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Vacation Rental Marketing Guide: Pricing and Listing Details

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Vacation Rental Marketing Guide: Pricing and Listing Details

Learn everything you need to know to create a vacation rental listing that appeals to your target audience and appeases the algorithms of listing sites.

Congrats! You've purchased your short-term rental property and are ready to list! Now it's time to start advertising your property and attracting potential guests.

In this guide, you'll learn everything you need to know to create a compelling vacation rental listing that appeals to your target audience and placates the algorithms of your chosen listing sites. From setting the right price to writing an enticing property description, you'll be well on your way to attracting more guests and generating high-quality bookings.

A frame cartoon house

Determine Your Vacation Rental Property Pricing Strategy

As a short-term property owner, one of the first steps to take before creating your property listing is to determine a research-backed pricing strategy that will help you attract your ideal guests and maximize your revenue. Here are a few considerations when you're working out your pricing strategy.

Research Your Competition

Before setting your rates, look at comparable properties in your local vacation rental industry to see how much they charge for a night's stay and any added fees. You'll want to price accordingly to stay competitive in attracting future guests.

Determine Your Costs

As the homeowner, you'll need to consider all the costs of running your rental property, including utilities, property managers, cleaning fees, maintenance, property taxes, and more. Be sure that your pricing strategy allows you to cover your expenses while keeping your vacation rental business cash flow positive. Remember, breaking even is completely fine for most owners. As long as the mortgage is being paid, you're doing alright.

Consider the Season

Depending on your rental location, you may experience peak seasons. Dynamic pricing tools are a great way to automate pricing adjustments for the varying demand levels you experience throughout the year.

Consider Your Location

The amenities and experiences your location offers can help you determine who might be visiting and how much they might be willing to pay. For example, if you own a condo at the base of an expensive ski hill, you can charge your new guests top dollar. But if your rental property is located in a suburb and is not within walking distance of major attractions, you will need to moderate your pricing to reflect that.

Experiment With Pricing

It's likely that the first pricing strategy you choose will not be your last. As you rent out your vacation home, you'll learn things about the market and make adjustments as you go. Be sure to let data inform your decisions as you periodically experiment with your rental's pricing to strike the right balance between maximizing nightly rates and maintaining occupancy rates.

House with ocean view

Create a Successful Vacation Property Listing

Hire a Professional Photographer

High-Quality photos can make a huge difference in how your property is perceived online. A professional photographer will ensure your photos are clear, and well-lit and highlight the home's best features.

Write Accurate and Detailed Descriptions

Make sure your listing accurately describes your property, the amenities, and any unique features that set it apart from the rest. You'll also want to detail any stipulations, like pet policies, if applicable. Your description should sound like it comes from a host who cares about providing an exceptional guest experience.

Think About Your Target Audience

Before creating your listing, you'll need to do some target market research. Are you targeting families, couples, or business travelers? Do you know your preferred guest's budget? Do you know why people might travel to your area and rent your home? These answers and more can go a long way in crafting the perfect description for your property.

Emphasize Location

In your rental listing, highlight your property's proximity to popular attractions, restaurants, and public transport.

Be Honest and Realistic

While it's great to highlight all the positives of your property in your listing, be sure not to embellish too much. If your property is small, don't try to make it sound more extensive than it is. Or if it's a 30-minute walk to downtown, don't list "walkable" as a main highlight. Guests appreciate honesty and will be more likely to leave reviews if they feel their expectations were met or exceeded.

Customize Your Listing

Like many property owners, you'll likely list your rental on multiple Online Travel Agent (OTA) listing sites like Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and HomeAway. It can be tempting to copy and paste your listing between these sites, and for some, that may work. For others, however, your audience might change drastically from one platform to the next. You'll want to evaluate each platform individually and create a listing to match the potential guests who find you there.

Learn Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

You don't have to be an SEO expert. Still, it will benefit you to at least understand optimization basics as you craft your listing. SEO can help you maximize your marketing efforts and make sure your online presence is visible to your target audience. Here are a few ways to incorporate SEO into your marketing strategy:

  • Learn what keywords are and how to identify relevant keywords for your target audience.
  • Optimize your listing title with relevant keywords
  • Optimize your listing for mobile screens
  • Encourage past guests to leave positive reviews
  • Monitor and update your listing regularly

SEO tiles

Boost Direct Bookings With a Vacation Rental Site

A vacation rental website is an excellent addition to your overall marketing strategy. Your own website will allow you to take direct bookings and have total control over the fee structure of your business.

Third-party sites like Airbnb and VRBO offer the benefit of a built-in audience, but with your own website, you'll need to learn some essential digital marketing tools to help you drive paid and organic traffic to your booking site. Here are a few tools you'll want to leverage in your marketing strategy to boost conversions.

  • Social media marketing
  • Influencer marketing on social media platforms
  • Google ads
  • Pay-per-click ads
  • Facebook ads
  • Advertise with local businesses
  • Email marketing
  • Leave business cards with your direct booking website in your property for guests

To learn more about these strategies and how to implement them, head to our guide: Vacation Rental Owner Marketing Strategies.

Are you feeling ready to list your property? OwnerRez is here to help. Check out our software's many features that help you develop an easy-to-use, multi-platform strategy for your vacation rental business.