A listing can make or break the number of bookings you get for your vacation rental. Most future guests are already motivated to go to that location, and they want your vacation rental to excite them. They want a place that appeals to their imagination and makes them feel like they’re already there. They want to see that the vacation rental provides them with lots of value.
Most of all, they want to feel like the vacation rental is calling their name. You want to live up to your target guest’s ideal scenarios. You don’t want to turn them off with a listing that has clunky formatting, generic adjectives, and confusing descriptions. Your vacation rental listing should attract their eyes, engage their senses, and convert them into guests. As a leasing agent, I learned from the best on how to write a rental listing.
Answering these five questions below will help you write a vacation rental listing that stands out:
Who is your target guest?
Your vacation rental listing’s main message should focus on communicating to your target guest. Your listing should convey that your vacation rental is the ANSWER to what they’ve been looking for. If you don’t already know who your target guest is, you can look at your past guests, your competitors’ reviews and listings, and online forums. Answer these questions to help you:
- What is your target guest’s demographic information? Examples: age, sex, occupation, geographic origins, and family status.
- What is your target guest’s motivation for visiting this location? Examples: adventure, family-friendly, or independence.
- What would your target guest like to see and do in this location?
Answering these questions will help you build a profile of your target guest. When you have this profile, you can then create a listing like you’re speaking to that person. You want to convey that your vacation rental is the solution to your target guest’s desires.
What makes your vacation rental different from your competitors?
Once you know who your target guests are, you want to position your vacation rental as the best place for them. What amenities do you have for your target guest that your competition doesn’t? Take a look at what your competition is doing and see how you can offer amenities that they don’t have. If you’re one of the few places that allow pets, make sure your listing’s description and pictures show how your vacation rental caters to them.
Maybe your vacation rental is nearby some parks and offers kid-friendly activities. Maybe you have available home office space and gym equipment. Maybe your vacation rental is just a few steps to the beach. Your listing should convey that your amenities benefit your target guest and provide value.
Does your listing’s title maximize the space to attract your target guests?
Your title should use all of the available allotted space without going over the allowed character count. You also want to make sure that mobile devices don’t cut off your title. Use common abbreviations and characters to maximize the space, such as +, w/, &, @. As a leasing agent, I often used fun characters like a heart or a star to catch more attention.
- Avoid using capital letters — it sounds like you’re yelling at them.
- Avoid neighborhood names — your target guest may not be familiar with them.
- Avoid mentioning the number of bedrooms and bathrooms — they already use filters to narrow down their bedroom/bathroom search, so don’t use your title’s real estate to mention them again.
Highlight what you offer that ATTRACTS your target guests and makes you stand out among the competition. For example, if your target guests are looking for a place that is perfect for couples: ♥Master BR Suite w/fireplace + 5 Steps to Beach♥
Does your summary tell a story and appeal to the senses?
Your summary isn’t the place for super long descriptions and listing all of your rules. Your target guests want to imagine themselves in the vacation rental and experience everything it has to offer. Your summary should be concise and paint a picture of why this specific vacation rental is ideal for them. Pepper in some unique amenities while telling a story. You could say something like “Greet the day with heated flooring and mountain views on a private patio.”
If your vacation rental has additional activities to do in the home or nearby, add that into the summary for your ideal guests (if appropriate). After the short summary, provide a bulleted list with beneficial amenities that talks about extra things like parking, outdoor spaces, the neighborhood, and unique services you offer. If your vacation rental has any glaring issues that previous guests mention in reviews, your listing should address these obstacles to manage their expectations.
Are your photos showing your vacation rental in the best light?
Your photos add to the overall imagination of your ideal guest. After all, they’re worth a thousand words. Your pictures should make your target guest feel like they’re already in your vacation rental. Make sure your cover photo stands out among your competition with colors that pop. You also want to place your photos in the listing from the most-used room to the least-used room. If the outdoor spaces are a selling point, make sure to add those too.
Add captions to every photo so viewers know what they’re looking at. If you don’t already, you should have professional photos. A professional photographer that specializes in real estate is worth the investment, and the photos will help you get more bookings. Professional photographers know how to stage the rooms and edit the photos. They also have special photography tools and equipment to widen the angles and bring out the best lighting. You can also use the photos on your social media channels, website, and blog to promote your vacation rental listings.
Optimized listings earn you more $$$
Now you have some powerful tips in your toolkit on how to write a vacation rental listing. You’ll want to make sure that you have an optimized listing that targets your ideal guests on every platform and website. This is one of the best ways to maximize your profit potential. It’s also a good idea to get a fresh set of eyes on your listing to provide tips and feedback. The devil is in the details. If you’d like a newly written listing, but lack the time, get in touch with me! I write engaging vacation rental listings that turn onlookers into guests. You can see my available services or schedule a free consultation.