How to Make Your Vacation Rental Listing Competitive

vacation rental

The renovations are complete, decor is installed and you’re ready to make your vacation rental listing active!

Publishing online on your own website or listing with one of the major vacation rental sites like HomeAway, Trip Advisor, VRBO or Airbnb is my recommendation. You’ll get the maximum number of potential renters with an online listing.

Here’s where you can get rewarded for all your hard work!

Assuming you’ve done your homework, and your rental is in a desirable destination your listing needs to show prospective renters what a wonderful vacation they can have at your pad. If your Airbnb is more suited to the business or relocating traveler keep that in mind when putting your listing together.

Key ingredients to keeping your vacation rental booked solid.


Create a headline to grab a vacation browser’s attention. Don’t just list the location or a cute description like “Beachside Cottage”. Focus on the location and amenities for a headline like “Sip your sunset cocktail overlooking Waikiki Bay from your bi-level deck” Even if your property doesn’t have quite that wow factor you can still get creative with an eye-grabbing descriptive headline.

What drew you to the property? What do other guests or friends have to say when they stay or visit? It’s up to you to paint the picture.


Photos will make or break your listing and it’s worth your time to get it right. Statistics show the most booked homes have 12 or more photos. Aim for at least that many to fully show indoor and outdoor areas of your listing. Bedroom, kitchen, living and bathrooms are “must have” shots.

If you’ve ever seen a listing with just interior shots, doesn’t it make you wonder what they’re hiding? It’s just as important to show the front of the property and outside living area.

If you’re not comfortable with taking photos, hire a photographer or get a friend who’s camera and computer savvy to help you.


Research what the going rates are in your area to come up with a successful formula. Know what category you’re in; Budget, mid range or luxury. Be realistic and price according to your properties amenities and location. Don’t forget to adjust your rates by season.

If you’re in a summer beach town that’s dead during the winter, then adjust your rates accordingly. What if your beach pad is in Florida and attracts snowbirds during the winter and locals during the summer? Then your shoulder season are likely fall and late spring.


Know your location’s appeal and highlight it in your listing. If your property within a short bike ride to the local vineyard district? Be sure to mention that as well as your bike rentals if available. Got a city short term rental within a block or two of world renowned shopping? You get the idea.

You’re painting a picture for your prospective renter looking for that special one of a kind experience. Airbnb is booking experiences along with rentals and there’s a reason why. Give a vacationer or business traveler something to look forward to that immerses them in the local neighborhood or culture and you’ll have a repeat guest.

Two separate approaches to tailoring your vacation rental listing

Vacation or Resort Style Rental:

  • For your renter who’s looking for a vacation getaway focus on the touristy vibe of your property.
  • Name amenities or nearby locations to visit, like beaches, sightseeing, local landmarks etc.
  • Got bikes, paddle boards or canoes you can offer renters to borrow?
  • Your listing can highlight what a relaxing or adventure-seeking vacation they can experience
  • Keep in mind renters want escape with a little bit of Fantasy Island thrown in. Show them they can have it and you’ll stay booked solid!

Urban or Business Style Rental:

  • For your renter who’s looking for an alternative to staying in hotels while on business, focus on the extra amenities they’ll look for.
  • Strong wifi speed, dedicated desk setup with lighting and comfortable chair would be a plus.
  • Let them know about nearby public transportation, coffee shops and print/fax/scan facilities.
  • Your listing can highlight the comfort and convenience your rental offers.
  • Let business travelers know they can have the comfort of home (probably better) while they’re traveling for work.

Whether you’re catering to short term vacation rentals for the vacation or business traveler, for the best results, keep your listing professional, truthful but with a shot of personality. Sell the exceptional experience renters will have in your property and keep it booked year round.

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