With an estimated 1.1 million short-term rental listings available in 2021, the competition for guests is fierce.
While demand hinges on many variables a host can’t easily change, such as location or size, property managers can make small adjustments to ensure their properties stand out from the crowd.
Below are 22 ways you can easily optimize your short-term rental listing to attract more reservations in 2022.
22. Make sure your listing title is descriptive and catchy.
Which would you be more likely to click: “5-bedroom rental on a lake” or “Spacious 5 BR family getaway w/ private dock”? Catchy titles can make an impression and boost interest in your property.
21. Write your description in an easy-to-read format.
The average person will only spend 8 seconds looking at a webpage before shifting their attention elsewhere. That means a proficient reader will only make it through about 30 or 40 words of your description before moving on, so make every word count.
This doesn’t mean your description should only be a few sentences long — in fact, that’s a red flag to many guests. Instead, you’ll want to pack the most compelling information about your rental into the first few sentences and then break up the rest of your description with subheadings and short, punchy paragraphs.
20. Verify your listings.
Many listing platforms offer hosts the opportunity to verify their listings, which provides guests a third-party assurance that their listings are accurate and up-to-date. A verified listing is a chance to build trust and earn more bookings.
19. List all amenities.
Providing a detailed and accurate list of amenities helps guests know whether your property will meet their needs and expectations. Many guests filter properties based on which amenities are offered, so offering more amenities in your property will help you appear in more search results.
18. Offer flexible cancellation policies.
Guests want to book with confidence knowing their reservation won’t be canceled by the host at the last minute, but they also want the flexibility to back out of their reservation if something comes up. For that reason, most booking platforms encourage hosts to offer flexible cancellation policies and reward those that do with higher search rankings.
17. Respond quickly to messages.
Guests are more likely to book a property if they believe the host will be responsive to their needs. This begins with questions about the listing, so prompt replies to inquiries are essential. Many platforms prioritize listings from responsive hosts.
16. Include location details.
Without including the exact street address of your property, include information that describes the location of your listing. If your property is a few blocks away from a popular attraction or provides easy access to public transportation, be sure to outline that in your description.
15. Confirm your contact information.
Ensure your contact information is up-to-date with each listing platform so you can respond to inquiries about your property and build trust with potential guests.
14. Make sure the photos of your property are accurate and clear.
Although some booking platforms will allow you to attach more than 100 images to your listing, quality is better than quantity when it comes to photographs. Aim to include between 12-20 high-quality photos of your property in each listing, although larger properties or ones with unique design elements should include more. Consider hiring a professional photographer to really impress guests and show off the best assets of your property.
13. Choose the right cover photo for your property.
First impressions matter, and guests will judge your short-term rental by the cover. Consider the strongest assets of your property – perhaps it’s the cute seating area by the lake or the curb appeal of the front door – and select your cover photo accordingly.
12. Be honest about quirks.
If your property has any quirks that guests might not love (maybe there’s no parking on-site or there are train tracks nearby), it’s a good idea to disclose that information in the listing. On most platforms, guests will be asked to review the accuracy of your listing, so you don’t want to risk being accused of misleading your guests or hiding information.
11. Regularly check your listing for accuracy.
Revisit your listing description and list of amenities often to avoid accidentally misleading guests about your property.
10. Accurately describe sleeping arrangements.
Knowing how each bedroom is configured – like whether a room includes one king bed or four bunk beds – helps guests determine whether the property will accommodate their group comfortably.
9. Share your listing.
Post a link to your listing on social media or other websites to help potential guests find your property.
8. Price your rental competitively.
Short-term rental pricing is a delicate balancing act: Price too high, and people won’t even consider your listing; Price too low, and guests will wonder what’s wrong with it.
Futurestay offers automatic dynamic pricing powered by AirDNA, so you can set your nightly rate without lifting a finger.
7. Provide recommendations about restaurants and attractions.
If your property is located near any popular restaurants or attractions, mention it in your listing description. The detailed information can help your listing show up in search results and also help guests imagine the great time they will have at your property.
(Tip: StayFi allows hosts to offer a branded WiFi connection to guests. When guests log-in to your connection the first time, you can direct them to your custom guidebook to help them get to know your property and the area.)
6. Ensure all house rules are clearly outlined.
If there are any house rules that you expect guests to follow, be sure to list them in the property description (in addition to sending them to guests in pre-arrival communications). If quiet hours are enforced after 10 p.m. or your property isn’t suitable for young children, make sure to clearly explain these policies so guests are aware before they book their stay.
5. Consider your target demographic.
Is your property safe for infants? Or is it designed for a group of friends celebrating a special occasion? Include information in the description that appeals to the guests you are looking to attract.
4. Keep your calendar up-to-date.
If your property is listed on multiple platforms, it’s essential to keep your calendar synced across all of them to avoid double bookings. A property management software like Futurestay can do this automatically for hosts.
3. Clearly outline all fees associated with reservations.
Many booking platforms will communicate all fees to guests during the check-out process, but it is important to double-check that all service, cleaning and pet fees or security deposits are clearly communicated before a guest enters their credit card information.
Nothing is more frustrating to a guest than clicking on a listing for $100 a night and then finding the price is actually double that amount when all the fees are added.
2. Collect positive reviews of your property.
Independent reviews are one of the most important ways to build trust in your property. The more positive reviews you are able to associate with your property, the more likely guests are to book.
1. Activate your Futurestay account and reach out to your Customer Success Manager
As an independent short-term rental manager, you have an endless list of tasks to tackle when running your business. Futurestay can help automate the manual tasks and simplify operations to help you build, grow and optimize your entire operation.
Every Futurestay user is assigned a Customer Success Manager who can help you save time and make more money. Your Customer Success Manager will monitor your listings and let you know when there are opportunities to optimize.
Get started today by activating your Futurestay account.