Improving Your Vacation Rental Listings

Dec 11, 2016

As we've looked at many listings, we've noticed quite a few things that vacation rental owners can do to improve their listings, whether they be here in our site or on another listing site, such as VRBO. So, we are sharing some tips that you might find helpful.

In any vacation rental listing website, whether it by our site, VRBO or any other site, it is necessary to promote your vacation rental in the best light. Simply listing your property is not good enough as you have to compete against every other property listed in your area. Making your vacation rental stand out above the others is an act of salesmanship and you have to approach it in that manner. You are selling your vacation rental to potential guests as being better than all the others.

Images

The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is true. The first thing people will see are the pictures you post. It is the only first impression you will make on people and you have only one chance to get it right.

You do not necessarily have to hire a professional photographer, but you do need a quality camera or cell phone with a quality camera built in. If you don't own one you could always borrow one from a friend rather than buying one.

Order: The first picture in your array should always be the absolute best. This is the image that will lure them in to see more about your home. If the first picture they see is of a hallway, that will not draw them in and they will simply move on.

Size & Resolution: Pictures should be large, high quality, and high resolution. Using small pictures that have to be enlarged by the website will show them as blurred and distorted. It is impossible to enlarge a small image without it looking like garbage. Larger, high resolution pictures can easily be reduced in size by the sites and still retain their high quality.

Orientation: It is important that all of the images you use are the same size and orientation. Too often pictures go back and forth between landscape and portrait, and large or small images, so some images will end up smaller than others. Having images all the same size will make a consistent presentation.

Light: Images of dark rooms are not appealing and really don't show the best side of your house. They should be light and airy. Pictures should be taken on sunny days, with the blinds and shades open, the lights on and, if necessary with a flash. If you are taking exterior pictures be sure to move all vehicles from the driveway and make sure everything is in its proper place.

Time Stamps: We've seen pictures with time stamps from 5 to 10 years ago. They are old and with the time stamp, you are just advertising the fact that you have no recent pictures of your home, leaving people to wonder what it looks like now. Never use time stamps on images and make sure the pictures you use are recent and reflect how the house looks now.

Description

We've seen rental description with just a couple paragraphs stating the number of bedrooms, baths etc., without really detailing the benefits of the house or location with creative descriptions. We've also seen long, drawn out paragraphs that seem never ending. Remember, you have to sell your property to potential renters and if your neighbor is doing a better job at it, they will get the guests.

Details: The description should highlight the benefits of your home over others in the area and should include details about what you have that others don't.

Paragraphs: Keep in mind that people have the attention span of a gnat and will often gloss over long paragraphs. So keep paragraphs to a maximum of five lines.

Rates

Too often owners do not think far enough ahead when posting their rates. You just remember that people are often booking their rentals up to a year ahead of time, especially in high demand areas. So, if it is December and you only have rates posted up until April of the following year, Visitors will not see what your summer rates are and often just move on to look at another property. A good rule of thumb is to have your rates posted in July for the entire following year.

Calendar

It is vitally important that you calendar is up to date. Leaving your calendar blank makes people wonder if all those dates are really open or if you just didn't bother to update your calendar. Also, if you are listing on multiple sites and your calendars are not all up to date you risk the possibility of accidentally double booking.

Cancellation Policy

While some sites restrict you to their limited policy options, if a site allows you should have a detailed cancellation policy. Simply saying policy will be given when booking the property makes people wary about booking.

Suitability

If you have restrictions, such as a minimum age for renters, no pets allowed etc., be sure it is in your listing to avoid getting inquiries from people who aren't suited for your home.

We hope these tips help you to improve your listings with us and other sites.