Your Rental Property Listing Description
For any holiday rental owner or manager that relies on listing sites like Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor or Homeaway, spending time over property description is an essential and on-going task which is often taken for granted.
In reality you only have a few seconds to impress a guest to even consider reading further or clicking through to your property listing, let alone making an enquiry or booking.
This guide focuses primarily on text however we also recommend you get professional photography for listing site thumbnail images and ensure that your pricing is up to date (iCal synchronisations and channel managers can help here).
Get visitors excited about your property
Remember what drew you to the location in the first place and put yourself in the shoes of your prospective guest.
Why are they visiting?
Is there an attraction(s) or event(s) they will inevitably be visiting? Make sure they know this is a great place to stay.
Who is your target market?
Does you property best cater for couples? Families? Solo or business travellers? Groups of friends? Walkers? Cyclists? People with pets? And so on…
Be sure to use words which will let you key target market know that this is a place to consider.
Don’t just copy and paste
Using original content (not copied and pasted from your personal website which is bad for your own SEO).
Think brand not bland and make your property description detailed. Be passionate and enthusiastic.
It’s easy to get swallowed up alongside scores of local competitors on free holiday rental listing sites so regularly keep looking at ways to update and improve your listings.
Depending on the OTA or listing site you use, your property description of 4/5 easy-to-read paragraphs of up to 400-600 words is ideal.
Any more is unnecessary.
What to include in your property description
- Make your property headline an attention grabber which will appeal to a booker with numerous requirements. For example; ‘Quiet family home by Royal Mile. Free fast WiFi’ as opposed to ‘Apartment to rent in central Edinburgh’)
- Your USP. Is it the pool? The views? The location? The tranquil space? The themed rooms? Or is it about you, the owner or manager, and how you host your guests?
- The location. Is it a safe area? Is it close is it to the key local attractions?
- The property type*
- Your property size and number of bedrooms. Floor plans are excellent visual aids.
- Your target market. Do you cater for singles, couples, groups, families and other specific demographics? If so, say so.
- Your property theme**
- Be clear about your maximum number of guests. Include sofa beds but state clearly that any extra person(s) would sleep here.
- Do you have a swimming pool? Is it private or communal?
- Do you have any views?
- Do you have Wifi internet access? If so make sure your prospective guests know as it’s now essential for most guests whether you like it or not. Even consider adding it in headline.
- Is anything new? Refurbished? New airlines flying to your local airport? Is there a new motorway?
- Is it south-facing?
- Is there a king-size bed?
- Do you have luxurious or antique furniture?
- Are you flexible with your changeover days? A supplement is normal for this. The cheaper flights are regularly midweek. Sometimes flights only operate on certain dates
- Is anything included for free (breakfast, shuttle bus, ski-pass, WiFi, printing boarding passes)? Everyone loves freebies! One of our clients includes a free motorway toll payment in her rental rates and it has become a very popular unique selling point.
- What’s within walking distance? Holiday makers don’t want to get in their car too much.
- What local amenities are great for families and kids? Waterpark? Beach?
- Local sporting attractions (golf, tennis courts, gyms), art festivals, museums, galleries, historical sites.
- Tick as many amenities as possible as the property will show up in results if guests refine their search criteria.
- Suitable for elderly, children or wheelchair users. (i.e. 1st floor or above?)
- Are pets accepted?
- Consider what is available to guests in ‘off-peak’ seasons to attract them in.
- Distance to beach/skiing gondola.
- Seasonal attractions? Indoor heated pool? Nearby Christmas market?
- Skiing holiday – exactly how far is it to the gondolas/lifts. Info about when slopes are open.
- Guest comments (get permission) – If guests email you favourable comments, post them on your site and state clearly in your advertisements that further guests testimonials are available on your personal website.
*There are a lot of different holiday rental property types out there. Many holiday-makers will narrow down their search criteria to only look at one or two. It’s worth deliberating over which generic category yours will belong to. Apartment, villa, cottage, house, chalet, barn, boat, bungalow, cabin, castle, chateau, condo, country-house, farm-house, finca, gite, house-boat, lodge, mobile home or riad or just some of the more common ones.
**Some holiday letting websites will permit users to search by the themed breaks. These include city breaks, fishing, golf, groups, horse riding, near beach, nightlife, romantic, rural, resort, retreat, short break, skiing, village, walking/hiking, watersports, wedding. It’s worth taking a moment to consider which is/are most pertinent to your property.
What NOT to include in your property description:
- There’s no need for extensive information about the area – it is a waste of valuable space and the visitor will generally research this themselves.
- Don’t use slang. Some people using these holiday rental sites won’t speak English fluently.
- DON’T USE CAPITALS. It looks like you’re SHOUTING.
- Try to reduce the use of the word ‘No’ (e.g. ‘no groups’, ‘no pets’, ‘no smoking’). It makes you sound stuffy and unfriendly. Choose your words carefully.
- Don’t over promise or exaggerate. Your advert must be accurate. You don’t want your guest to believe your advert was misrepresentative and wanting compensation or their money back. This will inevitably lead to negative reviews.
- Do not copy text from other sites from your own rental website will negatively affect your search engine optimisation.
- Consider whether you want to add an email address as this will probably increase your intake of spam.
And when you’re done…
- Get friends to look over for feedback.
- Check spelling and grammar.
- Change it up according to time of year. Can you run seasonal promotions?
- Carry on to adding your rates, images and availability.
Most major listings sites now offer an area which introduces the visitor to the owner with a short bio. We encourage using it. Keep it short, friendly and professional. Introduce yourself, how long you’ve been renting and how much you enjoy sharing it with guests.