Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2012, but has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy as of November 2014
It can be daunting trying to come up with the perfect domain name for your holiday rental website – the online name that will be associated with your holiday rental for years to come.
There are several things to consider before you make the purchase.
Read these 7 tips to help you choose the right one.
1. Keep it short
The shorter your domain name, the easier it will be to remember and the less likely it’ll be that someone will misspell it when writing it down, or typing it directly into the browser address bar.
3 words is good, 2 words is great.
Anything more than 3 words and things may become difficult.
2. Keep it simple
Don’t try to be too clever, funny or complex when it comes to deciding on your domain name.
Keep it simple.
This again will limit the possibility of it being spelt wrong, misunderstood or completely forgotten.
For example avoid coming up with domain names such as:
- available365days.com – trying to be cute / clever and mixing both letters and numerals
- rusticaalmeriaespanaapartment.es – mixing Spanish and English languages – too confusing
3. Make it memorable
Try to choose a domain name that sticks in people’s minds.
In part, if you follow our advice and choose a domain that’s short and simple, the likelihood is that it’ll be memorable as well.
But to be certain, try testing it out on close friends and family before purchasing. If they immediately ‘get it’ and don’t have to ask you to spell it out five times, you’re on to a winner.
4. Avoid using hyphens & numbers
Including a hyphen in your domain name means you’ll probably have to spell it when telling people what your website address is.
This will inevitably become tiresome for you, but more importantly it’s unlikely that it’ll be remembered – unless that person is writing it down as you speak.
By including numbers in your domain name, you’ll have to be explicit as to whether the number is a numeral or a word.
Avoid these if at all possible.
5. Make it relevant to your property type
If you’re the proud owner of a cute cottage in the country, why not try to include the word “cottage” in your domain name?
This has two benefits:
- It instantly tells people what your property is.
- It can have SEO benefit because you are including a keyword.
Of course this also works for villas, apartments, chalets, etc.
6. Make it relevant to the location
Taking our previous country cottage example, including your property’s location within the domain name has the same benefits mentioned before, with the added advantage of telling people exactly where it’s located.
For example, owning a cottage with lake views near Keswick may mean you choose the domain name “LakeviewCottageKeswick.co.uk”.
Or if your holiday let already has a name, simply add the location. For example, “VillaRusticaTuscany.com”
Of course, this may take some playing with as your initial ideas may already be taken, which is more likely if you own a property in a particularly touristy area, but it’s worth taking time to come up with a variety of options with these last couple of tips in mind.
7. Select the right extension
Consider where your target market is located and select a worldwide or country specific extension (TLD) to match.
- .com (worldwide)
- .co.uk (UK)
- .fr (France)
- .es (Spain)
- .au (Australia)
If you’re solely targeting people in a specific country, use the extension for that country (ccTLD).
Otherwise if your target market is global you could purchase a global extension (gTLD) such as .com, .net, .org or .info.
To understand whether your target market is country specific or global, take a look at where your bookings come from. If they’re all within the same country, then you may not really need the global domain.
However, if you decide your target market is global, the best gTLD for targeting a global audience is .com followed by .net. For a holiday let website we recommend you stick to .com.
Now let’s go back to our earlier ‘cottage in Keswick’ example:
You know your target market is primarily UK based, therefore you purchase the domain name “LakeviewCottageKeswick.co.uk”.
But given the Lake District is a major UK tourist attraction, you may worry that one of your local competitors could purchase the same domain name, but with the .com extension.
In this case you could purchase the “LakeviewCottageKeswick.com” extension as well as the .co.uk one, then simply redirect the secondary domain to the primary one so that both domains will display your website when typed into the browser’s address bar.
Not all instances require this, but by securing the country specific and global domain names, you cover all bases and protect your brand.
So what about the new TLD’s?
2014 saw the release of new global extensions specific to different niches such as .travel and .holiday.
These could be great options in the future, but they’re not necessarily good options right now for two reasons:
- Potential guests may not be used to the newer extensions, so you may lose direct traffic as a result of them adding one of the more common extensions onto your website name instead, such as .com or.co.uk.
- There’s no evidence yet to suggest that these new domain extensions rank well in search engines.
If you want to secure one of these domains, the best approach is to purchase it and then redirect it to a domain name with a common extension until there’s more understanding of how they are being accepted by the wider public and the search engines.
Now you’ve read these 7 tips …
- Take the time to consider your property, location and the options available to you.
- Try a few domain name ideas out on friends and family for their feedback.
- Check to see if your domain name ideas are available, using a 3rd party provider such as 123-Reg.
- And finally, purchase your preferred domain name and link it to your website.
Don’t go overboard. You don’t need to buy all the different extensions available to you. Just consider .com, country specific such as .co.uk and specialist domains such as .holiday
And one last point, if you decide to change from one domain to another at a later date, make sure to redirect the old domain to the new one so as not to lose any ranking in the search engines. You may still see some short-term losses in your SEO rankings, but providing the changeover is done correctly there shouldn’t be any long-term problems.
Good luck choosing your holiday let domain name!
Let us know how you decided on yours in the comments area below.
Phil Schofield says
As holiday rental portals become more crowded having an independent website where you can add further information, photos etc. is becoming more important.
A few other points to consider;
Avoid domains with lots of hyphens e.g. holiday-let-in-Cornwall.com
Opt for a combination of your location and keyword e.g. Xcottage.co.uk, apartment, villa etc.
You could include your cottage name e.g. rosecottage.co.uk or rosecottagedevon
Choose a .co.uk or .com and register both versions if available.
Make sure you own the domain, not a web designer.
Thanks for your comments Phil. Some good points there, definitely worth considering.
Charles Cawley says
A common error is to use the name of your cottage in the URL. This does not attract traffic. People do not search for Rose Cottage etc.
A better ploy might be to try to use the name of a local town or area if it is still available. For instance, our local town is Leominster. If I were to set up a holiday cottage in this area I would try to use a web site name like http://www.leominstercottages.com or similar. This will have far more search impact that Rose Cottage or similar.
There are arguments for and against this approach, but people do not search for the name of a cottage they have yet to find out about. We work in parallel with people getting their own bookings and encourage this approach to the extent that we offer this type of advice openly; sometime this angers our competitor who feel we are tooling up competitors.
We feel that this is the right way to behave. Keeping unnecessary secrets costs us all in the long run. A name of a web site is not the same as the name of a cottage and they serve different functions; it can be a mistake to fail to note the difference.