Homeowner Tips

How to List a Vacation Rental: Five Tips for the Perfect Listing

July 28, 2021

So you’ve decided to rent out your home as a vacation property.


Now that you’ve reached that exciting decision, you’ll have to ask yourself roughly a bazillion questions in order to get your rental operation off the ground. Let’s start here: how do you list a vacation rental, anyway?

Knowing how to list your vacation rental is obviously one of the first and most fundamental steps you’ll need to take. But beyond that, knowing how to list your vacation rental effectively will help you achieve immediate success—or, perhaps, improve your performance if you’re already listed and looking for ways to ramp up production.

Your listing is your most powerful marketing tool. Whether you decide to list your home on Vrbo, Airbnb, Booking.com, or elsewhere is really beside the point: if your listing doesn’t meet certain industry standards, the venue isn’t going to matter.

To begin, put yourself in the shoes of a traveler. What do you want to learn from a vacation rental listing, and what do you need to learn from it? While scrolling through the countless options on numerous travel websites, what type of listings stand out to you?

This is a great example of a strong listing—and we haven’t even clicked through to view the whole thing yet!

Look closely, though. In this small amount of space, shopping travelers learn about this home’s stringent cleaning protocols (indicated by the red cleaning badge on the image); its limited-time pricing (indicated by the orange campaign badge and price slash); its cancellation and payment policies; and even its excellent rating.

These visual queues represent many of the little pieces that comprise a complete and, dare we say, perfect listing. Indeed, understanding how to list a vacation rental is much more nuanced than simply tossing your home onto the Internet and hoping people click it. But that’s not to say it has to be an overwhelming task, either. Here are five quick tips to help you create an effective listing and give travelers what they’re looking for. 

How to List a Vacation Rental Tip #1: Pricing

Your home’s price shouldn’t be static. Throughout the year, you can adjust it based on demand, local events, seasonality, and much more. That sort of dynamic pricing model can be taken to the next level with promotions. In the example above, you can see how promotions help a listing stick out: travel websites like Vrbo and Airbnb bolster participating listings with price slashes, campaign badging, and other eye-catching elements that appeal to shoppers.

How to List a Vacation Rental Tip #2: Visual Content

This is where you can truly set your home apart. The visual content you include with your listing can literally make or break a sale, and it starts with your photos. Research shows nearly 85% of travelers believe photos are helpful, and more than 25% believe photos are the most important factor when deciding whether or not to book. What does that mean? Travelers want to book with confidence, and you can earn their business with thoughtful, high-quality imagery. 

Learn more about visual content:

Source: TripAdvisor

How to List a Vacation Rental Tip #3: Cleaning

Cleanliness and hygiene protocols have never been more important than they are right now. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, data has shown upwards of 90% of travelers are making purchase decisions based on cleaning protocols. Obviously, that number will fluctuate, but the point remains: travelers are gravitating to clean getaways, and travel websites are rewarding top performers in cleanliness with special badging and other perks (as we noted in the images above). 

How to List a Vacation Rental Tip #4: Description

When you’re considering strategies for how to list your vacation rental, it might be tempting to gloss over the written description. And that’s a mistake! To be clear, no, your description is not necessarily as important as, say, your photos. But it is the space where you begin your conversation with a prospective guest: it’s where you greet them, invite them to check out your property, and share with them why your property is so wonderful. 

The description allows you to infuse your listing with personal insights, local knowledge, and buzzwords that travelers might be on the hunt for. You can, for instance, reiterate that your property is ideal for a workcation due to its secluded location and strong WiFi. You can also call attention to popular amenities, such as your hot tub or pet-friendly policy.

Don't skip the description!

How to List a Vacation Rental Tip #5: Reviews

Last, but certainly not least: your reviews. Guest reviews are a cornerstone of our industry and your listing is no exception. Reviews are arguably the most critical component of the vacation rental flywheel, since they impact not only your reputation, but also your visibility on the major travel websites. Positive guest reviews have the power to turn a good listing into an elite listing, and oddly enough, the manner in which you respond to reviews plays a big role, too.

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