Marketing Your Vacation Rental

Build the Ideal Vacation Rental Listing Part 1 – Visual Appeal

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
5/5 - (9 votes)

As vacation rental homeowners, we often forget about the very basic building blocks of our marketing efforts, the online listing. Luckily, you don’t need to go out and get an MBA. When you simply put on your marketing cap and identify your property’s greatest assets – inside and outside – you can create a listing that is the most effective possible to bring you maximum booking success!


Hands down, the single most effective feature of a listing to a vacationer is its pictures.  Ideally, there should be as many posted as possible and they should be of great quality.  At a minimum, include an exterior shot, the living room, dining room or area, kitchen, at least one bedroom, a sun or family room, a porch/deck/patio, and the yard.

But don’t forget a picture of the nearest beach! There is not a home on the Cape, Nantucket or the Vineyard that’s not at least an easy drive from a nice beach, and, chances are, your prospective tenants will love seeing a picture of the beach they are most likely to use while staying in your home.

It’s so easy to take great quality pictures these days.  And poor resolution or lighting can indicate a dark, shabby, unattractive property – even if it isn’t!


Adding a video or 3D virtual Tour of your home and surroundings enhances your listing tremendously. Like still photographs, video tours are very easy to take and upload, and the posting of a 60-second video is free on all listings.  Especially if your property offers expansive views, consider creating a hybrid piece that includes streaming video of the views with a series of photo montages of the interior.  To learn more about our video and imagery services, visit our Marketing Services page.


If you have the opportunity to include captions with your pictures, seize it! Vacationers’ eyes will be drawn right to your pictures, and the captions underneath provide a great way to offer information not evident or obvious in the picture. With a few adjectives – such as “sunny” or “comfy” or “spacious” – a caption can evoke a positive impression about what the viewer is seeing.

See Part 2 of the Ideal Listing series, where we talk about getting the most out of your guest reviews.

So, what’s the status of your pictures? Do you have plenty posted? And are they clear and bright? If you have captions, are they descriptive and informative?


About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.


  • Thanks for this series on promotional advice. Most of us aren’t ad specialists, but we still need to utilize some marketing techniques. Presumably, the stronger the presentation, the stronger the response.

    • Thanks for your feedback! Yes! There’s no question that, as you say, “the stronger the presentation, the stronger the response.” With so much competition these days, it’s imperative to use every marketing technique at your disposal. Highlight your assets – and let us help with free advice. You shouldn’t need to be an “ad specialist” to create a very professional-looking and effective vacation rental listing. Stay tuned for the next installment of the Ideal Listing series in which I extol the virtues of posting guest reviews. Bottom line: they’re becoming critical to your marketing success.