How to Build the Perfect HomeAway ListingTruly exceptional HomeAway listings have a number of factors in common. Here's a guide for how to build a remarkable listing from the top to the bottom of the page. How many of these boxes can you check for your listing?
Your headline might be the single most important bit of text in your listing, so it's critical that yours is not just good, but GREAT.
A 5-Star headline:
- Uses the space available (70 characters max)
- Conveys the competitive advantage of the home
- Clearly defines the property type (ex. villa, apartment, home, cabin)
- Highlights an opening or availability (ex. April 10-17 Open)
- Offers a special (ex. 7th Night Free, Summer Specials, Spring Deals)
- Denotes non-repetitive location info (besides the website location info)
- Highlights an amenity or feature (ex. hot tub, deck, BBQ grill, WiFi, etc.)
- Describes the suitability of home for certain groups of travelers (ex. family friendly, pet-friendly)
- Specifies the distance to a nearby attraction (ex. beach access, theme parks, ski slopes)
- Uses correct spelling and consistent capitalization and punctuation
The Thumbnail Photo
When choosing a thumbnail, select a photo that is different from the others in your destination. Choose a picture that showcases something specific to your vacation home, like your living area, balcony or hot tub.
The best thumbnail photo (as with all photos you select for your listing) is:
- Properly Staged (ex. no clutter, vases/fruit on the tables, etc.)
- Well-Framed (object of photo is obvious, nothing interfering with focus)
- Clear (taken with digital camera)
- Identifiable (can tell what the photo is of)
- Showcases the feel of the home (photos clearly depict the style of furnishings, etc.)
- Showcases views, location or amenities
- Unique or exceptional
A picture is worth a thousand words and the Internet is a visual medium. Photographs are the most important selling features of your listing.
Your listing should at minimum include photos of the:
- View from your home
- Exterior of your home, building or complex
- Living area
- Dining area
- Master bedroom
- Each additional bedroom
- Amenities (pool, hot tub, etc.)
The Photo Captions
Photo captions are your chance to give renters more information about the specific features of your home.
Terrific photos captions:
- Exist for each photo (something written below each photo)
- Use the space available (50 characters max)
- Offer specific details about the photo (details about amenities, not just name of room)
- Contain property type keywords (include location keywords for search engine optimization)
- Use correct spelling and consistent capitalization and punctuation
The Property Description
The property description is a short summary that should paint a clear picture of your vacation home and the extras that you offer.
A standout description:
- Offers the property's selling points in first sentence
- Describes the home, not the location
- Details the property type and size (ex. 4-bedroom villa, 2500 sq. ft. home)
- Specifies bedroom info and bed setup (ex. size of beds, amenities in each room)
- Lists amenities
- Describes the home's suitability for certain groups (ex. kids, family reunions, couples)
- Capitalizes select keywords for emphasis
- Uses eye-catching numerals
- Talks to the traveler using “you” and “your”
- Uses correct spelling, grammar and punctuation
The Location Description
The description of your vacation rental property's location is a vital component of your ad and should not be overlooked.
An outstanding location description:
- Uses the map feature
- Offers the nearest mode of transportation (ex. bus, train, etc.)
- Clearly describes where the property is located
- Details the car necessity (do you need to rent a car?)
- Offers distance to nearby cities (are there other cities you can visit during the stay?)
- Describes the distance to the beach, mountain, lake, etc. (main natural attraction)
- Specifies the distance from metro cities (distance for driving guests)
- Names nearby landmarks or attractions
- Lists area activities
- Lists upcoming events
The Availability Calendar
Many travelers start their search for a vacation rental with a specific date in mind. While browsing HomeAway travelers will look at the availability calendar to determine if your property is open for their dates.
A superlative calendar:
- Has been updated within the past week
The Rental Rates Table
Next to destination, price is one of the most important factors for travelers when choosing a vacation rental. For this reason, HomeAway includes a structured rate table in each listing to make it easy for travelers to find and compare properties by price. If you do not currently use the structured rental rates table, you may be missing out on potential renters!
Your rates table should include:
- Name of your rental periods (ex. Spring, Peak Season, 4th of July Week)
- Rates for at least the next year
- Nightly rates
- Weekly rates
- Monthly rates
- Clear minimum stays
- Holiday rates (with specific dates)
- Reservation/security deposit info
- Fees and taxes
- Payment methods accepted
The Amenities Table
It may take some time and thought to complete, but the amenities section is a very important part of your vacation rental listing. Renters will often use this section when comparing two vacation homes side-by-side.
To effectively showcase your property's amenities:
- Fill out the table completely
- Specify bathroom details
- Specify bedroom details
- Use the “Notes” section to further explain property features
Think of offering reviews from past guests as additional marketing for your home. Your future guests will have the information and the assurance they need to make a decision which should result in more inquiries.
For the most effective reviews on HomeAway:
- Solicit reviews from at least 3 past renters
- Write an Owner Response to each review
The Further Details
The Further Details section is your opportunity to share any information that didn't fit elsewhere in your ad.
An outstanding Further Details section will include:
- Additional area info
- Additional property info (layout of home, history of home, etc.)
- Other area activities
- Golf or ski info
- A link to personal site or virtual tour
The Contact Info
The owner contact information should be the most straightforward part of a vacation rental listing, but you'd be surprised how many second home owners make serious mistakes.
Complete contact information should include:
- The owner's name
- A phone number
- An alternate phone number
- The best times to call
If you didn't check all of the boxes on this page, don't get discouraged. You can still create an ad that attracts renters even if you don't include golf info or an alternative phone number. However, the more complete your listing is the more comfortable renters will be inquiring about and ultimately booking your vacation home.
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