that will ensure no matter how long you stay you never need to visit the same place twice. The small bar/cafes are friendly and the superb tapas that accompanies your favourite drink is not to be missed.
The centre of Mijas is the best place to be. You can sit in the square with a drink and watch the world go by or head down to the viewing point which offers breathtaking views across the mountain tops right down to the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.
Mijas offers a quiet and relaxing atmosphere but if you are looking for something a little livelier then you can have the best of both worlds. You are just a short drive from all the following activities, water sports, mountain biking, horse riding, tennis, sightseeing, sunbathing on the beach, shopping, walking, wine tasting and much much more.
I certainly recommend Mijas as a perfect holiday destination as it offers the opportunity to do as little or as much as you like and the fact that it is on the Costa del Sol means you are guaranteed some much needed sunshine.
Jess Whittle, Business Development Manager – Yalikavak is my perfect holiday destination as I feel totally relaxed as soon as I get there. The weather is always fantastic, really hot in the daytime (for maximum sunbathing!) and there is a nice breeze in the evening as you are near to the sea. I love how you can walk along the seafront and through the village in the evenings and choose what restaurant you want to eat in. The food is amazing and really good value. The local restaurant and bar staff are really friendly with a great sense of humour. There are lots of really nice gift shops and jewellery shops that stay open in the evenings too so it’s good to have a stroll around them after your meal.
In the daytime if I’m not lying by the pool I like to go for a swim in the sea. The beaches are really clean, sunbeds are free of charge and you can get drinks from any of the beaches. It has a really chilled out atmosphere in the daytime. The boat trips are always a really good day out too, sailing around the local islands and stopping off for a dip in the sea. I never want to leave when I go to Yalikavak, a week is not long enough!
Robert Skupski, Technical Director – I’ve got to say my dream holiday destination has got to be Veranda Palms in Florida. This fantastic new resort is surrounded by a wonderful conservation area, making this a completely tranquil and peaceful area to relax during your stay. A short walk takes you to the Shingle Creek Nature Reserve which has over 1000 acres with playgrounds, nature trails, lakes and streams where you can go canoeing or Kayaking in this beautiful reserve. If, like me, you’re a big kid at heart, then no trip to Florida is complete without visiting one of the many impressive theme parks. Veranda Palms is perfectly located only 15 minutes drive to many of the Disney theme parks and provides a peaceful escape after a fun filled day out.
Florida has a wealth of activities and attractions to keep you as busy or as relaxed as you like. The fabulous weather, great food and friendly people make this the ultimate holiday for me.
Panoramic Villas has a bright, welcoming feel to it. What did you want to achieve with the design and what was the design process like?
Our aim was to make the website visually clean and simple with clear navigation and call to actions. We wanted the branding to flow throughout the pages but not to distract when viewing photographs of the holiday homes. The Panoramic Villas logo provided the inspiration for the colour choice as this offered a fantastic range of colours to choose from. The main colours selected were the calming aqua and the vibrant orange, both worked well together to easily guide the eye and successfully set a relaxing holiday theme.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make a directory or listings site in 2013?
With any business you need to have passion and interest in the service you are delivering. Ask yourself ‘why would someone use my website over someone else’s?’ What makes your website unique compared to your competitors and what can you do better. Before building your website research a keyword word rich domain name. Ideally, the same name as your company name or very similar. Take the time to research and plan your website structure to best maximise the use of keyword phrases within the URLs, a good investment of time early doors will make optimising your website easier from the off and will save you a great deal of time and money in the future.
Panoramic Villas has a very active blog.What are the benefits of having a blog for your website and where do you find inspiration for the entries?
Our blog allows us to provide useful and easy to find information and advice to our holidaymakers and property owners. We linked our blog to our homepage so this updates daily and makes our blog posts more visible for our website users. The blog also allows people to make comments on our posts and share more information with our website users.
The majority of inspiration for our blog posts comes from the countries and regions where we have a fantastic selection of holiday homes. These are always in or near popular towns and villages, attractions, restaurants, bars and places of interest which we find useful, and believe our holidaymakers will enjoy. We are lucky enough to travel with our job and most of the posts are written from our own personal experiences… it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!
How have you promoted the website, and which have been the most successful campaigns/channels?
We have promoted our website through a wide variety of media including huge billboards, banners, radio, in-flight magazines, newspapers, CPC campaigns, email newsletters, online adverts, utilising Search Engine Optimisation specialists where applicable, various competitions and even beer mats!
The most cost effective and beneficial marketing has come from our own SEO. This falls into two categories, the first is on-site SEO. This includes checking the content of our pages for errors, broken links and improving how our pages display within search results to maximise the number of clicks. Our off-site SEO includes growing our footprint on the web to include more links from social media and travel related websites; this involves regular daily posts on Facebook and Twitter. Raising the profile of your website is a long term strategy which takes time and commitment. If it is done correctly, it creates results that outlast the costs of traditional marketing. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand for a quick fix to SEO.
Why did you choose Heart Internet to host your website?
After researching several hosting companies when looking for a dedicated server, we found Heart Internet to be very reliable and excellent value for money. They were extremely helpful and knowledgeable when we rang for advice and help. For this reason we had no hesitation in choosing Heart. Previously, we were sharing our hosting and once we made the switch to Heart Internet’s dedicated server we noticed a massive improvement on the page loading times.
How do you see Panoramic Villas developing further in the future?
We plan to continue our steady but productive growth. We are a company where quality not quantity counts.We want every one of our holidaymakers to enjoy the holiday home they book with us. We will consolidate the regions we are in and develop new ones at the appropriate time to ensure strength of depth and variety.We will secure our current page one status’s on the search engines and establish page one positions for all other important key terms.
We will increase our presence on the social media stage to provide us with an alternative Market group that individual property owners cannot reach.
We will increase our services to our property owners to help ensure brand loyalty and provide us with alternate revenue streams.
The important factor in such a highly competitive and ever changing market is to be able to remain flexible and adapt current plans whilst monitoring market trends to enable us to deliver new strategies before our competitors do. It is all about being committed to your organisation and the customers you serve.