Photo: Courtesy of @vorobyulia
How to Increase Your Vacation Property's Bookings
There are several ways to multiply your vacation property's bookings. Multi-channel distribution, increased amenities, seasonality rate adjustments, perks and other upgrades, vacation rental reviews, lower minimum stay requirements, and weekday booking incentives are all good options. However, the first step in increasing your vacation property's bookings is to post an engaging listing.
Post an Engaging Listing
Tell a story with your listing. Craft your title and stage your photos wisely; they are your hook. A good hook is sharp. Used correctly, it will catch browsers at the center of their attention and pull them into the middle of your narrative. You are selling a fantasy. Paint a picture of what could be. A relaxing evening in the jacuzzi under the stars. An intimate dinner viewing the sunset on the back porch. Laughter and fun times in the game room. A bright balcony breakfast overlooking the cresting ocean.
Remember, the point of your listing is not to advertise your home but rather to offer the ultimate vacation experience. You are presenting a chance (for those looking) to step out of the stressful and possibly mundane circles of one's own life and enter into something better.
1. The Hook
In any good narrative, the hook happens in the beginning. The first things your potential guests will see are your title and photos, which is why they must be captivating. If your title and photos do not hook the browsers' attention, they will move on to another property rather than continue through your listing.
Write a descriptive title that highlights the special qualities of your property. Stay away from generic titles such as "Beautiful Cabin" or "Resort Unit C" (tripadvisor.com).
- Wrong: "Beachfront Condo"
- Better: "No Shoes Required: Daily Beach Walks Mandatory"
- Wrong: "Newly Renovated"
- Better: "Calling Those with Good Taste and High Standards"
Your photos are arguably the most crucial part of your listing. They will "show" your property rather than "tell" about your property. As the age-old saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words."
Because good photos are so imperative to convert browsers into bookings, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional photographer. The cost will pay off.
Whether you take your own photos or hire a professional, you want your pictures to highlight your property in the most aesthetically pleasing fashion. Some details to keep in mind are:
- Make sure your photos are well-lit, clear, and shot with a high-quality camera.
- Stage your rooms, porch, patio, balcony, etc., with bright-colored accents and unique décor pieces.
- Highlights of color and a slight flare of style will set your listing apart from the others. However, be careful not to go overboard. A look that is too eclectic might turn-off some potential guests, and too many fun decorations will make your space appear cluttered. As always, "less is more."
- If attractive, don't forget to show the views looking out from your back porch and front door.
- Photos should capture all the unique aspects of your property, such as your:
- Princess-themed kids' bedroom.
- Movie room with a giant screen.
- Newly renovated chef's kitchen with professional-grade appliances.
- Proximity to the golf course, lake, ocean, or any other important destination or recreation.
2. The Write-Up
Do not think of your listing like a real estate agent would. In other words, you should not include verbiage such as, "Open floor plan, 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with great big backyard" (tripadvisor.com). Instead, focus on the experiential reasons why someone would want to book your property: what would they want to do while they are on their trip?
For example, if your house is within walking distance to the boardwalk where there are good restaurants and live music, talk about that. If your property is nestled in a quaint town with peaceful scenery, highlight the restful advantages of a quiet picnic in the park or a quick jaunt to the city square.
Keep in mind; you are telling a story. Your write-up should give further details about the narrative your pictures have already described. If you show a bike trail behind your house in one of your photos, reveal where that trail goes and what sights are on the way. If you are featuring a Minnie-Mouse-themed kids' bathroom in Orlando, include how close your home is to Disney and some tips on what to see there.
3. In Summary
Take your time creating your listing. Be creative and unique while showcasing your property's strengths. Take care in highlighting the vacation-worthy qualities of your home. The effort expended and any expense incurred in the process will be worth it when you see a significant increase in your vacation rental bookings.