We recently discussed the value of a great vacation rental listing, and gave you 7 copywriting tips that will take your text description to the next level.
But beyond things like language and paragraph breaks, there’s plenty more you can do to polish up your listing and make it the best it can be. And when a guest is comparing properties, these things might just be what pulls you over the line.
Here are five things you can do to easily and dramatically improve your Airbnb listing.
Not everyone is going to bother reading your photo captions — the photos should speak a thousand words. But why waste the opportunity to sell your property further?
A caption can textually highlight an aspect of the photo, making the viewer more aware or appreciative of it. For example, consider a photo of a living room with no caption, versus the same photo with a caption like “Beautiful, light-drenched living room with mid-century modern furniture”. It’s easier for us as the reader to accept the version of reality we’re handed in the caption rather than to draw conclusions ourselves.
You can also use captions to reinforce information about amenities. Here’s a great example from a listing in Toronto:
The photo shows a bathroom that’s not particularly captivating, but the caption helps to make up for it by reminding us of all the useful things that are included.
As important as selling what you are is recognising what you’re not. Don’t be billing your place as the ultimate in luxury beach houses with unforgettable ocean views if it’s just not.
Here’s a great example from an Airbnb in the UK. The room is not gorgeous. Words like “luxury” have never stepped foot inside it. But the host doesn’t try to oversell it or use beautiful descriptions. Instead, he knows his market (people who just need somewhere cheap and convenient to stay on a layover) and speaks directly to their needs.
From the headline to the punchy to-the-point text, he focuses on letting that exact audience know that his place will fulfil their requirements:
The description reads:
“My place is close to the airport. You can take a free airport shuttle bus (to Long Term Car Park) and then walk less than 10 minutes to get there.
Conveniently located, only 2 minutes walk away there’s a bus stop with bus that goes directly to Luton main train station with fast trains link to London.
Eateries are within 5 minutes walk from the house and local Tesco’s grocery store is just down the road.”
This may not be an example of beautiful, emotive copy, but that’s exactly the point: knowing your audience means that sometimes it doesn’t have to be.
In other words, be honest. If there are drawbacks to your property, do mention them so guests know what to expect — but put the main focus of your text on what it’s selling points are. Even if those selling points are things like practicality and budget.
Ok, not literally all of them. But when you’re filling in your Airbnb property profile, double check that you’ve ticked all the amenities and safety features that apply. And if you add something new to the property — even if it’s just a hairdryer — remember to go back and update your listing.
Guests can filter their search by particular amenities and features, so ticking all the applicable boxes helps to ensure you show up in as many search results as possible.
If your space has multiple rooms, it’s a great idea to detail each one in an easy-to-read list. Not only is it useful information for guests wanting to determine sleeping arrangements (e.g. groups and families), but organising the text in this way allows them to skim the text quickly while still getting a really good idea of what your property entails.
Bedroom 1: King size bed, ensuite with bath, flatscreen T.V.
Bedroom 2: Double bed, laptop-friendly workspace, fold-out sofa bed.
and so on…
Depending on what kind of space you’re listing, it might work to just make your own rules. After all, a unique property warrants a unique description! Conveying whatever it is you want and need to convey are just as important as how you do it. Showing some personality can also be a great thing.
Here’s an example from a boat for rent on Airbnb:
Q: Bathroom, explain!
A: The boat is equipped with a house sized water heater ensuring you get hot water throughout the boat. Know, however, that you are staying on a boat. Long hot showers can be difficult. […]
Q: Heat? AC?
A: Our boats are equipped with BOTH heat and AC. No matter the time of year you visit you can be assured that you will be staying in a nice comfortable environment!
As you can see from the text above, the owners have used the listing description to cover the most frequently asked questions, but they’ve created a format that’s super succinct and fun. They know that potential guests are aways in a hurry to know everything, so they’ve posed the questions in a way that reflects this.
Often guests will choose a property based on the strength of the photos, the location, availability or price… but when it comes down to the crunch, even the small details of your listing can make a difference. What do you do to make your listing stand out?