Are You Making These 9 Vacation Rental Listing Mistakes?

Erin Colbert —  September 17, 2012

Vacation Rental Listing Site MistakesWith more and more vacation rental owners turning to major listing sites like HomeAway, VRBO, and Flipkey to advertise their homes, you’ve got to make your listing stand out. Check your listings now to ensure you’re not making these mistakes. Even one mistake could affect the order in which your listing is displayed in search results and could cost you valuable inquiries and bookings.

1. Using all caps in your listing

AVOID ANY WORD IN ALL CAPS because it sounds like you’re shouting at the traveler and comes off as unfriendly and unapproachable.

2. Creating a lackluster headline

Ideally, your headline should be about 70 characters long. A top-rated headline includes some of the following attributes, and is updated occasionally to reflect changes:

  • Conveys the unique aspects of the home
  • Clearly defines the property type (i.e. villa, apartment, home, cabin)
  • Highlights special amenities or features (i.e. hot tub, deck, BBQ grill, WiFi, etc.)
  • Describes the suitability of the home for certain groups of travelers (i.e. family-friendly or pet-friendly)
  • Specifies the distance to a nearby attraction (ex. beach access, theme parks, ski slopes)

Headlines should not contain branded or other protected words unless it is needed to specify a location (e.g. “near Disneyland”).

Here’s an example: Historic Sonoma Square Cottage, Walk to Shops & Restaurants

3. Forgetting the floor area

The floor area (in sq. ft. or meters) should be provided for your home.

4. Skimping on the description

Your description should be between 700-1,000 characters long. The description is a vital component to your listing and should not be overlooked. It’s a short summary that should paint a clear picture of the vacation rental and the extras that you offer, and

  • highlights the property’s selling points in the first sentence
  • describes the home, not the location
  • details the property type and size (i.e. 4-bedroom villa, 2500 sq. ft. home)
  • specifies bedroom info and bed setup (i.e. size of beds)
  • lists amenities by room
  • describes the home’s suitability for certain groups (i.e. kids, family reunions, couples)

5. Not maxing out the number of photos

Always use the maximum number of photos permitted at your listing level. Every photo should have a specific caption. The first photo is typically used as the thumbnail and should be unique and exceptional. Pictures should not include a logo or watermark.

6. Showing rates for less than 1 calendar year

Travelers are typically booking up to one year in advance. Without regularly updated rates your sort order will decline and travelers may pass over your listing entirely. Not to mention, this opens up an opportunity for travelers to inquire about discounts or special rates when they are not clearly stated.

7. Incomplete availability calendar

Your availability calendar should be updated frequently – daily if possible. As soon as you receive a booking, make it part of your checklist to update your online calendar.

8. Unfinished amenities list

An exhaustive list of amenities, property attributes and local attractions should be provided, including:

  • Detailed indoor and outdoor list of equipment
  • Nearby attractions and leisure activities
  • Suitability for various categories of guests

9. Missing the map marker

VRBO includes “allowing travelers to zoom on your map” and “showing your map marker” as criteria for determining the sort order of listings. If you’ve got them, you’ll show up higher in the listings than those who do not. You can read the full list of VRBO sort order criteria here.

+ 10. A bonus – Misspellings, Grammatical, and Punctuation Errors

This one almost goes without saying, but your listing site should be free of misspelled words, grammatical errors, or punctuation problems. Run spell check and ask a friend to review your listing before hitting publish.

photo credit: FindYourSearch

 

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Erin Colbert

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Marketing at MyVR.com. I help vacation rental owners improve their online marketing efforts and get more inquiries & bookings as a result. You can find me on Twitter and .