Unless you live in a more remote area, vacation rental listings are plentiful these days. In fact, both Airbnb and HomeAway have more than one million listings active at a time. Getting noticed by potential guests can be quite a challenge, and your Airbnb listing and associated information must not only be clear but also stand out from the crowd to be effective. Here are some tips to help.
1. Make Your Headline Work
Just like a great headline draws your attention to a newspaper or magazine article or a great online blog, you want your Airbnb listing headline to summarize why a guest should choose your rental over another.
First, be sure that your headline adheres to the character guidelines and limits of your listing site. Second, summarize the type of vacation experience your guests can expect at your property. If you can incorporate specifics about your location as well as unique amenities, all the better.
2. Use Professional Photography
Nothing tells a story better than great photography. Be sure you capture the beauty and appeal of your property with accurate pictures taken both inside and outside. Include details about the photos themselves, including the experiences your guests can have.
If you can afford a professional photographer, it is well worth the investment in the long run. If you will take the pictures yourself, try to use a wide-angle lens as well as natural light wherever possible. Your goal is to make your rental look appealing, warm and welcoming through the pictures you post.
3. Write a Succinct and Appealing Description
Remember that your description is your opportunity to tell a story or paint a picture of an ideal vacation spot for your potential guests. Although you don't want it to be too long, be sure to cover all the important facets of your property.
If you're trying to attract a certain type of guest, think about what they are looking for in a vacation rental and describe how your place fits the bill. For example, romantic ambiance, a lakefront view or a hot tub may be great to attract couples looking for a getaway. However, highlighting extra sleeping areas, baby and child amenities, and a nearby park can be a draw for families.
Be sure to use subhead or bullet points to break up your text and make it easy to quickly scan and read. You want to communicate as much information about your property in a short amount of space.
4. Adjust Prices Accordingly
Besides location, price may be one of the top decision points for most guests looking for a rental. Be sure your property is priced competitively against others in the area as well as against alternative lodging such as bed and breakfast spots and comparable hotels. In addition, you may want to adjust your prices during peak and slow seasons to maximize your returns and scale to the current level of supply and demand in your area.
5. Solicit Feedback and Reviews
If you've managed to get your guests to stay on your property listing for a few minutes, the number and quality of reviews will play a big role in securing the final booking. Be sure to ask guests after each visit to leave a review for you, and do them the same courtesy. If you've delivered a great experience, it shouldn't be hard to accumulate top reviews in a short time. If you have some negative reviews, be sure to respond empathetically and do your best to right any wrongs.
6. Keep Everything Up-To-Date
Remember that your potential guests are making vacation and travel based on your listing page. If you can keep all your information as close to real-time as possible, you'll be much more attractive to potential customers.
* Calendar. This is especially important as potential guests hate going through the decision-making process only to find that your rental is already booked and that your calendar is simply behind. Every time you secure a booking or have a cancellation, update your calendar.
* Amenities. Be sure you review your amenities list on your sites regularly. If you add something like a hot tub or extra bedding options and don't update this on your amenity list, you can be losing potential bookings. If something is not working or suddenly unavailable, be sure to take it off your amenities list so your guests are not disappointed when they arrive. In addition, sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway sometimes add things to their amenities list so you'll want to make sure you check any new boxes that apply.
* Event and Seasonal Changes. To increase interest in your property, you may want to swap out your headlines, photos and sections of your description to highlight the current season or even a big local event. This may increase your ranking on searches and will certainly be more appealing to guests looking for a particular type of vacation. For instance, photos of guests cuddling by a fire and snow-covered properties may just go by the wayside if a guest is looking for a beach vacation. Perhaps your property offers both; be sure you show the advantages of the current season.
7. Make Booking Easy
Once a customer has made the mental decision to go with your property, make sure booking is simple and quick. Both Airbnb and HomeAway offer instant booking options; take advantage. In addition, be sure to follow-up with additional details quickly. An automated response is fine immediately, but if you can also send a personal e-mail with additional information and an offer to answer follow-up questions, you'll definitely set your guest up for a positive start to a great vacation experience.