How to write persuasive Airbnb and vacation rental listing descriptions

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A lot rides on your vacation rental property listing.

While stunning vacation home photos grab guests’ attention, your description is what will keep them there. But how do you create one that compels guests to read, then rent?

For the answer, we turned to Scott Woodard, Lead Copywriter, and Brit McGinnis, Copywriter and Editor, from Vacasa’s team of professional vacation rental listing writers. Here, they divulge the writing tactics behind successful vacation homes and how they leverage Vacasa’s data to drive bookings.

Address your target audience

First things first: consider who’s most likely to be drawn to your home. Are they adventurers wanting to stay near popular hiking trails? Or families looking for kid-friendly fun? Whoever your target audience is, use language and showcase the details that will appeal most to them. They’ll more likely feel that your vacation home is an ideal fit for their next getaway.

Know what visitors want in your destination

A key Vacasa advantage: we leverage our data on the top amenities that guests search for in every region. “We appeal to potential guests directly by including those amenities right in our taglines and descriptions,” Brit says. For example, Vermont visitors love traveling with their pets and look for dog-friendly properties, while visitors to Sunriver, Oregon, love homes that come with bicycles they can use, she adds.

Showcase unique details about your property

The vacation rental industry is rife with competition. So, take every opportunity to stand out. One way to be distinctive is to tout amenities and features you have that others don’t.

“Don’t be afraid to tell us details about your home—inside and out,” Brit advises. “We may know what guests want, but if your home was built with wood from the surrounding forest, has a backyard tire swing, or has a collection of vinyl records, we want to know it.

Every property is someone's dream vacation home, no matter how big or how glamorous. My job is to find the X factor that makes it so and talk about that.”

Answer guests’ questions ahead of time

Anticipate what guests will ask. Then, address them in your property description before they have a chance to. Most common questions guests have on their mind:

  • Do I need to bring my own crib or high chair?
  • Where will I park?
  • What’s within walking distance?
  • What stores are nearby to buy food and essentials?
  • What appliances are included in the kitchen?
  • Is the WiFi strong?
  • What public transportation is close by?

Keep descriptions snappy and short

People’s attention spans are shorter than ever. Try to limit your character count and avoid using flowery language, Scott suggests. “Our research shows that most Vacasa website visitors aren’t comfortable reading long, multi-paragraph descriptions.

So, try to keep descriptions between 700 and 1000 characters, and taglines short and sweet.” Easy-to-digest descriptions are also ideal for visitors scrolling and searching for vacation rentals on their smartphones.

Make your headline count

The headline, a one-line pitch for your vacation home, is most effective when you use it to summarize the property's most desirable qualities, Scott says. This is especially important since headlines are the first thing people see about your home on Airbnb and Vrbo. On Vacasa.com, we place headlines right above your description. Headlines should include draws like water views, hot tubs, private pools, beach access, or being dog-friendly. Not only will these phrases capture attention, but they help to draw the guest in even more and encourage them to keep reading.

Examples of effective headlines we’ve written for Vacasa homes:

Modern vacation rental management.

Your home is a success waiting to happen. We'll show you how.

Keep your rental property’s details up to date

Don’t let your descriptions collect dust. Stay on top of the details to ensure the content is fresh, Scott says. Do you still welcome dogs? Is the fireplace still safe to use? Is the community pool temporarily closed for repairs? Out-of-date information is the quickest way to disappoint guests. That’s why our writing team makes hundreds of updates a day to Vacasa listings—not just on Vacasa.com, but on every vacation rental site we list on.

Showcase outdoor amenities

Guests are drawn to gathering outdoors. So, tout all the ways your vacation rental makes that easy. Outdoor options worth highlighting include pools, hot tubs, grills, outdoor kitchens, and yard games.

Include special driving and parking details

If you recommend that guests have 4-wheel-drive vehicles (or if your destination requires them in the winter), make sure to include that in your rental listing description, Scott advises. Also include parking details. For instance, is a parking garage available or is street parking an option? Our team also considers boat owners. “We get specific details on docks so that our seafaring guests know if they can bring their boats,” Brit adds.

In a Vacasa listing, we often include those pertinent details as special notes supplementing the rental description.

Highlight work-from-home amenities

Some of the most sought-after amenities right now in a vacation home are media and WiFi access. “Be sure to mention if you offer high-speed internet suitable for Zoom calls or remote work and remote schooling,” Scott says. Our team also mentions any desks and office chairs available in the home. Plus, tell guests if your TVs are set up for streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu.

Boost searchability with keywords

Listings on Vacasa.com and channels like Airbnb and Vrbo can show up in Google searches. So, write with keywords in mind. Don’t assume what keywords guests are searching for when looking for vacation rentals in your area. Instead, our SEO expert suggests using tools like SEMRush or Google Keyword Planner for data on popular search terms to sprinkle into your listing description.

Specify surrounding attractions

Guests are just as drawn to what’s around as to what’s inside. Our Vacasa data analysts keep tabs on the most searched-for area attractions for every vacation home. Then our writers include those attractions directly in the rental’s description, Brit explains. In addition, our writers spend hours combing reviews to make sure the places we mention are popular and still open.

Proofread, then proofread again

Thoroughly review your copy before posting it, Scott recommends. Look for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, missing words, and excessively repeated terms. Descriptions are meant to help potential guests visualize a stay at your vacation rental. “Simple mistakes look unprofessional and can be a real turn-off,” he says. If hiring a professional copywriter isn’t an option, turn to a second pair of eyes for proofreading help.

Want even more help marketing your vacation home and standing out from the rest? Let’s chat about all the ways to get your home more visibility.

Vacation rental marketing FAQ

It’s generally a great idea to start listing on the biggest platforms first, since these sites draw in the largest numbers of people looking for vacation rental options. These large sites include Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com.

When you work with Vacasa, you can have access to prestigious vacation rental listing sites beyond those—like our own powerful e-commerce platform Vacasa.com, and sites like Homes & Villas by Marriott International that only partner with select professional management companies. See our breakdown of other big players in the vacation rental industry and why you should list your vacation rental on them.

First, consider your intentions with your vacation home. Is it an investment that you’ll rarely visit? Then decorate it to appeal to your target rental audience. Or, is it meant to be a second home where your family will vacation often? Embed some of your own personality into decor, while also considering what your Vrbo guests will want. Then, think about what ambience you’d like. You’ll want to design a cozy cabin much differently than a modern, high-end lakefront haven. Vacasa vacation home owners can take advantage of the Vacasa Interior Design program and get custom design created specifically for vacation rentals and their guests.

How to furnish your vacation home like an interior designer >

Yes, listing your home on both Airbnb and Vrbo—two of the most popular vacation rental sites on the market today—will multiply your chances of capturing attention and reservations. While the platforms’ main audiences differ (Airbnb is popular with millennial travelers, while Vrbo is a favorite of families), both of their audiences are so vast in size that you’ll get in front of many other types of travelers (Baby Boomers, couples, and solo travelers, for instance) by listing your home in both places. Visit our roundup of more vacation rental channels to list on.

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