5 Minutes to a Better Vacation Rental Listing

Astrid LindstromLeave a Comment

Every day, we talk to dozens of vacation rental owners who are wondering why they struggle to rank higher on major vacation rental listing sites like VRBO, Airbnb, and FlipKey.

The answer? Usually, it’s the listing.

The quality of your vacation rental listing has an enormous impact on how well you’ll rank on any of the major listing sites, which directly affects the number of bookings you’re able to make. Want to start making more bookings? We’ve got 5 suggestions for 5-minute fixes.

5-Minute Fix #1: Make Your Headline More Helpful

You can search listing sites by the number of guests you’ll have traveling, but most people browsing the results have a more specific house layout in mind. If you’re traveling with 12 people, for example, you might already know that you need at least 5 bedrooms because of the makeup of your party.

But if your headline doesn’t tell them whether your property has 5 bedrooms, they have to click through on every listing to find out if “sleeps 12” means everyone’s on couches and pull-out beds.

Help them out by including the number of bedrooms in your listing headline, and they’ll be more likely to click on your property instead of the one right next to it. That property might have 5 bedrooms too, but since you let them know that up front, yours is the one that’ll get the first click.

You can save space in your headline by simply abbreviating this useful information to “5BR”. Those three little characters will get your property viewed more frequently.

5-Minute Fix #2: Use “You” Not “I”

Potential guests want to imagine themselves in your property, and talking about your own experiences in your vacation rental tells them you’re thinking about what you like, not what they might want.

We see listings every day that start with “I can’t wait to welcome you to my beautiful home in Palm Springs!” or “We love visiting this property!” Switch those sentences up to talk about the guests instead and they’ll start imagining themselves in your property.

“You’ll love staying at this beautiful Palm Springs home,” or “You’ll want to visit this property again and again,” are better ways to encourage your would-be guests to start imagining themselves in the property.

It’s a simple fix: just change “I” statements to “you” statements, and make it all about your guests.

5-Minute Fix #3: Update Your Amenities

Travelers usually start their search by looking for the basics: does it sleep the right number of people? Is it in the right location?

From there, their choice often boils down to the amenities.

If your property is identical to your neighbor’s, but he has an ironing board (oh, that’ll be useful), a coffee maker (that’ll save us from having buy coffee in the mornings) and a shower/tub combination (the kids do prefer baths . . .) listed in his amenities, he might get the booking instead of you.

You might have all of those same amenities! But if you haven’t updated them in your listing, you might be missing out on bookings. Make sure your amenities are up-to-date and accurate so that travelers have all the information they need to know your property’s a perfect fit for their needs.

5-Minute Fix #4: Upload More Photos

Quality photos are a good long-term investment, since visitors to your listing will want to be able to imagine themselves in your property – but today we’re talking about quick fixes, and this one’s easy.

Every listing site prioritizes properties with more photos, and the current recommended minimum is 24 images. Properties that have fewer than 24 photos will drop a bit in the rankings automatically, since the listing sites know travelers like to see lots of photos.

Great professional images are a good idea when you have more time, but in just 5 minutes you can upload a few more images and stop getting penalized for having too few.

5-Minute Fix #5: Keep Your Photos People-Free

When visitors are browsing your listing, they want to be able to imagine themselves in your property. Just like when they read the description, if they’re primed with images of you or other guests in your property, they’re not going to feel like they can make this vacation their own.

For this reason, it’s best not to include images of your property that show people in them – even if they’re having a wonderful time enjoying your featured deck or gathered around your gorgeous fireplace.

(We’ve also seen more than a few photos with the image of a person reflected in the mirror or the window. Watch out for that when you’re taking photos!)

Want More Tips? Get a Free Listing Assessment

Our free listing assessment gives you all the information you need to get a high-ranking listing on the major listing sites. We’ve tried and tested all these strategies on the properties we manage for our owners, so we know they work!

Get your free listing assessment here, and start getting more views, more bookings, and happier guests!

How do we know so much about creating quality listings? We market our owners’ properties on all the major listing sites – VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, FlipKey, and TripAdvisor – and we’ve gotten very good at delivering just what your potential guests want to see. Learn more about how we make it easy to market, book, and manage your vacation rental here.