We understand everyone is busy and that you have a life outside of your vacation rental business. Just remember that owners who respond within the first three hours of receiving an inquiry are about 60% more likely to receive the booking than those who wait 24 hours or more. When travelers are excited about booking their vacation, the last thing they want to do is wait around for an answer (unless they're really into puzzles).
2. Your pictures look like they were taken in 1985 using a Polaroid camera.
Even photos from 5 years ago may not appear in the best form on today's jumbo LCD monitors, so it's best to take new photos every year or two using a high-resolution digital camera. Besides, don't you want to show off all of the improvements you've made?
3. Your calendar is completely blank or hasn't been updated in six months, so they figure you've probably left on a mission to Mars.
An up-to-date calendar shows the traveler that you are an active owner that is committed to your vacation rental business. Besides, an up-to-date calendar will help keep you organized even when you're away from the computer. Think of it this way: You can still respond to travelers from the road (or from Mars, if you have really good reception) and tell them, with confidence, to simply check your very accurate and current calendar for available dates.
4. You could enter your listing description into a haiku contest.
Writing descriptions is tough. We've all sat down to create a new listing and had complete writer's block. Luckily, you can always go back in and add to your descriptions. Be sure to make the most of all the space available to you, and describe the features of your home that travelers care about most. If you're not sure what that means, just think about the questions you receive all the time – how close is the beach, what size are the beds, do you have a view, etc.
5. Your home is one step up from a highway rest stop and doesn't even have a coffee pot...or at least that's what the traveler infers from your listing.
Travelers tend to take the descriptions in your listings at face value. That is why it's vital to detail every amenity included in your home, even if you think it's a given. If you don't think you can fit all of this information in your property description, take advantage of the amenities section and other free text portions of your listing.
6. You don't show a photo of your third bedroom, so it must not exist.
Some travelers read more into the photo that you don't display than the ones that you do. That's why it's important to have a photo of each room of your home (living room, kitchen, dining area, and each bedroom), as well as the exterior of your home, building, or complex and the view from your home. The one exception to this rule: bathroom photos. Unless you're bathroom is spectacular, you probably shouldn't use a valuable photo slot to show a picture of your tub and toilet.
7. Your listing asks the traveler to “Call for Rates.”
Guess what? They ain't callin'. Travelers are unlikely to call when they can obtain this information simply by clicking on other listings that display clear and specific rates.
8. You don’t have a rental contract and you collect payment via money order, so you must be the crown prince of an African country trying to make a quick buck.
Without using a rental agreement and safe payment methods, guests may not know what they’re really paying for and may not be comfortable forking over money to a complete stranger. Boost your guests' confidence and add to the professionalism and credibility of your business by using contracts and accepting safe and secure methods of payment.
9. You don't have any reviews or testimonials from past guests; therefore, your home must be a hovel.
You know better than anyone that your guests love your home, but it's a bit harder to convince prospective guests when these testimonials don't come directly from the horse's mouth. Encourage travelers to submit reviews by sending a friendly follow-up e-mail after their stay with a link to your online guestbook.
10. You don't clearly describe where your home is located; thus, your property must be: a) nowhere near the attractions, b) right in the middle of the seediest part of town, c) next door to a dance club, or d) all of the above.
Providing details about your home's location will not only help to convince travelers that you're not located in the red light district, but will also help them plan their trip and convince them why they should book your home.
© Copyright HomeAway, Inc. 2009