Checklist for Building the Perfect Vacation Rental Listing

    Creating your vacation rental listing involves quite a few steps, so  we've created a checklist to help ensure that you're building the best listing possible. You don't need to check off every single item but it's helpful to know if you're on the right track.




    Your headline is the most important tool for reeling travelers in. Be sure to use that space wisely to get renters to click on your ad. While it won't be possible to include all of these attributes, consider the following pointers for your property headline:
    • Use maximun characters available
    • Describe location type (ex. lakeside, beachfront)
    • Describe property type (ex. condo, townhome, villa, cabin)
    • Feature availability or open dates (ex. Aug 16-23 open)
    • Feature discounts or special offers (ex. free nights, reduced rates)
    • Include non-repetitive location info (more specific than the city you're classified under)
    • Use consistent capitalization and punctuation
    • Show a competitive advantage
    • Highlight the home's amenities (ex. pool, WiFi, views, hot tub)
    • Incorporate descriptive adjectives
    • Define the home's suitability (ex. pet friendly, perfect for families)
    • List nearby attractions (ex. theme parks, golf courses, beaches)

    First Photo

    Your first photo might set the tone for your entire listing. Be sure you are selecting your best shot in order to give the most favorable first impression. Your first photo should be:

    • High Quality/High Resolution
    • Colorful
    • Well-Lit
    • Clear
    • Well-Maintained/Clutter-Free
    • Showcase Feel of Home
    • Showcase View, Location or Amenity

    All Photos

    Travelers rely on photos to get a feel for the home that they could be potentially renting. HomeAway & VRBO allows up to 50 photos. You want to make sure the photos you select are showing the most important aspects of your home that are actually of interest to renters. Your photos should include:

    • View from your home
    • Exterior of your home, building, or complex
    • Living Area
    • Kitchen
    • Dining Area
    • Master Bedroom
    • Each Additional Bedroom
    • Bathrooms (toilet seats down, fluffed towels, no personal items)
    • Amenities (Pool, Patio, Game Room, etc.)
    • Attractions in the area


    Besides including the "right" photos, you want to make sure the photos you feature are outstanding. The quality of your photos reflect upon the quality of your home. Try to take photos that exhibit the following qualities:

    • High quality/High Resolution
    • Colorful
    • Well-Lit
    • Properly Staged
    • Well-Framed
    • Clear
    • Sensible Order (bedroom photos grouped together, exterior photos grouped together, etc.)
    • Recent (No Date Stamps)
    • Showcases Feel of Home
    • Size of the Space
    • "Wow" Factor (exceptional or impressive photos)
    • Not include any watermarks, websites, phone numbers, etc.


    Photo Captions

    Don't discount the importance of your photo captions. Your captions simply provide additional space for you to sell your home, answer potential renter questions, and improve your rankings when searched. Your photo captions should:

    • Be completed for each photo
    • Use the characters available
    • Provide specific information (not just "bedroom" or "photo 1")
    • Incorporate area keywords (ex. attractions, activities)
    • Use consistent capitalization and punctuation
    • Not include any personal contact info like websites, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.


    Providing detailed information in an easy-to-read manner will help renters determine if your property is right for them. Consider the following factors when putting together your property description:

    • Use of available characters
    • Top-load selling points (home's best features listed first)
    • Property type (ex. condo, cottage, cabin, villa, townhome, apartment)
    • Property size
    • Bedroom info + bed setup (more specific than just "3 bedroom home")
    • Amenity info
    • Suitability info (ex. perfect for families, couples)
    • Capitalization of keywords
    • Use of headers or subtitles (create sections within the "description")
    • Use of bulleted lists (use asterisks)
    • Use of numerals (draw attention to certain features)
    • Friendly tone
    • Consistent spelling and punctuation
    • Nearest mode of transportation
    • Car necessity (will your renters need a car during their vacation?)
    • Distance to nearby cities
    • Distance to beach, mountain, lake, etc. (any main attraction in your area)
    • Specific landmarks or attractions
    • Area activities
    • Events
    • Clear sense of where property is located

    Many travelers will seek out reviews from past travelers to get a feel for the property. If your listing does not feature any past guest reviews, some travelers might take that as a bad sign. For your guest comments, try to:
    • Seek out reviews from at least 3 past guests
    • Encourage repeat renters to post reviews
    • Don't review your own property


    Availability Calendar

    Keeping an up-to-date calendar allows renters to get a feel for your availability before inquiring. Some travelers will not even click on an ad that does not feature an updated calendar.
    To create a perfect listing, you should:

    • Feature an updated calendar that shows accurate availability

    Map Function

    Your location is probably one of the most important deciding factors for guests, so be sure to:

    • You can display a property marker or a general area.  Displaying a property marker will show a pin on your map and is preferred by most travelers.


    Amenities Table

    Some travelers prefer to peruse the amenities table rather than reading the full property description. Be sure you're making it simple for all potential renters to find the information they need. When completing the amenities table:

    • Fill out the complete table
    • Include bedroom info
    • Explain your home's suitability
    • Use the “Other Amenities” section
    • Use the “Other Activities” section
    • Amenities are tied to search filters so it's important they are filled out correctly

    Video Tours

    All VRBO & HomeAway Listings are now enabled to allow you to embed a YouTube™ video tour. This is great opportunity to showcase your home in even more detail. be sure to:

    • Provide a quick walk through of your property - under 3 minutes is best.
    • Your video should be well-lit.
    • Showcase what makes your property unique or most desirable
    • Travelers will want to see the amenities you provide.

    Rental Rates

    Let's face it: after selecting a destination, the next most important factor for most travelers is price.
    • Be sure that you fill out the rates editor completely including any discounts, taxes and fees.

    After going through this checklist you might find that you have a lot of work to do. But don't be discouraged. Simply follow these pointers to build a complete, descriptive, professional and easy-to-read property listing.