10 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Vacation Rental Listing

    Millions of newbie renters enter the foray of vacation renting every year. Arm yourself appropriately and take advantage of the influx of traffic by making updates to your listing. "How much time do these improvements require," you ask? Well, take 5 minutes, and you can refresh your headline or proofread your listing. You have a whole hour, you say? Well, you can probably complete 8 of these things.

    So, what are you waiting for? Prospective renters are coming...

    1) Refresh your headline. (1-5 min.) Change your headline often to fill open dates, attract different types of travelers, and keep the search engines on their toes. List high-impact amenities you provide, give specifics about your location, advertise a deal or special, or mention a popular event in your area. Refreshing your headline is one of the main ways to improve your ranking within search results and entice prospective guests.

    2) Update your calendar. (1-3 min.) Refreshing your calendar lets potential renters know that you're on top of your game and (bonus) boosts your ranking in the HomeAway.com search results. Travelers have specific dates in mind when they are searching for a vacation home, and it can frustrate both them and you if your calendar isn't current. Owners who refresh their calendars often actually appear higher in search results than those who don't. It is probably one of the easiest changes you can make that will likely make a huge impact.


    3) Completely fill out the rental rates table. (10 min.) Your rental rates show up in the summary box on the search results pages. Don't let renters pass over your listing because you don't have your rental rates filled out. Be specific: break your rental rate down by night, by month, and by season. But remember: renters probably don't care whether you carried your sales tax calculation to the 3rd or 4th decimal place.

    4) Choose an eye-catching thumbnail photo.
    (2 min.) On HomeAway.com, your thumbnail photo is an opportunity to visually sell your home on the search results pages. Don't miss out on clicks and inquiries by choosing a lackluster or generic picture. Check out other listings in your area, and try to choose something a bit different from the norm.

    5) Upload the maximum number of photos. Regardless of which website your home is listed on, take advantage of the maximum number of photos you can feature. Photographs are the best way to visually sell your property, so both quantity and quality matter. Enhance your listing by giving it every advantage - eye-catching photos are your best friend.

    6) Write captions for your photos. (1-5 min.) Use photo captions to further describe the features of your home and help renters better visualize it. Use local area keywords or feature non-photographed items — for example, an espresso machine or a video game system. More description will always be appreciated, especially if the location of your hot tub or deck, for example, isn't completely clear from the photograph.


    7) Proofread all of the text in your listing for spelling errors and typos. (5 min.) Don't let spelling errors and typos undermine the professionalism you've worked so hard to build. Utilize the tools available to you: use spell-check in your Internet Browser (i.e. Firefox provides a free plug-in), or copy and paste your text into Microsoft Word. Sometimes just reading through your listing again can help you catch an error that you didn't notice previously.

    8) Solicit reviews from past guests. (15 min.) Reviews from past guests give your property listing more credibility and give potential renters peace of mind when renting your home via the Internet. If a past guest e-mailed you glowing comments about your home, go back to your e-mail and post the comments. Also, send a quick e-mail to past renters asking for a review and you'll be surprised by how many are happy to oblige.

    9) Add specific location details. (5-15 min.) Use the “Location” section to describe your home's location in relation to area landmarks and attractions, as well as to denote driving distances from major cities. Specifics can give prospective guests insight into advantages about your location you may not have even considered. You can be detailed, and oftentimes even more helpful, by pointing out favorite escapes or restaurants without ever getting uncomfortably close to your street address. You can learn more about adding an Insiders Guide for your location here.

    10) Move your bedroom and amenity information to the top of your property description. (15 min.) Once the traveler has gotten to your page, they have already searched for your location or decided they like it. Since they have successfully navigated to your listing, it's up to you to sell them on your home — not your location. Tell potential renters about the bed setup in each of your rooms at the beginning of your description. Describe amenities you offer and other competitive advantages your home has that others may not.

                                            describe your home

    Whether you have 5 minutes or 60, spending the time to update your listing won't go unnoticed. Whether you craft a compelling and detail-packed headline, or you choose the perfect thumbnail photo, every little bit helps when going the extra mile to attract prospective guests. In the end, a few quick fixes can actually go a long way.


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