Vacation Rentals 101: Building A Great Listing
January 30, 2012
A vital part of any property owner's or manager's marketing strategy is the listing he or she builds on a holiday rental website. It is the first line of communication with travelers, so building a listing that stands out and makes a lasting impression is the name of the game. Your listing is your "elevator pitch" to potential renters, so make it count. You don't have to be a literary genius to build an effective and engaging listing, but you should stick to certain standards. By choosing high-quality images and providing thoughtful and thorough descriptions, you can ensure your listing does its job.
- Write an attention-grabbing title: the title can make your listing stand out and compel visitors to click through. The first few lines of your listing should have equal impact: this is when visitors will decide to keep on reading or move on to another listing.
- Be brief: stick to short sentences or lists as opposed to prolonged paragraphs. By crafting your listing to be easy on the eye, you'll reduce the risk that potential renters lose interest. Try to be super informative in as few words as possible. It might take a few tries to come up with sentences that pack a big punch, but after a few rough drafts you'll have a seriously slick and user-friendly listing.
- Sell your surroundings: provide a bit of information about the vicinity of the property, such as attractions, activities, and climate. Keep in mind that travelers often choose their accommodation based on a destination.
- Highlight the highlights: describe in detail what makes your property unique. Write about features and amenities guests can anticipate, i.e., upgraded kitchen and/or bathrooms, pet-friendliness, private pool, sports/recreational equipment...
- Tell a visual story: post as many photos as possible, and make sure they provide an accurate portrayal of your property. Moreover, it's not just about quantity of photos, but quality is of utmost importance: it is best to post professional looking, good-sized, hi-resolution photos, not blurry thumbnails. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Spell-check: travelers often interpret spelling and grammatical errors as a red-flag that the property owner is disorganized or lazy! Doing a vigilant spell check is a smpile ayw ot aiovd htis stiuatoin.
- Paint a false picture: when building your listing, do not produce a work of fiction. If you're dishonest you will receive negative reviews and complaints from guests claiming that you falsely advertised your property and gave inaccurate and misleading information.
- Edit your photographs: using editing tools to erase imperfections, such as peeling or cracking paint, is another big no. Photos are a means of virtually transporting potential guests to your home, so the images you upload must be true to life. There is a difference between professional and pretend.
- Leave out details: provide as much information as possible, such as number of bedrooms, occupancy, restrictions, and amenities. If you provide more information, you'll receive higher quality inquiries: travelers who inquire after reading your detailed listing are probably intent on making a booking.
- Spam: there is usually a designated place on a listing to display personal information (i.e. contact info and separate URL). Don't try to stick in personal information into the description if this is explicitly against policy - if you spam you may lose your listing and hence lose access to untapped travelers.