A great vacation rental listing tells a story. It’s more than just an advert – it lets potential guests imagine themselves in your property. A good listing not only lets guests know immediately if a property meets their requirements, it persuades them that this property presents an unmissable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for that dream vacation they’ve always wanted. Your listing doesn’t just advertise your property – it sells a potential lifelong memory.
As you might have noticed, the internet has become kind of a big deal nowadays. It’s affected every area of our lives, from how we consume media to how we make purchases, to how we argue about which cat gif best summarises the hot topics of the day. And the vacation rental industry hasn’t escaped the digital shift – face-to-face travel agents are fast becoming a thing of the past, as more and more guests ditch the traditional model in favour of simple, quick and secure online vacation bookings.
With more properties than ever before available online, how do you make your vacation rental listing stand out from the crowd? In an age where literally millions of dream destinations are just a couple of clicks away, how do you persuade guests that your property is the one they should book?
Read on for 5 Top Tips on creating the perfect vacation rental listing:
1) Arrange great photos (with informative labels!) in an order that makes sense
We’ve written again and again and again about why great photos are so important for your vacation rental listing. At the risk of repeating ourselves, photos are the number one factor which determines whether your property even gets clicked on by a guest.
This means that you absolutely must choose an eye-catching “Cover Photo” for your listing. Your Cover Photo is the main image that will be displayed on Sales Channels results pages, and in many cases it will be the only image visible. This means it needs to be high quality and instantly show your guests something that makes them want to know more.
However, a single great cover photo isn’t enough. We know from years of experience and mountains of data that there is a clear relationship between the number of (good quality) photos a listing has and its likelihood of receiving bookings. That’s why the listing builder in Your.Rentals will tell you if you need to add more photos or improve their quality so that you can create the best listing possible. A higher number of photos helps guests make an informed decision about your property, and perhaps more importantly, helps them more easily picture themselves spending their vacation at your place.
Your photos also need to make sense. A bunch of photos in no coherent order don’t “tell a story” to your guests. Arrange them using some sort of logical sequence. Maybe that’s a journey from the front door through the house, stopping at each room as you go. Or maybe you want to arrange your photos by category – first the bedrooms, then the living spaces, then the kitchen for example. Perhaps you’ve got an eye for the artistic, and you decide to arrange your images by colour scheme. It might not be the most informative way of showing your property, but your guests will find the experience of viewing the photos more pleasant.
Regardless, your guests need to know exactly what they’re looking at when they view your vacation rental listing. That means making sure all photos are correctly labelled – if a guest doesn’t know whether they’re looking at a bedroom or a living area they will struggle to picture themselves standing there. And if they can’t picture themselves in your property, you’ve already lost their booking.
2) Specify your Facilities & Amenities thoroughly
Once your (would-be) guests have clicked on your listing thanks to your irresistible cover photo, you need to actually sell them on your property. Guests will have some sort of criteria in mind when they’re looking for a property, so you need to let them know right away whether your property meets their needs. Some of these criteria are absolute must-haves for some guests (a skiing chalet with no central heating is likely to be a deal-breaker for many!), whereas others will be seen as a bonus that may differentiate your property from others.
You never know what a particular guest will be looking for in their dream vacation rental listing, so you should be as thorough as possible when selecting your facilities and amenities.
Your.Rentals allows you to not only indicate the rooms in your property, but also what they contain. You can specify your furniture, your kitchen appliances, your entertainment options, what kind of scenic view your guests can expect and many other options. Guests will then be able to filter by these on supported sales channels so they can find the property that best suits their needs. The more facilities and amenities you can provide (and just as importantly, the more you can advertise) to your guests, the better chance you have of securing their booking.
3) Add well written descriptions in multiple languages
So your potential guests have been drawn in by your beautiful photos and discovered that your facilities and amenities tick all their boxes. Now you have their attention, and they’re prepared to read your more detailed description. But oh no! It’s riddled with spelling errors, contains out of date content (recently renovated in 2009??) and lacks clear information to answer any lingering questions they might still have. Another booking lost.
Your description is your opportunity to really sell your property without the standard restrictions imposed by the checkboxes and forms used to create the rest of your vacation rental listing. You can share your personality with your guests, and you can add information that just isn’t available elsewhere in the listing, such as how convenient your property is for those visiting a local event, or unique features that need to be described to be understood. It’s important that your description is descriptive. It needs to contain plenty of adjectives to describe your property in detail, and it should tell a story. This means that, as we’ve already said, your guests need to be able to picture themselves in your property. Is it “spacious” or “cosy”? Is it in a “central” or “peaceful” location? Is it “perfect for families” or a “honeymoon retreat”? Your word choice matters.
You also need to make sure you use your description to answer any potential questions or concerns your guests might have. You’ve said that pets are allowed – but what kind? How many? You’ve specified that you have some disabled access – is it a stairlift or a ramp or something else? Is the whole property accessible or are there some areas that a wheelchair user couldn’t reach alone?
Not only does your description need to be well-written, it needs to be well-written in multiple languages. That probably sounds incredibly daunting, but it’s the reality in today’s global market. It’s never been easier for guests to book properties on the other side of the world, and they expect to be able to do so in their own language. If you use Your.Rentals to advertise your property we’ll automatically translate your description into all supported languages on every sales channel.
However, we really recommend adding your own description in your target languages. Not only is this likely to be more accurate than an automatic translation, but you can tweak your description to suit certain markets. Perhaps you find that your Spanish speaking guests are often interested in the museums nearby, but German visitors are all about the sports facilities available. You can emphasise the key features of your property to capitalise on the unique demand each market presents.
There are plenty of services out there that provide professional translations, so if you’re serious about advertising globally this is a worthwhile investment.
4) Set detailed (and sensible) seasonal pricing
Seasonal pricing is another of our favourite topics. We’ve previously explained why it’s so important to set seasonal rates and we’ve written 5 easy steps to setting your seasonal pricing strategy. Still, it’s worth repeating how much influence pricing has on your guest’s booking decision. Your standard rate has to make sense of course, but you should also consider how to vary your pricing in times of lower or higher demand. At Your.Rentals we call these variations from your basic rate “seasons”. The more seasons you have, the better the performance you’ll see from your vacation rental listings (provided of course your pricing strategy is effective).
5) Be flexible in your rules – or you won’t rank in search results
Gone are the days when guests travelled exclusively on Saturdays and stayed for a week. Especially given the rise in weekend getaways and mini-breaks, travellers not only require flexibility on check-in days, they demand it. If you only allow check-in on one or two days of the week, you will miss out on every potential guest whose flight route doesn’t fit your schedule. In practical terms, this means that everyone searching for particular dates on sales channels or online travel agents will never even see your vacation rental listing. It might be the perfect property for them, but they’ll never know that because it won’t show in their search results.
Similarly, you need to be mindful of your requirements regarding length of stay. A minimum stay of a week might make sense for certain properties, particularly if you’re in an area where demand outweighs supply. But this kind of rigidity can mean that interested guests are forced to look elsewhere for a property that can more be more accommodating. By setting sensible requirements for things like check-in day, length of stay and maximum guests you’ll be more likely to have your listing appear in search results and thus enable you to tell your story to travellers.
The perfect vacation rental listing is one that instantly catches the eye on rentals websites, lets interested travellers know right away if it meets their requirements, and then sells them on the dream vacation your property can offer. It must be priced sensibly and the more flexible your booking rules the more likely your listing is to appear in search results.
With Your.Rentals‘ powerful listing builder tools, you can make sure that your advert looks stunning on multiple sales channels without needing to sign up to different sites.