Make Your Listing Work

The effectiveness of your listing can oftentimes be dependent upon the text you choose to "sell" it. A well thought out description of your property can be the difference between a full calendar and a Swiss Cheese calendar.

Vacation rental is a competitive business and with many rental listings vying to attract rental guests it’s important to make yours stand out from the rest. Of course, having outstanding photos is the primary appeal, but your text needs to create a pull that visitors to your listing just can’t resist.

Title & Pull Text

When faced with hundreds of listings, sometimes with very little to choose between them, getting a site visitor to click on the link to see more of yours is the key. The Title you give your property plus the first sentence is called the ‘pull text’. This is what pulls your visitors in and it needs to be punchy, descriptive and very appealing. Since the geographical location of the property, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and occupancy is already included in the short description, it’s a waste of text space to duplicate that information. Instead, aim for using keywords that fulfills your potential renters criteria. Phrases such as ‘pets welcome’; ‘family friendly’; ‘tranquility’; ‘ocean views’ are those that meet the needs of many guests so consider what niche you are catering for and use the appropriate language to capture their interest.

Top down or bottom up- a Structured Listing

Decide how you want to present the property and structure your text with either a top-down or bottom –up approach. The first starts with an overview of the location and its surrounding attractions, then moves to a description of the exterior of the property, finally detailing the interior features and facilities. The bottom-up model starts with describing the interior detail and finishes with information on the locale. If your property is in a well-known area where there are a lot of properties, you may be better suited to the latter, while the former is great for properties in areas that are less popular and where you may need to sell a visitor on the attractions of the region before enticing them inside the property.

Whichever model you use, avoid chopping and changing through the listing. Either start with the big picture and move down to the detail, or begin with the essential information and move up to a more expansive overview. Mixing it up will only serve to confuse your visitors who may just move on to the next listing.

Descriptive Text

Your body text needs to do two things. First of all, it provides information your potential guest needs to make an informed decision. Second, it should create desire with an emotional appeal. It’s unnecessary to duplicate information – for example, there is no need to mention how many bedrooms or bathrooms, since this detail is included elsewhere in the listing. Be descriptive instead about the ambiance of the bedrooms and the feel of relaxing in a foaming whirlpool bath at the end of an active day.

In a nutshell, think about how effective advertising text can be at encouraging you to buy a product. Good marketing will use words that describe you will feel when using the product, what it looks like, sounds like and tastes like. In short, you need to appeal to all the senses rather than simply using objective description.

Avoid Overselling

Being creative with text can allow you to paint a picture of your property in words, but be careful about overdoing it. Some words can mean very different things to different people so take care about those you use. The word ‘luxury’ could mean a dishwasher to some while to others it would be expected as a standard appliance and not considered a luxurious feature. Stating your beds will give your guests “The best night’s sleep they have ever had” is a widely arguable statement. It’s better to avoid telling your guests what they will experience – simply allude to emotions and feelings they may experience during their stay.

Proofread Thoroughly When you have finished your text, get several people to read through it and offer constructive feedback. Ask them to tell you how they feel about the place simply by reading the listing. Does it make them want to book immediately? Is there anything that is off-putting – even mildly? Then proofread for spelling and grammatical errors. After all, this is a marketing investment and you want it to be accurate and well-formatted.