There’s a lot of competition when it comes to vacation rentals in Florida. How can you make your property stand out on all the popular booking sites that visitors are using when they choose a place to stay?
It starts with good reviews. No one is going to book your home if there’s a long list of complaints from former guests who were not happy with their stay.
You’ll stand out with those five-star reviews as well as fantastic photos, unique offerings and amenities, and the right location. Think about what your vacation renters are looking for. They’ll want to be close to all the fun things there are to do in your area. They’ll want comfortable furniture, an easy booking process, and competitive rates.
As a professional vacation rental management company, we work with listings all the time to make them stand out in a crowded market. Here are some of our best recommendations.
Photos for the Win
The pictures in your vacation listing are more important than the description, the terms, or the contact information. Your rental property will stand out when you have fantastic photos to show off your home and tell the story of what it’s like to stay there.
According to industry studies conducted by Airbnb, vacation homes that use professional photos are likely to earn as much as 40 percent more revenue than those that don’t use professional photos.
Whether or not you hire a photographer is up to you, but if your goal is to help your listing stand out, you might want to consider it.
On many vacation rental platforms, you can include up to 50 photographs. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests, but you do want to provide enough imagery to let them connect emotionally with your property. You should always include photos of:
- The front door or the outside of your home.
- Any outdoor space, including yards, balconies, or patios.
- Kitchen and its appliances.
- Bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Common or living areas like dens, dining rooms, and family rooms.
- Garages or parking areas.
- Amenities such as pools, hot tubs, garden tubs, loft space, etc.
- Appliances like coffee makers, toasters, and washers/dryers.
- Special features that your property might include.
Make sure the photos are clear and the property is clean and looking its best.
Choose the Right Furnishings and Décor
A listing that sets itself apart needs to showcase a great property.
Vacation rental properties need to be appropriately furnished. As potential guests scroll through your photos, they’re going to look closely at what you’re offering in terms of beds, tables, outdoor furniture, and appliances.
As you choose furniture for your vacation rental, invest in high quality pieces that are durable and easy to maintain. You don’t want to buy the most expensive furniture because you’re going to have a steady stream of visitors and guests using it. There’s likely to be a lot of wear and tear. Instead of buying top of the line furniture, look for easy-to-clean and maintain items that won’t break your budget.
Heavy recliners and sleeper sofas will be difficult to move when it’s time to clean. Beds that rise high off the floor, however, provide storage underneath for extra linens or suitcases. It’s also easy to sweep, mop, and vacuum.
Sofas, couches, and chairs do not need to be leather, although that type of furniture can be easy to simply wipe clean. Look for fabrics that are attractive and comfortable but easy to clean, like micro suede.
Bed linens should be comfortable and attractive. Guests will notice pillows in your listing, and blankets. Towels should be fluffy and clean. Make sure there are enough plates, silverware, and cups and glasses for the number of guests your home can accommodate.
If you want to stand out in the market, your vacation home has to look like it’s welcoming and prepared. Prospective guests have to have a good opinion of it before they even arrive.
Offer Attention-Grabbing Amenities
Depending on where your vacation rental is, guests will be looking for specific amenities that meet the needs of their travel plans. If you’re close to the beach, you’ll want to provide a beach umbrella, a couple of beach chairs, and maybe a cooler. If you’re close to a lake or a river, consider offering kayaks and paddleboards.
Guests won’t want to bring their own recreation equipment, so when you provide pool toys and tennis racquets, you’re going to attract more visitors.
Consider a fire pit in the backyard or a game room that includes a pool table, dart board and gaming platforms like Wii and PlayStation.
If your property has a pool or a spa or is located in a community that offers walking trails, coffee shops, and restaurants within walking distance, be sure to mention those amenities in your listing. You’ll get the attention of guests who are looking for exactly those things.
Always include the basics, like internet service.
When your property is pet-friendly, you’re likely to attract a lot more interest. More and more people are traveling with their pets, and when you’re willing to welcome someone’s dog, cat, or other pet, you’re going to get a lot more attention than those homes that won’t consider pets. Provide pet-friendly amenities, especially when you know you have a guest arriving with a pet. Dog beds can be a big help, treats are always appreciated, and you can provide doggie bags for easy clean up when they’re on walks.
Stand Out with a Competitive Price
The right price will attract a lot of attention.
Most vacationers have a specific budget. They’ll search for properties that fall within that budget. You want to make sure you are priced competitively with other vacation rentals in your area. An overpriced vacation home will not be rented. When you price your property too high, prospective visitors will keep looking.
There’s also a danger in pricing your vacation home too low. Guests might be suspicious of the price, and question whether there’s something wrong with your home.
Do a little research in your local market to find the right price for your vacation rental property. Take a look at what similar homes are renting for. This will give you an idea of where you should be.
Property managers will have some of the best and most reliable data. If you’re having trouble feeling good about a price, ask for some support. A lot of times, the rental platforms you use, such as Airbnb, will make recommendations on what you should charge. It’s valuable information to have, but remember that they are not local platforms. They don’t have any intimate knowledge of your area or your property.
Always price for season and according to your competition. You’ll also want to consider offering discounts for longer stays. If your nightly price is $200, for example, maybe a one-week stay would drop down to $180 per night. A month-long stay could provide an even deeper discount. Guests will appreciate getting a break.
Deliver Five-Star Guest Experiences
A vacation rental home with great customer reviews always stands out. Think about your activities when you’re looking for a place to book. You read the reviews, don’t you?
Always publish your reviews, and thank guests for leaving them. Ask your departing visitors to please leave a review. When you’re able to show off the positive experiences that former guests have had, you’re ensuring potential guests in the future that they’re making the right choice by booking your property.
When a traveler has the option to book a home that has zero reviews or a similar home in the same price range that has 25 positive reviews, you know they’re going to choose the well-reviewed home. It’s just basic consumer behavior.
Your home will stand out in a positive or negative way based on the reviews that guests leave.
Establish a Relationship with Guests
When you can make guests feel welcome and important before they book, you’re really going to make a good impression on the market.
Speak directly to the guests who are considering home when you write your listing. Talk about how they’ll feel when they’re at your property and what you can offer that other homes cannot. They’ll be reading what you write against the backdrop of your photos, so make sure you’re providing a full experience.
Always be available and responsive when potential visitors reach out with questions or requests for more information. Be honest in what you provide. If your home is not child-proofed, don’t tell someone that it is. You want to be open and transparent, and you want to make sure you’re a good fit for all of your potential renters.
Once they’ve booked, provide information about the home and the location. Give them a good experience from the very beginning, and you can anticipate high praise and fond reviews at the end of their stay.
These are just a few ways to help your vacation rental stand out. If you’d like some professional support, we can provide it. Contact us at Anchor Down Real Estate and Rentals for a better vacation rental experience.