Set Up Your Listing Profile
Improve the hosting process & set expectations for your guests
Creating a quality listing profile for your rental is the — often underestimated — key to a successful booking strategy. The right combination of beautiful photos, engaging descriptions, a descriptive title, and friendly profile photo can turn your listing into a booking magnet.
Photos are Important
Guests make most of their decisions about a short term rental based on the photos provided on the listing profile. This is so important that Airbnb offers free professional photography to many eligible hosts. You can inquire about this service here.
Pro-tip: Even more crucial than photo quality is what’s in the photos.
If your listing says that there are 3 beds, show photos of all the beds. If one of them is a pull-out couch, you should have a photo that includes that couch, well, pulled out. Guests are often anxious about sleeping in someone else’s home, so showing them where they will be sleeping is a big deal.
Believe it or not you can have too many photos. When guests are scrolling through your photos, seeing 4 photos of the same bedroom from different angles does not help them. We have also seen it confuse guests. They see the same bedroom from a few different angles and incorrectly believe they’ve seen more than one bedroom!
Pro-tip: Change the photos of the outside of your home based on the season. If guests are booking your home for the winter months, it isn’t useful to see your backyard in the summer.
Showcase Your Amenities
If you have some great amenities like a nice coffee maker, a basket of snacks, or a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, be sure to showcase them in your photos. It can help your listing stand out when potential guests are comparing your photos to someone else’s listing. Guests believe it when they see it. You may have checked off Essentials in your amenities, but if a guest can see the towels and shampoo in a photo waiting for them, they feel confident it’s provided.
Writing Engaging Descriptions
If you don’t have the time to dedicate to this, there are some property managers and freelancers who can do it for you. Alternatively, you can hire a service like Guesthook.com, a vacation rental copywriting agency. They specialize in writing text that will highlight the best attributes of your listing.
Your listing name is a big part of getting potential guests to view your listing profile. Use it to show off the sexiest part of your listing. Don’t waste these valuable characters mentioning something they likely already entered into the search filters. Many listings we see mention the number of bedrooms: “Scottsdale 3BR, 3BA. Sleeps 6!”. Your potential guest already filtered for results that sleep the number of guests they will be staying with so every listing they are seeing sleeps the right number of guests.
Instead, describe a unique quality about the home or the location. Something your guests couldn’t gather from the photo. Try to capture how your place feels to attract the right kind of guest. You can even target your ideal guest in your listing title (ex. Family-friendly Vintage Brownstone). Remember, your job here is just to get them to click, once they’re in your profile, the rest of your content will shine.
Examples of good listing titles:
- Relaxing Condo with Lakeview
- High Value Apt Downtown
- Historic Colonial Apartment
- Private Oasis with a Pool
- 1900's Victorian Art Studio
- Glamorous Miami Penthouse
- The Philadelphia Experience
Pro-tip: Airbnb ranks your profile. If too many people view your profile without booking, you start to drop in the search results. Conversely, if your conversion rate is high, you’ll get ranked higher. Guests that match the vibe of your listing are also more likely to be happy and leave you good reviews.
Your Host Photo
Booking a homeshare is a unique experience because in addition to booking a place to stay, guests are booking a host. Use a photo that shows your face clearly and is friendly. Guests want to feel like they can trust you. If your photo is a picture of you standing in front of a famous landmark and they can’t see your face, it’s a lot tougher to convince them you’re a friendly and welcoming person with whom they may want to stay.
This is an excerpt from our original white paper series: Hands-off Hosting, which was distributed in PDF format. It has now been adapted into a series of posts on this blog which you can find here. Another white paper series we published is “Listing Site Independence, A Cheat Sheet” which has also been adapted to our blog. You can find that series here.