• Wendy Bixby

Ten Simple Tips to Write A Killer Vacation Rental Listing

Clear, high-quality photos of your vacation rental listing are important. Everyone loves beautiful photos. They are stunning when done well and they draw potential guests in.

But it’s your words that are going to close the deal and get you the booking.

Whether you’re a seasoned property manager or a newbie listing your home on AIRBNB for the first time— there are a couple of key points to remember when crafting a description of your property that will get you bookings.

These ten tips will take any listing from mediocre to major player. Follow these steps and watch your listing move up the front page on sites like VRBO and AIRBNB.

Remember, your listing is more than a rundown of bedrooms and bathrooms— it's a chance to connect with your guests on an emotional level and point out what makes your property shine.

1. Write To Your Guest

Before you sit down to write a word, consider who exactly your ideal guest is. Is it a family looking for fun and togetherness? A couple looking for a romantic weekend away? It’s important to have a vision of your future guest in mind while writing.

Imagine your ideal guest as a friend sitting in front of you while you write. It will focus you— and it’s also kinda fun.

Define your ideal guest and write directly to them.

2. Engage Their Senses

Travelers browsing through rentals online can admire your photos— but they can’t feel the sea breeze, smell the crisp mountain air, hear the trolley car bells, or taste the fresh coffee and croissants from that great place around the corner.

Sensory words allow people to connect on an emotional level with you and with your property. And that connection is what drives people to book.

3. Spend Time on the Headline

The single most important piece. Most people will only browse headlines! In a few succinct but engaging words, you need to convey why travelers should book with you and not the other guy. Include a powerful adjective that sets your place apart and gets to the point quickly.

Where would you rather stay: a “One Bedroom Mountain Cabin” or a “Charming Rustic Cabin With Gorgeous Mountain Views”? How about a “Two Bedroom Condo on the Beach” or a “Romantic Beachfront Condo with Breathtaking Ocean Views”?

Leave out the redundant bedroom count from your headline. Potential guests can choose their bedroom preference in their search criteria, so mentioning it in your headline is a waste of prime real estate— pun intended.

4. Leave Out Dull Words

Words like great, amazing, beautiful, or awesome are overused and kind of boring. They may sound nice, but they aren’t connecting. It’s hyperbole and your readers are going to glance over them. To connect, you need to be specific.

For example, instead of mentioning the amazing view, tell the reader that they can see the stunning sunset from their balcony every evening. Or the shimmering lights of the city from the top floor terrace. Give some real thought into how your rental is different from your competition. And use it to your advantage.

Leave out dull words. Describe the view with detail.

5. Check The Reading Level

Yes, you want to be descriptive— but be careful to not get too fancy with your wording. A good listing description should read at about a 5th or 6th-grade level. Leave out the big words and complicated grammar. This shouldn’t read like a term paper. It should feel light, breezy and effortless.

To check the reading level of your listing, use the Hemingway App. This clever program can also tell you when your sentence structure is confusing or you’ve used too many dreaded adverbs.

6. Watch The Length

Keep your listing description at about 500-600 words. Anything more than that is overkill and readers may start to drift. Anything less than 500 words is like having only 2 or 3 blurry photos.

A description that is too short or abrupt implies that something is being hidden. You want your readers to trust you and book with you. Build that trust with honest, inviting, and entertaining descriptions.

If your description is too long and you can't figure out what to cut, let someone else read it who you trust and have them edit it for you.

7. Segment Your Listing

Break up your listing description into well-defined paragraphs. First paragraph— living and dining areas. Then down the hall into the second paragraph— the master bedroom. The third paragraph is for the remaining bedrooms. The fourth paragraph is the outdoor space. And so on.

Each paragraph should be about two or three sentences long, with a double space break between each paragraph. Like this article. Breaking up your description this way makes it easier to digest and more likely that people will read it. Nobody likes to look at a solid wall of text.

8. Highlight The Neighborhood

Sure, your house is great. But what about the area around your home? Are there any insider tips you want to share, like delicious restaurants, peaceful parks, or underrated dive bars? This is the part of your description where you can really stand out from the crowd.

Here’s a perfect example:

This spacious condominium lies in the heart of the action at Duval Square, a charming brick-paved and tree-lined courtyard. The residential condos are on the second floor, while quaint shops and restaurants occupy the cobblestone square below. A strong cup of Cuban coffee in the morning or a refreshing Mojito at happy hour are steps from your door.

Highlight the neighborhood.

9. Find Your Voice

Your home has a personality. You wouldn’t decorate a relaxed beach cottage the same as you would a sleek apartment in the city. Your listing should be tailored the same way.

If you’re describing a cabin in the mountains, use casual adjectives that invoke fun and a sense of adventure. If you’re describing a luxury home in wine country, use a more elegant tone.

Potential guests are not only looking for a place to lay their heads. They are also looking for a vacation rental that matches their personal style and spirit.

10. Hire a Pro

You’ve read through these tips and are ready to write. You sit down at your computer to type— but nothing happens.

Writing good copy is an art. It takes time to perfect your technique and write a listing you can be proud of. Consider contacting me to write for you. I will compose a description that will optimize your listing and drive guests to book with you.

Contact me at www.wendybixby.com or wendyrobinbixby@gmail.com.