How to Maximize and Book Guests with a Stellar Vacation Rental Listing

Apr 25, 2017

We've researched many, many, listings, and we've noticed quite a few vacation rental owners really do not know what they can do to improve their listings. We're here to help. We're sharing 6 of our favorite tips that will help an owner maximize their listing and hook guests with complete and stellar listing descriptions and details. 

1. Stellar Photos

2. Storytelling Descriptions

3. Clear Rates

4. Updated Calendars

5. Concise Policies

6. Suitability

In any vacation rental listing website, whether it by our site, VRBO, Airbnb, etc..., it is necessary to promote your vacation rental in the best light possible. Simply listing your property with generic shopping cart details is not good enough. Competition is increasing and you're going up against every other property listed in your area. Guests are scrolling through tons of listings, you need to make yours stand out. Making your vacation rental stand out above the others is an act of salesmanship but keep in mind, you aren't just selling your vacation rental to potential guests you are selling a complete experience that's better than all the others. An experience that guests have often saved up an entire year or more for. For guests a lot is riding on booking that perfect vacation experience that they dreamed of.

Stellar Photos

Your photos are your first impression and you have only one chance to get it right. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is true. Think of it as your greeting to your guest. 

You don't necessarily have to hire a professional photographer, but you do need a quality camera or cell phone with a quality camera built in. That said, we do highly recommend a professional photographer once you can afford one. It is the difference between getting scrolled over or stopping a guest in their tracks.

Order: The first picture in your array should always be the absolute best. This is the image that is often your thumbnail and needs to be the photo that will lure a traveler in to see more about your home. If the first picture they see is a hallway they will likely move on. A stunning photo can be an inviting living room, balcony with epic views, an enticing backyard pool or even an aerial view showcasing the location. 

Size & Resolution: Photos should be 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 unprofessional. Larger, high-resolution pictures can easily be reduced in size and still retain their high quality. Florida Rental By Owners suggests photo sizes in your listing of no less than 1024 x 768 pixels up to 2000 pixels.

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. Do not upload images that are showing the wrong orientation (ie: sideways).

Light: Images of dark rooms are not appealing and really don't show your home well. They should be light, airy and colorful. Pictures should be taken on sunny days, with the blinds and shades open, the lights on and, where 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.

Staging: Staging your property will make a huge difference to your potential guests. Placing flowers, food, sports equipment, a bottle of wine, etc... will help your guest envision exactly how their vacation can be. You can stage it yourself or ask your photographer for a Professional Stager referral. Ensure that your description clearly states what amenities are included with your vacation rental.

Time Stamps: We've seen pictures with time stamps from 5 to 10 years ago. They are old and with the time stamp, you're suggesting that the advertising the pictures of your home are not up to date, leaving people to wonder what it looks like now. Never use time stamps on images and make sure the photos you use are recent, reflecting how the house looks now.

Description

We've seen rental descriptions 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.

Storytelling: To differentiate yourself from the crowd use a storytelling approach with a lot of keyword rich descriptive words. It helps the guest imagine what they can accomplish at your vacation rental as well as understand what to expect with any extra amenities you may have. Include your own favorite past-times of what you and your family like to do.

Details: The description should highlight several benefits of your home. Think about addressing your vacation rental's: Location, Interior information, Exterior information, and any Extra Amenities or Luxuries that you offer and your competitors don't.

Paragraphs: Keep in mind that people have the attention span of 10 seconds or less while scrolling through properties. Most will avoid reading long paragraphs. A good tip is to keep paragraphs to a maximum of five lines and to the point.

Concise Rates

Too often owners do not think far enough ahead when posting their rates. Travelers are often booking their rentals up to a year and a half ahead of time 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. You can revisit and change your rates as often as you like. Be clear and enter rates for Holiday periods with fees so potential renters get a detailed and concise picture of the price they will pay immediately.

Suitability

If you have restrictions, such as a minimum age for renters, no pets policy etc., be sure it is in your listing to avoid getting inquiries from people who aren't suited for your home. Marketing your property to your target profile will decrease work for you and increase your probability of bookings.

Calendar

It is vitally important that your calendar is up to date. Leaving your calendar blank makes people question if there is something wrong with a vacation rental property. A fuller calendar increases a guests urgency to book. It's very easy to import and sync calendars on Florida Rental By Owners directly from VRBO, etc... Uploading a listing is incredibly easy. If you're listing on multiple sites and your calendars are not all up to date you risk the possibility of accidentally double booking.

Cancellation & Payment Policies

While some sites restrict you to their own limited, cancellation policies option Florida Rental By Owners offers each owner to use their own detailed cancellation and payment policies. Including these policies within the listing helps guests understand exactly what happens with their deposit and payments.

We hope these tips have helped you curate the very best vacation rental listing.

If you would like more information on how to add your property on Florida Rental By Owners, click the  photo below.

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Visit Florida Rental By Owners Website to list your property. Connecting Owners and Travelers, with direct communication, no traveler fees, and no commissions.