Ten Updates Your Vacation Rental Listing Needs Now!

Holiday home with lake view

As soon as COVID19 travel restrictions ease, people will be ready and waiting to book holidays and trips for 2021. Families, friends and couples are busy making their holiday wish lists and checking out potential properties for their first post-COVID19 trip.It’s time to get organised, and maximise your chances of getting booked. Our top ten listing updates will ensure you’re ready when the bookings rush begins!Have you got them all covered?!

Stef Scott, Content Marketing Manager

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1. Tweak the listing headline

It’s really important to use the listing heading to really sell your property – it’s the gateway to the rest of your listing, so needs to grab attention and get guests clicking to learn more! Is your property in a rural location? Close to the countryside, beaches or mountains? Include these unique selling points in the listing title. When it comes to amenities, things like a hot tub, log burning fire, outdoor space and lovely views are all factors which boost your bookability, so mention them in the headline. If your property offers a luxury experience, be sure to include this!

Here are a couple of great examples:

  • Luxury 3-bed pet friendly lodge w/ log fire
  • Cosy 2-bed rural cottage w/ hot tub & open views
Airbnb listing headline example
Here is an example of a good listing headline which really sells this property to potential guests. Note the inclusion of the property location, number of bedrooms and hot tub.

2. Flex your cancellation policy

Post-COVID19, flexibility is the key to getting booked. Guests need to know that if they’re plans change, they won’t be penalised by a strict cancellation policy. Data from our channel partners shows that moving to a more relaxed cancellation policy can result in a higher percentage of bookings. What’s more, many channels (e.g. Airbnb) allow searches to be filtered by cancellation policy, meaning properties with strict cancellation only will be omitted from searches.

3. Have key amenities covered

Review your amenity list and make sure you’ve got everything that you offer ticked off so that guests can see it on the listing. Travellers often filter their searches by specific amenities, so not having something ticked could mean missing out on a potential booking. Take a look at our post on the Top Ten Amenities Guests Want in a Vacation Rental – is there room for some improvement in what you offer?

Families travelling with children are looking for things to keep the kids occupied, so things like WiFi, streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, a games console such as an xBox, PlayStation or Nintendo Switch plus some books and traditional board games, will be really appreciated by guests.

games console
Updating your amenities to include a games console will help to entice guests with children to book your property. Consoles like an xBox or PlayStation are also popular with adults!

4. Add a WOW hero photo

Along with the listing heading, the hero photo has a super important job to do. It entices guests to click on your listing and find out more – that first click is key to converting their initial interest into a booking. Our research found that 79% of people were more inclined to book properties with hero images of attractive external shots of the property.

If your property looks great from the outside, use this as the main image on your listing. If not, don’t worry. Anything that has a feel-good factor will help capture attention. If you have scenic views from the bedroom or lovely living areas, then that’s your next best hero shot. Read our guide on the photos that will boost the performance of your listing.

lodge with hot tub hero photo
Here is an example of a great hero photo. The hot tub and countryside views encourage potential guests to click on the listing to find out more.

5. Lower minimum nights stay

During the initial weeks and months of COVID19 recovery, we predict that short trips closer to home will be hugely popular, in particular weekend road trips of 2 or 3 nights duration. Consider your minimum night stay requirements, even if only for a limited period of time, to cash in on this type of bookings. Again, flexibility is really important – guests can filter by length of stay, so properties with an inflexible 7-night minimum night stay will appear in far fewer searches, and receive fewer bookings as a result.

6. Allow children and pets

If you’ve not previously allowed children and pets in your vacation rental, now is the time to  review this. Domestic travel is set to spike later this year, with families making up a huge percentage of the total demand. If at all possible, we recommend allowing children, as this will have a noticeable impact on bookings. With 26% of people in the OK owning a dog, allowing pets in the property is another good step to take to increase bookings.

child and dog

7. Check your pricing

Review your pricing strategy for the year ahead, and compare your prices to the competition in your area. Compare your nightly price, weekend rate, any seasonal changes, and discount rates/special offers to see how you stack up.

8. Review any additional fees

Travellers are going to be more cost conscious moving forward, so go over any additional fees and deposits and consider reducing or relaxing them, even if only temporarily, as part of your recovery strategy to attract bookings. For example, if you have a cleaning fee, consider whether this is really necessary, and similarly if you have a large damage deposit – this can actually work against you and put potential guests off from booking your property.

We recommend lowering your damage deposit so that your property is more affordable. We partner with Pikl, a specialist insurer for vacation rentals. Having specialist insurance in place eliminates the need for a large damage deposit and immediately makes your property more attractive to potential guests.

Pikl and TravelNest

9. Adjust check-in and check-out dates

If you only allow check-in and check-out on limited days, this reduces your overall flexibility and your property will show up in less searches as a result. Review your current check-in/check-out arrangements, and try to offer this on as many days as you possibly can, to avoid losing out on bookings to properties with greater flexibility.

10. And finally ... big up your COVID cleaning precautions

Ensuring your property is COVID clean is super important and should be a top priority for your vacation rental. From conducting a risk assessment, to getting the right cleaning supplies and focusing on high-touch areas, our Ten COVID Cleaning Tips for Your Vacation Rental has you covered.

Find out more
about TravelNest

TravelNest gets your property seen in all the right places. We can list your property on over 30 of the best booking channels including Airbnb, Booking. com, Expedia, HomeAway, TUI and TripAdvisor.

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