Managing Your Vacation Rental Marketing Your Vacation Rental Miscellaneous

Is your listing’s Property Description doing the job?

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
5/5 - (3 votes)

Whether you’re brand new to marketing a vacation rental home or have been listing one for years, is your Property Description is adequately marketing your property?

Keep in mind two important factors: 1) you have a ton of competition these days, and 2) vacationers are busy and want instant access to as much information as possible so that they can make a decision very quickly.  If they have to dig for it, they’ll simply move on to the next listing.

In our Ideal Listing series, we addressed the key elements to include in your Property Description:

  • the interior of your home (including the bed and room configurations, amenities you offer, etc.)
  • its immediate setting (the yard, neighborhood, any views)
  • its location and proximity to area attractions

We recommend that the information should be presented in a logical, easy-to-read style with complete and descriptive sentences – almost as if you were describing it to the viewer in person.

Here are some additional suggestions:

  • Be clear and concise. Vacationers are looking for information that may not be conveyed in your pictures – or may just need to be re-emphasized. And they don’t want to have to work hard to find it!
  • Let your love of your home come through! Without waxing poetic or sounding too “sales-y,” use descriptive adjectives (e.g., sunny, bright, comfortable, airy, charming) to convey a warm, positive perspective on your home. What do you love about it?
  • The benefits of full disclosure. There’s no such thing as a perfect home! Don’t be afraid to mention any shortcomings or quirky aspects of your home. If the only access to a bedroom is through another or if your stairs are extremely steep or you are on a busy road, be upfront about it. Not only will doing so save you and vacationers time and effort, but it will engender vacationers’ valuable trust in you. And the last thing you want is for your guests to arrive at your home and be disappointed or, god forbid, write you a negative review.
  • Make any shortcomings sound like advantages. If you can’t offer modern conveniences such as a dishwasher or cable TV, market your home’s “rustic charm,” allowing vacationers to experience the Cape and Islands the way it used to be, promoting tranquility and a connection with the environment. No AC? Mention that the cool ocean breezes usually make AC unnecessary. But, again, don’t be afraid to disclose any shortcomings – just do so through a positive lens.
  • Whet their appetites with some attractive images. Describe what it’s like to grill dinner on the back deck, or enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine on a deck or balcony, or stroll or bike into the nearby village for shopping or dinner. Look through your past guest reviews to see what guests have enjoyed in particular. Describe what it might be like to stay in your home for a day: waking up to birdsong, packing a picnic, biking/walking/driving to the nearest beach, coming home to an iconic outside shower, grilling a piece of fresh fish on the BBQ, enjoying the stars and s’mores around the firepit, etc.
  • Distinguish yourself from your competition. Is there anything unique about your home? Its history? Your history in it?
  • Cast a wide marketing net. You never know what your prospective guests might be interested in, so include as many specific details as possible. In addition to information about the nearest beach, include the distance to the following: tennis, golf, kayaking or paddle boarding, bike trails, whale watching, museums, walking/hiking trails, shopping, dining, art galleries, amusements for kids, ferries to the Islands, and sport fishing.

Take a look at your Property Description. Was it written years ago? Is it doing the job for you?

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.