By: Kelsey Readyhough
FlipKey research shows that those searching for a rental property online may visit up to 4 vacation rental websites and inquire on about 7 properties before actually booking a reservation. In this saturated market, it’s important to set your listing apart from the crowd in order to maximize your property’s earning potential. You can take your listing from basic and boring, to snazzy and successful in just a few simple steps.
1) Give your listing an eye-catching title.
While we all know that it’s best not to “judge a book by its cover,” it’s a simple fact that first impressions are everything. Your property listing’s title is your first opportunity to grab a potential guest’s attention and lure them in to click through and read more about your property.
Although it is important to keep your title short, it is also important to showcase your property’s unique features within the title. Stand-out amenities and distinctive characteristics (i.e. a pool, fireplace, or game room) are alluring additions to any title which will lead prospective travelers to want to know more. Including location information in the title can also be beneficial, especially if your property is situated close to a popular landmark or is located in an appealing area of the city. For even more advice on property listing titles, click here.
2) Present potential guests with a large selection of photos.
As I mentioned, travelers sort through many property listings on a variety of websites before finding their choice vacation rental. This makes their time very valuable. While it may take time to read a listing’s description or decipher a rates table, it takes less than a second to view a property’s photos. One of the easiest ways to attract visitors to your listing page is with an eye-catching main photo that stands out from the norm.
Once a traveler clicks through and lands on your listing page, it is vital that they are presented with a variety of photos showcasing each major room within your property. At the very least, your listing should include photos of the kitchen, living space, bathroom, each bedroom, and property exterior. To further entice travelers, consider posting additional exterior shots of your home, as well as photos highlighting special features, such as a gorgeous view, patio, or sun room.
FlipKey does not limit the number of photos that you can include on your listing page, so there are no excuses for lacking in the photo department! Research shows that travelers are 83% more likely to inquire on a rental property online if the listing includes 20 or more photos. While professional photos are certainly helpful, your own personal photos can be just as effective.
3) Tempt travelers with a tantalizing description.
A thorough and descriptive summary of your property is essential to the success of your vacation rental’s profitability. Travelers are less likely to inquire (and book) your property if they have to go through the hassle of asking additional questions. FlipKey research finds that travelers are 64% more likely to inquire on a property if its description is over 2,000 characters.
A casual and creative writing style can give your listing a bit of flair. By adding words which help potential guests visualize themselves in your unit, you can better ensure that your description will leave a lasting impression.
4) Provide an updated and accurate calendar.
Keeping an updated calendar at all times is beneficial for both you and prospective guests. From a traveler’s perspective, nothing is more annoying than inquiring (or attempting to reserve) a vacation rental, only to find that the requested dates have already been booked. Syncing your calendar with external calendars from other websites is an easy and effortless way to ensure your calendar accuracy. When you set up your calendar to sync with an external calendar, FlipKey will monitor the calendar daily and update the changes on FlipKey and TripAdvisor every 8 hours.
5) Push for plenty of positive reviews.
Guest reviews have a significant impact on booking results. Listings with a higher number of reviews are much more likely to receive bookings than those without. Reviews are crucial to making potential guests feel comfortable about booking your property. In an online marketplace, it can be hard to build trust with an owner since direct contact prior to booking is somewhat limited. For this reason, reviews are a great way to prove your property’s legitimacy, as well as your legitimacy as a property owner.
Remember to send past guests a request to leave a review of your property shortly after their stay. Travelers are much more likely to write a review if they are reminded to do so by the owner. FlipKey makes it easy to collect reviews from past guests right through your account. Simply enter the guest’s name and email address, and we will shoot them a message with a link to easily leave a review.
*Data in this piece was compiled by FlipKey, a TripAdvisor company, and presented at a VRMA Conference in 2012.
Kelsey, a Customer Care Associate at FlipKey, is originally from Rhode Island and currently resides in South Boston. While not assisting owners and travelers with their vacation rental needs, she enjoys baking, shopping, and going to the beach.