Checklist for building the perfect HomeAway listing

    Here's a guide to building a remarkable listing from top to bottom on HomeAway. How many of these boxes can you check for your listing?




    Your headline might be the single most important bit of text in your listing, so it's critical that yours is not just good, but GREAT.


    A 5-Star headline:


    Uses maximum characters available
    Conveys the competitive advantage of the home

    Describes property type (ex. condo, townhome, villa, cabin)
    Features availability or open dates (ex. Aug 16-23 open)

    Features discounts or special offers (ex. free nights, reduced rates)
    Includes non-repetitive location info (more specific than the city you're classified under)

    Uses consistent capitalization and punctuation

    Describes the suitability of your home for certain groups of travelers (ex. family friendly,  pet-friendly)

    Specifies the distance to a nearby attraction (ex. beach access, theme parks, ski slopes)



    First photo - also known as the thumbnail photo

    When choosing a thumbnail, select a photo that is different from the others in your destination. Choose a picture that showcases something specific to your vacation home, like your living area, balcony, or hot tub.


    The best thumbnail photo is:



    Properly Staged (ex. no clutter, vases/fruit on the tables, etc.)

    Well-Framed (object of photo is obvious, nothing interfering with focus)

    Clear (taken with digital camera)

    Identifiable (can tell what the photo is of)

    Showcases Feel of Home (photos clearly depict the style of furnishings, etc.)

    Showcases View, Location or Amenity

    Unique or Exceptional



    A picture is worth a thousand words and the Internet is a visual medium. Photographs are the most important selling features of your listing.


    Your listing should, at minimum, include photos of the:



    View from your home
    Exterior of your home, building or complex

    Living Area

    Dining area
    Master bedroom

    Each additional bedroom
    Amenities (pool, hot tub, etc.)


    Outstanding photos that will visually sell your home are:


    Properly staged

    Well-grouped (photos are grouped in a logical order; walk the traveler through your home)

    Recent (no date stamps)
    Representative of the feel of your home

    Photo captions

    Photo captions are your chance to give renters more information about the specific features of your home.


    Terrific photo captions:



    Exist for each photo (something written below each photo)

    Use the all the characters available

    Offer specific details about the photo (details about amenities, not just name of room)
    Contain area or property type keywords (include location keywords for search engine optimization)

    Use correct spelling, consistent capitalization, and punctuation

    Property description

    The property description is a short summary that should paint a clear picture of your vacation home and the extras that you offer.


    A standout description:



    Offers the property's selling points in first sentence
    Describes the home, not the location

    Details the property type and size (ex. 4-bedroom villa, 2500 sq. ft. home)
    Specifies bedroom info and bed setup (ex. size of beds, amenities in each room)

    Lists amenities
    Describes the home's suitability for certain groups (ex. kids, family reunions, couples)

    Capitalizes select keywords for emphasis
    Uses eye-catching numerals

    Speaks to the traveler using “you” and “your”

    Uses correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation

    Location description

    The description of your vacation rental property's location is a vital component of your ad and should not be overlooked.


    An outstanding location description:



    Uses the map feature
    Clearly describes where the property is located

    Details the car necessity (do you need to rent a car?)
    Offers distance to nearby cities (are there other cities you can visit during the stay?)

    Describes the distance to the beach, mountain, lake, etc. (main natural attraction)
    Specifies the distance from metro cities (distance for driving guests)

    Names nearby landmarks or attractions
    Lists area activities

    Lists upcoming events

    You can learn more about adding an Insiders Guide for your location here.


    Many travelers start their search for a vacation rental with a specific date in mind. While browsing vacation rental portal websites like,, and, these travelers look at the availability calendar to determine if your property is open for their dates. Make sure your calendar has been updated within the past week.

    Rental rates

    Next to destination, price is one of the most important factors for travelers when choosing a vacation rental. For this reason, HomeAway includes a structured rate table in each listing to make it easy for travelers to find and compare properties by price. If you do not currently use the structured rental rates table, you may be missing out on potential renters.



    It may take some time and thought to complete, but the amenities section is a very important part of your vacation rental listing. Renters will often use this section when comparing two vacation homes side-by-side.


    To effectively showcase your property's amenities:

    Fill out the table completely

    Specify bathroom details
    Specify bedroom details

    Names nearby landmarks or attractions
    Lists area activities

    Lists upcoming events

    Include an Insiders Guide for your location here.



    Think of reviews from past guests as additional marketing for your home. Your future guests will have the information and the assurance they need to make a decision which should result in more inquiries.


    For reviews on to be the most effective:

    Get reviews from at least 3 past renters

    Write an Owner Response to each review

    The more complete your listing is the more comfortable renters will be inquiring about and ultimately booking your vacation home.