Remember that banner ad on the website you just came from? It was on the side of your screen and had a picture of something with some tiny words that meant nothing to you; odds are, the answer is ‘no’. The reason? Anyone can try to sell something to you in a few seconds, but if it’s not relevant or entertaining, you’re going to move on. The same goes for selling your rental property to prospective clients online: without great descriptions, photos, and some personal touches, no one will remember you. So how do you make your place shine amongst hundreds of other rental properties? We’ll tell you.
Though it’s not uncommon knowledge, it’s surprising how lax property owners are when it comes to photos. Keep in mind that the photos are what people see first. That tiny thumbnail image is the first impression people have about your property, so make sure it’s good. If you can afford it, hire someone (or ask a photographer friend very, very nicely) to take professional photos of your place. It’s the difference between “what about this place?” and “you’ve GOT to see this place”. Large, beautiful images rather than tiny iPhone photos sell a place way faster.
Another tip: choose your thumbnail image wisely. If your pad has a killer view or an amazing bedroom, go ahead and show it off. Can’t afford to show off the whole place? “If you’re on a budget, spend some time and money on making one room extraordinary and display it on the first photo people see. Eye catching rooms leave indelible memories and are more likely to result in a booking,” says Mercedes Brennan at 1ChicRetreat.com. Another budget-friendly tip? Sell the destination with a stock photography image. Is your VR located steps away from the beautiful Rockies, but all you’ve got is a disposable camera? Save your money on the photographer and buy a great photo of where you live to include in your images. After all, the destination is a huge part of the reason that a renter is looking to book.
Ever seen this ad before? It’s one of the most famous, purely because of the headline. People were curious about what the ad entailed with such a strange and seemingly irrelevant headline. While photos are important, what you say about your property can make or break a renter’s decision. A great headline is crucial to clicks, so make sure it’s an inviting and intriguing intro to your VR’s story. Adjectives that describe the feel of your place can do wonders; words like “charming”, “inviting”, “cozy” or “beachside” are just a few examples. Another tip? Make the reader curious about what information lies in the actual listing. Headlines like “Oceanside Villa Perfect for Families” or “Stunning Sunsets Await You” are much more creative and informative than “3 BR/2 BTH SLEEPS 8”.
Tell A Story
Just as your headline should be the intro to a story, your description should be the actual story. “You’ve got to incorporate both emotions and facts to master the perfect listing description. Emotion is a key component in a purchase decision. People don’t buy based on details alone; we take action based on emotions, says TripAdvisor’s Vacation Rentals Blog. Does your rental sound like somewhere you would want to stay? Does the list of amenities make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth? If not, try re-writing; instead of listing amenities, try listing the benefits that people will get from them. “Private fishing dock” could be changed to “Make unforgettable memories fishing with the family on our private dock.” If the customer knows what could come from your amenities, they’re more likely to see themselves doing it – and more likely to click the ‘book it’ button.
Go The Extra Mile
Every renter will appreciate basic amenities, but one of the advantages of a VR is offering up your local expertise to a renter that’s trying to live like a local. “Web smart guests want so much more than photos of a property and a list of amenities. They want, and expect, a pre vacation experience (what to see and do, host recommendations, itinerary planning) as well as the vacation itself,” says Alan Egan, rental vacation expert at rentmoreweeks.com. Make sure your listing is working hard for you by offering up expert knowledge of the area and willingness to answer any and all questions for recommendations. Have a list of FAQs? Take the time to make a short guide of these questions and attach it as a free PDF with local insider tips. When they do book your place, have something that follows up on your promises when they get there, like a personalized map, a treat from a local bakery, or even a simple handwritten note. Details do matter, and people will remember you when mentioning their vacation to friends and family or even writing a review.
Have any other foolproof ways to make your place stand out? Special touches, tips on photos, or a friendly welcoming present? We’d love to hear about it; share them in the comments below.