11 Ways to Ensure An Eye-Catching Vacation Rental Listing
You’ve bought a property in an excellent location near a major vacation attraction and now you want to rent it out. Here are 11 tips on how you can make your vacation rental listing stand out from the crowd.
#1. Begin with a hook
The first 2 sentences of your listing are the most important. They are your opportunity to engage with potential guests and interest them in your property. Like a fisherman, you need to hook your prey before you can begin to reel them in.
Your opening paragraph needs to contain important information about your property without boring your reader or putting them off. But focus more on hooking than informing to begin with. The following 3 tips deal with specific kinds of an opening hook.
#2. AP introductions
There’s a popular trick used by advertisers and journalists called AP writing. In AP writing, you simply begin with a statement designed to gain agreement from your target audience (A). Following this, you make a promise (P). It’s easier to demonstrate this with an example. Say you’ve bought a villa in Orlando and you’re aiming at families who want to spend time in Disneyland.
A: “Everyone wants to stay somewhere close to Disneyland.” This Agreement statement is specifically aimed at the target audience. You’re mainly aiming your listing at families who want to go to Disneyland, so you’re making a statement that they will agree with. You’re not interested in people who disagree with your statement because they’re unlikely to become guests in your property.
P: “This spacious villa is conveniently located for both Walt Disney World and Sea World Orlando.” This Promise statement makes a promise that is designed to appeal to the target audience. In this case, the statement highlights 2 extra features of this property: 1) it is convenient for 2 major theme parks rather than just one and 2) it is large enough to host a large family group (spacious).
So, the listing will begin:
“Everyone wants to stay somewhere close to Disneyland. This spacious villa is conveniently located for both Walt Disney World and Sea World Orlando.”
#3. Begin with a question
Another way to hook potential guests is to begin with a question that would attract the kind of guests you’re aiming at. For example, imagine that you own a cabin in the Great Lakes that is suitable for guests with pets.
“Do you want to bring your dog on your family vacation in the Great Lakes? This well-equipped cabin deep in the Hiawatha National Forest is pet-friendly and situated close to several trailheads for scenic, dog-friendly hikes.”
Note that the opening question is similar to the A in AP writing. Your target guests are those who will answer “yes” to the question. The second sentence is a P sentence highlighting what your cabin offers for your target customers.
#4. Begin with humor
Humor is tricky. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it can put off potential guests. Humor can be useful to highlight the features of your vacation listing but should only be attempted if you are a confident writer and capable of avoiding offense.
For example, if you own a vacation rental property in or near Death Valley, you may want to highlight the fact that it’s a super place to visit during winter because it’s warmer there than elsewhere. However, when attempting to attract guests for summer when the weather is too hot to be comfortable, you might use humor to attract potential customers who are looking for something different.
“Are you tough enough to face Death Valley? If you think you’ve got what it takes to survive in the most inhospitable environment on Earth, head on down to Death Valley this August and take advantage of our summer off-peak rental rates.”
Note that this opening is specific to the time of year. You’re using it to highlight cheaper rates offered during the off-peak season. This is the kind of listing you might use after your property is fully-booked for winter and you’re aiming for off-season guests.
#5. Be positive
When writing your listing, it’s important to highlight the positives. Brainstorm your property’s features and write them all down. Then ensure that you phrase every feature in a positive light.
Just like a realtor says, your property isn’t small, it’s cozy. Your cabin isn’t basic, it’s rustic and back to nature. Your rental villa isn’t remote from the attractions, it’s located in a peaceful haven.
#6. Be truthful
While being positive, you must remain truthful. Don’t claim your villa is in a peaceful haven if it neighbors a large canning factory that operates 24-hours. If you mislead potential guests, you’ll soon find yourself with negative reviews and poor ratings.
#7. Be succinct and specific
You’ll often read listings that are so generic they could be applied to any vacation property in the world. For example, “This beautiful villa is located in a scenic position close to all the attractions and local amenities.”
This is just a string of wasted words that mean little to the reader. You need to be more specific without boring the reader. Why is your villa beautiful? What’s so good about its position? What attractions?
Try to imagine what kind of guest would be most interested in your property. For example, if you own an old house in Oxfordshire, your property will be of particular interest to guests who love history. So, focus on the historic features of your property and its neighborhood.
“This 17th-century thatched cottage deep in the Cotswolds is situated close to the dreaming spires of Oxford and only a 5-minute drive from historic Blenheim Palace.”
#8. What’s unique about your vacation rental?
There may be something unique about your property. If so, make sure you mention this somewhere in your listing.
“Do you want to live like a king? The King’s Arms Guesthouse is the surviving wing of a 14th-century manor house where King Henry VIII stayed in 1544.”
“This vacation rental is a prime example of Queensland architecture. Early immigrants wanted to live in homes just like those they left behind in England, but the tropical heat made this difficult. So, they built familiar designs raised high above the ground.”
#9. List all the features
Ensure that your listing includes all the features in your property that will appeal to potential guests. Not every vacation rental includes a washing machine or a swimming pool. Even if the feature is something standard to its location, the potential guest may be unaware that most houses in your area boat a wraparound porch or a hot tub in the yard.
List the features at the bottom of your listing after your initial paragraphs highlighting the most interesting facts about your vacation property. Many property owners at beach or lake resorts will provide items such as stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and beach chairs for guests. If you do, mention this in your listing.
#10. Check other people’s listings
Check out other vacation properties listed in your area and ensure that you’re not missing out on guests because you don’t provide something that every other landlord does. You may own the perfect beach property with a modern kitchen and bathroom, but your rental is the only one on the street that doesn’t provide beach chairs and umbrellas. Don’t stand out from the crowd for the wrong reason.
#11. Consider going pet-friendly
More and more vacation rentals and tour organizations are becoming pet-friendly. This isn’t an option for every vacation property owner. If your cottage is packed with priceless antiques, you won’t want the furniture scratched by a cat or the Persian rug pooped on by a pooch. But if you believe your property is rugged enough, consider highlighting the fact.