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January is one of the busiest months of the year for vacation rental bookings. Now’s the time for property owners to make some tweaks to their listings and take advantage of this busy period to boost bookings. Here are five tips from our team on the best ways to spruce up your listing for the New Year.

1. New year, new photos

Photos make a huge difference when guests are looking at your property, more importantly, assessing it against the competition.

Did you know that guests are 83% more likely to enquire about property listings that contain 20+ photos?
Booking.com
Apartment interior

This shows it’s important to go for quality as well as quantity.

Take a look at your photos – is it time to refresh them? When you join TravelNest, one of the first things we do is assess the overall quality of your photos. What’s more, we can match you with a professional photographer – talk to us to find out more.

Some of the key things we look for are:

Are the photos of a high enough resolution? When it comes to photo resolution, go for the highest possible resolution you can – we recommend 2880 pixels on the longest side.

 
Are there enough photos? The major platforms such as Booking.com, Expedia and HomeAway recommend that listings include at least 24 photos, however, don’t be restricted by this number.
Are the right photos included? Ensure you have enough photos of each room in the property – not including photos of the bathroom for example, can put people off.

 
Are there good photos of the outside space and any views from the property? We also recommend including photos of the garden or patio if there is one, plus the entrance to the property and any garden furniture or BBQ.
If you have a small property and are wondering what additional photos to include, take photos of your amenities to highlight them to guests – your welcome basket, toiletries, coffee machine, as well as the TV and DVD player etc. If you need more inspiration, you could also include photos of attractions that are near to your property that would be good for your guests to visit.

2. Perfect your pricing

Coins

3. Have a super flexible calendar

Guests love flexibility when it comes to booking their holiday property.

Merchant's Apartment, Glasgow
Photo credit: TravelNest / Merchant's Apartment, Glasgow
Our research shows that the top 20% most flexible properties get twice the number of nights booked than the 20% least flexible.
TravelNest

So, it certainly pays to think about:

  • Check in dates: Offering flexibility with check-in dates will open up your property to lots more potential guests. If you only allow check-in on certain days, then your property will simply not appear in searches made by people looking to start their holiday on different days.

    Length of stay: 
    Being flexible with the minimum length of stay will have a noticeable impact on bookings than a fixed ‘weekly only’ booking availability. Can you offer a 1, 2 or even 3-night minimum stay to cash in on the short break market? Properties with a 1-night minimum stay show up in way more search results!

    Discounts and deals: 
    Customers are like magpies – they are always on the lookout for exciting deals and great discounts, so why not attract them with a range of options? Consider discounts for advance booking, late availability, seasonal offers and loyalty discounts for repeat bookings to draw them in.your pricing into recognisable blocks e.g. high season, low season, Christmas/New Year, so customers get an ‘at a glance’ overview. 

4. Have a way with words

Stunning Mykonos Villa
Photo credit: TravelNest / Gold Sunset Villa, Mykonos

 

No one likes to read long, dull property descriptions, so spend time improving the written aspects of your listing to really make it pop. This includes the property title as well as the description. Your description needs to be up-to-date, and highlight all the very best things about your property. Know your unique selling points (USPs) and highlight them. 

When you join TravelNest, our team will assess your title and description for you and suggest how you can improve it to attract more guests. 

We encourage our owners to:

  • Be creative: Use your description to really give guests a flavour of what it is like to stay at your property. Be descriptive and be sure to let guests know all the best things about staying in your property.

    Think about their ideal guest: Is it young families, couples or groups you’d ideally like to book with you? Adapt the description of your listing, and the title, to appeal to them.

    Include details about upcoming local events:
    You could also go a step further and attract customers to your property by including information on upcoming events in your area. This has a really positive influence on booking persuasion and shows you are offering something that your competitors may not be.

5. Boost your amenities

Kitchen and amenities

Try to ensure that you have as many ‘tickable amenities’ on your listing as possible. Doing this goes a long way to improving your content score on channels like Booking.com and Expedia. Take a look at our blog on The top ten amenities guests want in a vacation rental and see how your property stacks up against what guests are looking for.

Remember that guests can use the search filters on different channels to specifically select the amenities they want, and if your property doesn’t have them, it won’t show up in these searches. Of course, not everyone can invest in a hot tub, but having things like a decent coffee maker, hairdryer, iron and that all-important necessity, WiFi, will help you attract more guests to your property.

If you’ve added any new amenities recently make sure these are included. Guests like to know what to expect and will refer to your amenity list to determine which items to bring with them. You’ll save them lots of hassle if you are specific about things like travel cots, games consoles, speakers and phone chargers, etc.

Find out more

TravelNest gets your vacation rental seen in all the right places. From luxury villas to country cottages and city apartments, we can effortlessly list your property on over 30 of the best global travel sites including Airbnb, Booking. com, Expedia, HomeAway, TUI and TripAdvisor. It’s free to to sign up – try us today! 

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