8 Tips to Increase Your Vacation Rental Bookings in 2018
How to make your listing stand out: the tell-tale question for every homeowner or professional manager trying to gain more vacation rental bookings. What minor tweaks can you make to ensure that when someone looks at your property, they don’t head over to another and book that one instead?
As we get closer to peak season, it’s important to take a look at your property listings and optimize your accounts across every angle. At TripAdvisor Rentals, we spent the time digging into what makes listing traffic convert, and have discovered 8 quick and simple ways for you to increase bookings as we start peak season.
Whether you’re a new or existing homeowner, or professional manager, here are some tips to help you get the most of your marketing dollars.
1. Help your guests visualize their stay
Quality matters when it comes to your photos. The better the quality of the photos that are displayed on the profile, the more appealing the property is to travelers. Make sure pictures of the property are clear, and have good lighting. Try to get a high resolution camera and take flattering pictures of the interior of your property, as well as the exterior. Emphasize bright colors and unique features of the property. These pictures are super important and will make or break traveler’s interest in the property, as they directly show the quality of the listing.
2. Hook them with the title
They love your “hero photo” or main image. Now you’ve started to pique their interest! Use the title of your property to draw vacationers to click on your listing instead of a competitor’s. Steer away from generic titles such as “beautiful cabin” or “Resort unit C.”
Try to focus on creating a title that focuses on a unique aspect of the property, like a newly renovated kitchen or the spectacular views from the balcony. Examples of eye catching titles are “watch the sunrise from the newly renovated balcony” or “walk your dog on the beach” which emphasize activities that are special to your property.
Travelers are 7-8x more likely to book a property if the title is 80% words vs. numbers
3. Showcase unique aspects of your home
So, you’ve got them hooked and they clicked on your property. Now it’s time to keep them there. Start to tell your potential guest a story with your pictures and help them imagine themselves staying at your property. Highlight the unique characteristics of your home, and convince your future guest that they need to click Book Now. If the property specializes in pet-friendly accommodation, or if you have a lake with kayaks, let the public know!
If your property is in the Orlando area and you have themed rooms that would make a kid’s eyes light up, highlight that! Or show the parents a great spot that they can wind down with a glass of wine at the end of their day.
4. Take pride in your description
You’ve hooked them with your great photos and killer title, but now it’s time to really sell your guest’s next trip. The biggest thing to remember here is that you’re not selling a house: you’re selling a vacation. Don’t think of this like a real estate agent. “Open floor plan, 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with great big backyard.” Think more about that person booking your property, and what they want to experience while they’re on their trip. Remember, you know your home better than anyone.
Take your time, be creative, be unique and most importantly, be honest. Play to your strengths and highlight some of the rooms/activities in your pictures and continue your story. Make sure to set the proper expectations for your guests, and they’ll keep coming back for more.
5. Don’t skimp on the backend work…
Make advertising your property a priority. Travelers can tell if an owner hasn’t spent time on creating their listing. And that’s a real turn-off. So make sure your pricing is correct, the calendars are updated, and inquiries are responded to in a timely manner. Don’t lose out on bookings this way since it is easily preventable. The faster you respond to, the more likely a traveler will book your property.
6. Location, Location, Location…
Location is an important one to work on. At TripAdvisor, we’ve found that properties with exact locations on their listings are 2x more likely to get booked than those without. This is the time when you’re building trust with your traveler, so it’s important to be 100% honest about this – even if your property isn’t in the heart of the action. Not every traveler is looking to stay right in downtown or right by the beach, so by altering your location you’re not only losing trust with customers who are booking – you’re missing out on the ones who actually want to stay there.
7. Good Customer Relations
The way an owner or manager interacts with potential vacationers is hugely important. A traveler’s experience depends not just on the quality of the property, but on their experience with the homeowner as well. Be professional and friendly when communicating with the traveler. Make sure the traveler feels welcomed when they arrive and that their needs are accommodated. Travelers will not want to stay at a property with an unprofessional owner, no matter how nice the actual property is. If you build a relationship with a traveler, they may want to book with you again, and get their friends to book with you as well!
8. Last, but not least: Go Instant.
Over the years, the vacation rentals industry has been making a heavy shift into being “online bookable”. But if we’re being honest, this trend isn’t only here to stay – it’s not enough anymore. We’re now living in an Amazon culture, and travelers want to know that they can book your property instantly. Instant Booking was introduced on TripAdvisor Rentals in August. If you’re currently listed with us, learn more!