The majority of vacation rental owners are eager to get their listings published as soon as possible and often don’t revisit, or update their listing once it’s live.

While it’s very easy to get your listing up and running quickly, the quality of your listing will impact your bookings. With the influx of new properties being added to rental platforms daily, there’s never been a more important time to focus on writing a listing that stands out and sells. You’re marketing your vacation rental to a prospective guest, and your listing needs to tell travellers what makes your rental unique. This doesn’t mean you need to spend days on your listing, you just need the strategy and tools to build it right the first time.

So, what are the key things you should consider when building your listing?

1. Know your market

The first question you should always start with is “Who are my customers?” The good news is, you don’t have to do extensive research to identify your target market, you should already have a good idea of who your guests are, or who you’d like them to be.

If you’re not sure, think about your property, its location, guest capacity and nearby amenities. What kind of guest is it most likely to attract? You want to define these things in your property description to grab travellers’ attention right from the start.

2. Tailor your listing

If you’re flexible and want to attract a broader range of guests for a higher volume of bookings, ensure your listing reflects that, communicating all the different benefits and amenities, without focusing in on any one type of traveller.

If you want to target one type of guest more than another (e.g. families), tailor the content of your listing by highlighting the property features that would appeal more to this group of travellers.

3. Craft a powerful listing title

This is the first opportunity to sell travellers on your property. While you can include the name of your property, you should also use your headline to communicate the key features of your property and tailor it to the traveller you’re looking to reach. Below are some examples:

“Lakefront Muskoka cottage suitable for large families”

“Cottage with stunning lake views, minutes from top wineries”

“Pet-friendly cottage with direct access to hiking trails”

“Secluded private cottage on the lake, perfect for a couples getaway”

Avoid putting the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your headline as this is information that travellers will filter for in their search.

4. Create a hook

The first lines of your description are your opportunity to capture the reader’s attention. The guest has shown interest by landing on your property page, the hook is your chance to get them more invested in your property. If you’re appealing to families with children, think about the key things they’re looking for and what would interest them. For example, it could be kids’ rooms with bunk beds, a wide selection of board games, a dock with canoes, a fire pit for evening marshmallow toasting, and access to a badminton or volleyball net. It’s also a great idea to highlight local events or attractions that appeal to your target customer. Use these key features to build a powerful two-line hook that incorporates them all.

5. Communicate the property’s benefits, but be concise

Tell travellers what makes your property unique and why they should book with you. Avoid using fluffy, vague language and instead, focus on all the property’s benefits. Try to communicate these in the most succinct way possible; travellers love easy-to-read lists, which are pleasing to the eye and make finding exactly what you’re looking for much easier. Travellers spend less than 10 seconds on each listing when looking at search results, so make them count.

6. Keep it Dynamic

Remember that your listing is dynamic. You can adjust it to attract distinct groups of travellers at different times of the year. In the Spring, you may want to tailor your listing to families booking their summer getaways. Once your calendar is booked for the Summer, you can adjust your listing to attract Fall travellers, such as older couples whose travels are not impacted by the school season.

Most property owners never change their listing once it’s up, so this will put you well ahead of your competition.

7. Consider Seasonality

This strategy can really come into play during low-season, when there are hundreds of property owners appealing to a much smaller market of travellers. To increase your occupancy, you may need to get more creative and strategic with your listing.

Consider adjusting your price or offering additional perks, such as a seasonal welcome basket, or discounts for nearby attractions, to appeal to travellers during the off-season.

For inspiration, spend a few minutes browsing some of your competitor’s listings to see what they’re doing well. Set a reminder for yourself to revisit your listing and give it a fresh set of eyes every few months, or at the start of each new booking season. Most importantly, remember to think like a traveller – what information is most important to you and how would you like to see it presented?

If you treat your listing as a dynamic selling tool that reflects your professionalism and the quality of your property, you’ll start to see a rise in inquiries and booking requests.

For more tips on how to improve your listing and drive booking requests, visit the CanadaStays resource centre, or contact our optimization team at 1-866-808-6210.


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