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Airbnb & VRBO & STVR – Vacation Rental Listing Guide

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Vacation Rental Listing Guide

Suppose you’re a homeowner or landlord; you might’ve heard of Airbnb, VRBO, and STVR. However, if not, don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered! These are online platforms allowing people to list their properties for short-term rental.

The best part about these services is you don’t have to be present at the property during your stay. They simply collect rental fees and leave the rest up to the guests.

As a result, anyone with a spare bedroom or an extra apartment can start making extra money by listing on one of these sites while traveling or when on vacation. So, suppose you’re thinking about Airbnb & VRBO listing tips to get you started; here are things you should know.

Why You Should Optimize Your Listing on Airbnb & VRBO

For every homeowner to maximize property potential, it’s crucial to optimize your listing on Airbnb and VRBO. When you do so, you enjoy numerous benefits, such as:

  • Higher rankings. The higher your Airbnb & VRBO listing shows in search results, the more likely someone will click through and book your property – putting it on a priority in its category.
  • You can get more bookings. When you implement this Airbnb & VRBO & STVR listing guide for your optimization, you make it easier for travelers to find what they’re looking for, thus, more bookings for you as your vacation rental because it’s shown prominently on search results.
  • You get better reviews. Any performing business is about what the customers say! When a guest has a good experience, they leave a review which helps you stand out and attract new guests.
  • Repeat guests. They’re ideal for any host because they stay longer, spend more money, and are more likely to refer friends.
  • Improved searchability. Potential renters search for properties on Airbnb or VRBO with specific keywords describing their needs. When you enrich your listing with such keywords, it makes the property appear at the top of search results.

Airbnb & VRBO Listing Creation & Optimization

An outstanding optimization requires the following:

Create Your Vacation Rental Listing

Before you list your property, you need to create a listing. This is the information about your property that will be displayed on Airbnb or VRBO.

It includes numerous factors to consider. However, first, you need to take outstanding listing photos with a reputable company and add descriptions to help potential guests understand what they’re looking at.

That’s where award-winning real estate photography – Captivity Real Estate comes in to help!

Then proceed with the following listings.

1. Property Type
Select the appropriate property type for your Airbnb or VRBO listing optimization. For instance, an apartment, house, or villa. This will enable potential guests to find your property based on their preferences.
2. Number of Guests

This is where Airbnb differs from VRBO. Airbnb will automatically calculate how many guests are allowed based on your property type and number of bedrooms.

Meanwhile, VRBO requires you to enter this information manually – but it’s simple!

Therefore, specify the maximum number of guests your property can accommodate. In addition, be realistic and consider the number of beds and available space.

3. Location
Provide accurate information about your property’s location by including the address and any landmarks or attractions available. This helps guests plan their trip and ensure they select what matches their preferences.
4. Amenities

Ensure you describe the amenities your home has to offer so guests know what to expect. This will help you sell your listing and ensure they book with you instead of someone else!

You can list the following:

  • Wi-Fi
  • Air conditioning
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Laundry facilities
5. Spaces for Guests

Ensure you describe the spaces available for guests to use, such as:

  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Living areas
  • Outdoor spaces

In addition, don’t forget to mention unique features or aspects of your property to make it stand out.

6. Listing Title

Create a catchy and descriptive title for your listing, highlighting its best features and appeals to potential guests. Include relevant keywords to improve your listing’s visibility.

For instance, suppose you’re listing a room in your apartment; use the location of the space as part of your title;

“Room in Northeast Ohio.”

Suppose a private room or cabin; focus on what makes it special;

“Cozy Cabin with Hot Tub Near Cuyahoga Valley National Park.”

7. Write a Descriptive Listing Description

Craft a detailed and engaging description of your property. Here, incorporate the factors mentioned above.
For instance;

Welcome to our beautiful 3-bedroom beachfront villa. Complete with a private pool and stunning ocean views!

You will enjoy a fully-equipped kitchen, spacious living areas, and easy access to shops and restaurants – the perfect getaway for families and friends seeking a relaxing vacation rental.

8. Create House Rules

Airbnb allows you to add house rules for guests staying at your property. Include these rules in your listing description for potential guests to view on Airbnb or VRBO page before booking.

Some of the common rules are;

  • Noise policies (no loud music after 10 pm)
  • Smoking policies (smoking allowed only on patios)
  • Pet policies (pets must be kept outside)
9. Set Property Availability
Keep your availability calendar up-to-date to avoid double bookings and disappointing guests. For instance, block off dates when your property is unavailable or you have personal plans.
10. Length of Stay Requirements

Set up minimum and maximum stay requirements to help you manage any booking more efficiently and attract guests looking for longer stays. 

For instance;

  • Minimum stay – 3 nights
  • Maximum stay – 30 nights
11. Pricing

Some of the common modes of pricing include the following

Per Night Pricing

Property per night pricing will give you the opportunity to charge more for peak season and less for off-peak. It’s a good strategy to suppose you have a property only demanded during certain times of the year.

Length-of-Stay Discounts

Offer discounts for longer stays to encourage guests to book extended stays. It will help you secure more consistent income and reduce the need for frequent guest turnover. E.g.,

  • Weekly discount -10% off
  • Monthly discount – 20% off

Last-Minute Discounts

Offer last-minute discounts to fill any gaps in your booking calendar. It will help you maintain a higher occupancy rate. E.g.,

  • Book within 7 days of arrival and receive a 15% discount

Early-Bird Discounts

You can offer early-bird discounts on certain nights or weekends to attract more travelers. This makes guests book earlier as they plan their trip later on. E.g.,
Book 3 months in advance and receive a 10% discount

Finishing Touches on Your Listing

As you wrap up your Airbnb or VRBO listing optimization, don’t forget to check the following:

Cancellation Policy

Select a balanced, flexible cancellation policy for your guests with the security of your bookings.
In addition, when selecting a cancellation policy, consider your property’s location, demand, and the level of commitment you expect from guests.

You may consider the following;

  • To offer a full refund for cancellations made within 48 hours of booking
  • A 50% refund for cancellations made at least 7 days before check-in

Additional Fees

Embrace transparency and include any additional fees guests may incur during their stay. 

For instance;

  • Cleaning fee – $100 per stay
  • Extra guest fee – $25 per night (after the first 4 guests)
  • Security deposit – $300 (refundable)

Consider Instant Book

Enable the Instant Book feature on your listing to allow bookings without a guest waiting for your approval. This makes your listing more attractive, leading to more bookings.

Ultimately, when it comes to Airbnb, VRBO, and STVR, you have more options than you may think – get your best deal today!

How To Leverage Real Estate Photography To Get The Most Out Of Your Vacation Rental listing

To get the most out of your vacation rental listing, leveraging real estate photography is crucial. High-quality photographs can significantly impact the success of your listing by attracting potential guests and setting your property apart from others. 

Start by capturing professional images that highlight the unique features and selling points of your vacation rental. Consider hiring a skilled real estate photographer who can showcase your property in the best possible light. When selecting photographs for your listing, take a look at comparable properties to gain insights and inspiration. 

Remember to include a variety of shots that showcase different areas of your rental, including bedrooms, living spaces, outdoor amenities, and any special features. These photos will not only entice vacation rental guests but also create a sense of trust and transparency. To maximize exposure, utilize popular vacation rental listing sites and consider creating your own vacation rental website. 

Additionally, encourage direct bookings by providing a seamless booking experience and offering incentives such as exclusive discounts or added amenities for guests who book directly through you. By leveraging captivating real estate photography and strategic marketing, you can enhance the visibility of your vacation rental, attract more guests, and ultimately increase your bookings and rental income.

Leave The Photography To The Pros & Hire A Real Estate Photographer

There are several compelling reasons why a vacation rental owner should leave the photography to the professionals and hire a real estate photographer. First and foremost, professional photographers has the expertise and technical skills to capture your property in the best possible light. They have the knowledge and experience of composition, lighting, and angles to showcase the unique features and make your vacation rental as captivating as possible to potential guests.

Secondly, top of the line camera equipment and editing software used by real estate photographers can significantly enhance the quality of the images. High-res photos with vibrant colors and crisp details are more likely to grab the attention of potential guests and make a lasting impression.

Furthermore, real estate photographers understand how to highlight the key selling points of your vacation rental. They know how to frame each room to make it look spacious and inviting, capturing the best angles that showcase the property’s unique characteristics.

By hiring a real estate photographer, you can benefit from their expertise, professional equipment, and ability to showcase your vacation rental’s best features. This investment can significantly improve your property’s appeal, attract more guests, and ultimately lead to higher occupancy rates and increased revenue.

Have Your Photographer Take Both Wide Angle Photos And Architectural Photos

Capturing both wide-angle and architectural photos of your vacation rental is essential for effective marketing and showcasing the property’s unique features. Wide-angle photos help provide an overall view of the space, allowing potential guests to get a sense of the layout and size of the rooms. These images create a visual context and help viewers envision themselves in the property.

On the other hand, architectural photos focus on specific design elements, details, and unique characteristics of your vacation rental. They highlight features such as architectural styles, intricate craftsmanship, or amenities. Architectural photos add depth and visual interest, allowing guests to appreciate the property’s unique selling points and stand out from other vacation rentals.

By incorporating both wide-angle and architectural photos, you create a comprehensive visual representation of your property. Potential guests can see the overall layout while also getting a closer look at the distinctive aspects that make your vacation rental special. This combination helps attract a wider range of guests and provides them with a more complete understanding of what your property has to offer, increasing the likelihood of bookings.

Highlight Amenities and Features Of Your Property

Highlighting the amenities and features of your vacation rental when taking photos for your rental listing is crucial for attracting potential guests and increasing bookings. By showcasing the unique offerings and desirable features of your property, you create a sense of value and appeal. This allows potential guests to envision themselves enjoying those amenities during their stay, making your rental more enticing compared to others.

Effective highlighting of amenities can include capturing images of a well-equipped kitchen, a cozy living area, comfortable bedrooms, a refreshing swimming pool, a spacious outdoor patio, or any other standout features your rental may have. These images serve as visual proof of the amenities and features mentioned in your listing description, building trust and generating interest.

Additionally, highlighting amenities and features helps set your vacation rental apart from the competition. By emphasizing what makes your property special, you increase its perceived value and make it more attractive to potential guests searching for specific amenities or experiences.

The Top Amenities To Offer With Your Vacation Rental (Airbnb, VRBO, Or Listing Yourself)

The best amenities to offer in your VRBO listing depend on the specific characteristics and location of your vacation rental. However, here are some popular amenities that tend to attract potential guests:
High-Speed Internet:
In today’s digital age, having reliable and fast internet connectivity is highly desirable for guests who need to stay connected or work remotely during their stay.
Air Conditioning and Heating:
Providing climate control options ensures guests are comfortable regardless of the weather conditions, making your rental appealing year-round.
Fully Equipped Kitchen:
A well-stocked kitchen with modern appliances, cookware, and utensils allows guests to prepare their own meals, saving on dining expenses and providing a convenient home-away-from-home experience.
Washer and Dryer:
Including laundry facilities in your vacation rental eliminates the need for guests to find a laundromat, enabling them to pack lighter and stay longer without worrying about running out of clean clothes.
Outdoor Space:
A private patio, balcony, garden, or pool area provides a relaxing space for guests to unwind, enjoy outdoor meals, or soak up the sun.
If your vacation rental is in an area where parking is limited, offering a dedicated parking spot or secure parking facility can be a significant advantage for guests with vehicles.
Entertainment Options:
Consider providing amenities such as a flat-screen TV, cable or streaming services, DVD player, board games, or a game console to keep guests entertained during their downtime.
Safety Features:
Install smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and security systems to ensure the safety and peace of mind of your guests.
Essential Supplies:
Stock your rental with basic supplies like toiletries, towels, linens, cleaning products, and a starter kit of essentials (e.g., coffee, tea, sugar) to make guests’ arrival more convenient.
Pet-Friendly Amenities:
If you allow pets, consider providing amenities like pet beds, food and water bowls, and a designated outdoor area or nearby pet-friendly parks.

Use A Twilight Image As A Hero Photo

Using a twilight photo of your vacation rental as the hero image can significantly enhance its visual appeal and attract potential guests. The soft, warm lighting and captivating sky backdrop of a twilight photo create a visually stunning image that immediately grabs attention. 

The dreamy and tranquil atmosphere evoked by twilight photos elicits an emotional response from viewers, inspiring a desire to experience a peaceful and enjoyable stay at your rental. Moreover, twilight photos excel at showcasing the exterior features of your property, such as landscaping, outdoor seating areas, or architectural elements, by enhancing their beauty and ambiance. 

By differentiating your listing with a unique and memorable twilight photo, you create a sense of exclusivity and luxury. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of bookings as potential guests are captivated by the image and compelled to click for more information. 

Furthermore, the shareable nature of twilight photos can amplify their impact on social media, expanding your reach and attracting more potential guests. By leveraging the captivating allure of twilight photography, you can elevate your vacation rental’s visual appeal and entice guests to choose your property for their next getaway.

If You Are Renting A House Have Your Photographer Capture Drone Photos

Drone photos are essential for renting a house as they offer a unique aerial perspective of the property. They provide a comprehensive view, showcasing the house, surroundings, and outdoor features from above. This allows potential guests to assess the property’s size, location, nearby attractions, and privacy. 

The captivating and dynamic nature of drone photos helps your listing stand out, enticing guests and increasing booking potential. With drone photography, you can effectively highlight the property’s unique features and create an immersive experience that attracts more guests to choose your rental.

Make Sure Your Photographer Has Their Part 107 Drone License

It is essential to make sure your drone photographer holds a Part 107 drone license for both legal and professional reasons. The Part 107 license is required by the FAA for commercial drone operations, ensuring compliance with regulations. By hiring a licensed photographer, you can be confident that they are knowledgeable about airspace restrictions, safety protocols, and emergency procedures. 

This helps mitigate risks and ensures a safe drone photography session. Additionally, a licensed drone photographer demonstrates professionalism and expertise, assuring you of high-quality results. They understand the nuances of aerial photography techniques and can capture stunning images that effectively showcase your property. 

Moreover, hiring a licensed drone photographer may align with insurance requirements and enhances your reputation as a vacation rental owner who prioritizes professionalism and safety. Overall, working with a Part 107 licensed photographer gives you peace of mind, legal compliance, and confidence in capturing captivating aerial images of your property.

An Example of a Zillow 3D Virtual Tour and Zillow Interactive Floor Plans

Stand Out With A Virtual Tour

A virtual tour can be a powerful tool for making your vacation rental stand out from the competition. Here’s how it can help:
Immersive Experience:
A virtual tour allows potential guests to virtually explore your rental property as if they were physically present. It provides an immersive experience that goes beyond static images, giving them a better sense of the space, layout, and ambiance. This interactive experience helps guests visualize themselves in the rental, fostering a stronger connection and increasing the likelihood of bookings.
Transparency and Trust:
By providing a virtual tour, you demonstrate transparency and build trust with potential guests. They can see the property from different angles, get a comprehensive view of each room, and assess the overall condition and amenities. This transparency helps manage expectations, minimizing the chances of dissatisfaction upon arrival and leading to more satisfied guests.
Highlighting Unique Features:
A virtual tour allows you to showcase the unique features and selling points of your vacation rental. Whether it’s a stunning view, a luxurious bathroom, or a spacious outdoor area, the interactive nature of a virtual tour enables guests to fully appreciate and engage with these special attributes. It helps your rental stand out and makes it more memorable compared to listings with only static images.
Competitive Advantage:
Offering a virtual tour sets your vacation rental apart from those that solely rely on traditional photos. It demonstrates your commitment to providing a modern and immersive experience for potential guests, giving you a competitive advantage in the market. It can attract tech-savvy guests who appreciate the convenience and detail provided by virtual tours.
A photo of the front of the Tallmadge Recreation Center, a brick building with a grey roof. In the background, you can see the tennis courts for the recreation center and the front of the Tallmadge High School. On the left side of the image, part of the high school football field is visible.

Take Your Listing To The Next Level & Have Your Photographer Take Images Of Local Attractions.

By adding images of local attractions to your vacation rental listing can be highly beneficial. Here’s why:
Context and Appeal:
Including images of nearby attractions provides context and helps potential guests visualize the experiences they can enjoy during their stay. Highlighting popular landmarks, scenic views, or iconic sites in the area can create a sense of excitement and appeal, enticing guests to choose your rental as a base for exploring the destination.
Enhanced Location Description:
Images of local attractions can reinforce the positive aspects of your rental’s location. Guests are often interested in nearby amenities, such as beaches, hiking trails, shopping districts, or cultural landmarks. By showcasing these attractions, you demonstrate the convenience and attractiveness of the surrounding area, enhancing the overall appeal of your rental.
Personalized Recommendations:
Including images of local attractions allows you to provide personalized recommendations to potential guests. You can showcase specific attractions that align with the target audience’s interests and preferences. This personalized touch helps guests envision themselves enjoying the local experiences and encourages them to choose your rental over others.
Increased Trust and Credibility:
Displaying images of local attractions adds credibility to your rental listing. It shows that you have firsthand knowledge of the area and can provide valuable insights to guests. This builds trust and confidence in your ability to offer a memorable vacation experience.
Extended Stay Options:
Images of nearby attractions can also appeal to guests who are considering an extended stay. By showcasing a variety of things to see and do in the area, you demonstrate that there is an abundance of activities and attractions to keep guests engaged and entertained for a longer duration.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Vacation Rental Listing Summary

Airbnb, VRBO, and STVR are online platforms where homeowners can list their properties for short-term rentals. By optimizing your listing on these platforms, you can improve your property’s visibility, attract more bookings, receive better reviews, and potentially gain repeat guests. 

Key steps for optimizing your listing include creating a compelling title and description, accurately listing amenities and spaces available, setting house rules and availability, pricing strategically, and considering professional real estate photography to showcase your property’s best features. 

Additionally, offering desirable amenities such as high-speed internet, air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen, and outdoor spaces can further attract potential guests. Consider incorporating twilight photos and drone shots to enhance the visual appeal of your rental property.

Frequently Asked Vacation Rental Listing Questions

A vacation rental property is a privately owned property, such as a house, apartment, or villa, that is rented out to travelers on a short-term basis for their vacation or temporary accommodation needs.
Property management for vacation rentals refers to the professional handling of various tasks related to the rental property, such as marketing, guest communication, bookings, maintenance, housekeeping, and ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for both guests and property owners.
To maximize rental income, ensure your vacation rental listing is optimized with attractive photos, detailed descriptions, competitive pricing, and availability calendars. Providing excellent customer service, responding promptly to inquiries, and maintaining a well-maintained and well-equipped property can also help attract more bookings and increase your rental income.
Efficiently managing multiple vacation rental properties involves streamlining operations, implementing centralized systems for bookings and communication, utilizing property management software, hiring reliable staff or outsourcing tasks, and maintaining consistent standards across all properties.
A property manager can handle various aspects of vacation rental property management, including marketing, guest communication, bookings, maintenance coordination, housekeeping, ensuring compliance with regulations, and providing expertise on optimizing rental income and enhancing the guest experience.
A successful vacation rental listing includes a compelling title, high-quality photos, a detailed and accurate description, a list of amenities, clear house rules, pricing information, availability calendar, and positive guest reviews to establish trust and attract potential guests.
Investing in a vacation rental property offers potential benefits such as generating rental income, diversifying investment portfolio, enjoying personal use of the property, potential tax advantages, long-term appreciation, and the ability to sell the property for profit in the future.
The vacation rental industry can contribute significantly to the local economy by attracting tourists and travelers who spend money on accommodations, dining, shopping, entertainment, and local experiences. It also creates job opportunities in property management, cleaning services, maintenance, and other related industries.
Property owners should consider factors such as local regulations and permits, competition in the area, demand for vacation rentals, potential rental income, property management options, maintenance and upkeep costs, and the level of involvement they wish to have in managing the property.
Property owners can ensure a positive experience for vacation rental tenants by providing clear and accurate property information, offering responsive communication, maintaining a clean and well-equipped property, addressing any issues promptly, and providing helpful local recommendations to enhance the guest’s stay.
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