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February 10, 2023
Tips for writing your airbnb description

Spend 90% of Your Time on 3 Things for a High Converting Airbnb Listing

Vacation Rental

The unfortunate pill to swallow for vacation rental property hosts like us who desire to deliver an elevated experience to guests is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out among the noise on OTA booking sites and achieve a high converting Airbnb listing.

It’s up to us to carve out a space for our properties in an increasingly flooded market that attracts the right guests eager to pay premium rates (and return over and over again). And that starts with an exceptional Airbnb listing (or your platform of choice) that will cause someone to stop scrolling the thousands of other listings, notice your property, and click to learn more.

The truth is, setting yourself apart starts before you even tour your first property to purchase. I wrote all about the questions to ask yourself to set yourself up for success, so if you’ve not quite made the leap into this industry, start here.

If you’ve got the place and are here for tips on writing a high converting Airbnb listing, there are 3 major components that will get your listing noticed and it’s where we should be spending the majority of our time as we write our Airbnb listings.

And if we don’t knock these things out of the park, we’re not even in the game my friend, so let’s get it right and focus our efforts in the right places.

The 3 components of a high converting Airbnb listing

the best Airbnb listing examplesSo let’s spend some time crafting a high converting Airbnb listing that will also attract your ideal guests.

The first thing I want you to do is to spend some time being a user of your OTA of choice. Take a look at it through the lens of your guest. I think far too often we get laser-focused on our property and forget what it’s like to search as a potential guest in our area.

Open an “incognito” window of your browser and search your area with no filters/dates entered so you can see what a NEW person looking in your area will see. If you use your normal browser it’s going to remember things about you, show your property to you earlier in the ranking, etc.

Which properties jump off the page for you? Why? What does your competition look like? What would you say are currently the best listings in your area? Are there any gaps you think you could fill? What could set you apart? Remember, we do NOT want to blend in with the properties you are seeing on this first initial search.

Now choose a location that is a high-volume tourist area and try to find top-notch listings there. Notice anything you’d like to incorporate into your listing? Take note of your findings.

Far too often I see hosts get caught up in the minute details of their listings (the rules, the lengthy property descriptions) when in reality, there are 3 things that are going to make someone click through to learn more and we have just 1 second to make that first impression before they scroll on to someone else.

The first step in writing a listing is to make sure your absolute top unique qualities shine through immediately. People will not hunt for them so they need to be front and center in your title, short description, and evident in the photo.

1. Writing an Airbnb title to get your property noticed

People quickly scroll OTA’s looking for a title and photo that catches their interest. Let’s start with the first step and make sure you have a title that’s going to attract the right people.

First, we only have 50 characters, so make sure to stay away from generic words that don’t evoke a response or image in your future guest’s minds like “great”, “good” or “nice”. These don’t separate your property from the pack. Instead, think of unique words that paint a picture or describe an experience.

Descriptive words that sell to use in your Airbnb title:

Hidden Gem
Couple’s/Family/Girls Getaway

Next, you need to combine one of those descriptive words with the MAIN things that set your property apart, are unique, and you want people to know right away. Here’s a madlibs style formula to writing your Airbnb description:

[Adjective] [Property Type] w/ [Top Features]
[Adjective] [Property Type] near [Main Attraction]
[Adjective] [Property Type] Perfect for [Experience Type]
Enjoy [Selling Point] at [Adjective] [Property Type] in/at [Location]

Finally, don’t be afraid to write a few options and switch things up and test different ideas until you get it just right.

Picking the right airbnb photos for your listing

2. The RIGHT kind of professional Airbnb photos

Did you know that Airbnb listings with professional photos get booked 2.5x more than those that don’t? I’d say it’s worth the investment and considering this is the first impression you make and one of the main components of a high-converting booking, this strategy is going to set you apart.

First, don’t make the mistake of hiring a real estate photographer, or at least one that only offers that service. We are not selling a home, we are selling an experience in a vacation home. These are two very different things and the photos in your listing should not look like those found in a real estate listing.

Instead, we need to be looking for a lifestyle photographer or a branding photographer. And as we elevate your strategy, you might need a mix of both. We’ve hired a lifestyle photographer and hosted a party at our cabin and had them capture people that qualified as our ideal audience, simply having fun on the property. It’s important that your future guest will be able to envision themselves enjoying your place because showcasing kids making smores around a campfire is different than simply listing “campfire” as an amenity.

Photos evoke emotion and portray an experience and in order to capture that we need to work closely with the right photographer so that the end result will be photos that get your place booked.

How to find the right photographer for your Airbnb

Airbnb photographers are a niche now, so it might be as simple as googling “Airbnb photographer” and your area. Another place I search for the right type of photographer is by following travel influencers in our area. Many of them are talented photographers and will couple photos of your place and promote it in one package.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a trade for a stay is even – this is their career (at least for the best ones) and a stay at your place is work, not a vacation. Expect to pay for their services AND allow them a stay at your place. Make sure whoever you work with, that they specialize in lifestyle, branding, AND real estate. This is going to be the difference between boring photos and ones that bring your property to life.

How to pick the right cover photo for your Airbnb listing

It is said that the photos will get your property noticed and the description is what will make them book. So let’s make sure you’re even in the game right off the bat. When guests head to Airbnb in search of lodging for their next vacation, they’re presented with A LOT of listings (7 million and counting with 14,000 new hosts joining each month in 2022) and they are scrolling really really fast. 

We need to pick the most inviting, visually striking photo you’ve got. The one that makes people stop in their tracks and stop scrolling or they’ll be saying “no” to your property by not even clicking on your listing.

We have 3 rules for the cover photo you select: it must: 1) portray one or more of the unique qualities you listed for your title. 2) attract your ideal guest and 3) stand out from the crowd of other listings.

Sometimes less is more and a simple but stunning photo will do the trick. 

A few quick tips for picking the photos in your Airbnb listing:

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you select the rest of the photos for your album:

-Less is more because people have short attention spans. Make sure to curate your photos down to the absolute best 15-35.

-Airbnb showcases photos in landscape form so make sure you include landscape photos, portraits don’t display as well.

-DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP: Write a description for each and every photo. Pull out that list of words to use from earlier and describe the highlight or amenity in detail.

how to write a high converting airbnb description3. The description: do this last.

Writing the body of your description is last (however it’s often where people spend the majority of their time) because someone is not going to even read your listing until they’ve been attracted to your photos and your titles. So once you’ve made it this far, it’s time to tell the story.

We’re going to start with a short description that provides an overview of the entire property for those impulse quick decision-making guests. What would you convey to your future guest if you had just 4-5 sentences to do so? Really limit yourself here because people’s attention spans are short. Often, they’ll like your title and photos figure out that you’ve got the 3 things they’ve been looking for, and move on to send an inquiry. It’s only the logical buyers that are going to read through every line and check all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. 

So let’s make this paragraph pack a punch, paint a picture, and briefly go through your unique amenities. I don’t want to see simply facts written about your home. I want to be able to envision myself there. So channel your creative writing skills and write those first few sentences:

Next, we’re going to go room by room and describe our vacation home in detail as if someone were walking through your rental. Make this feel like an experience however this can be a more matter-of-fact section of your listing description. Here, people will want to know if there’s a tv in the bedroom, an ensuite, etc. Get into the nitty-gritty details of each space as you verbally walk them through your property.

Finally, we’re going to try to paint a picture of what a vacation in your home could look like. Describe what their days could look like, and what close attractions there are. Even if the property next store is just as close to that attraction, if you’re listing describes it and how they could enjoy it – you’ll win the booking every time.

Looking for examples of top notch high converting Airbnb listings? You bet, check ours out:

Luxury Waterfront Cabin in Northern Door County

NEW! Cozy Waterfront A-frame in Door County (*the “NEW!” explains to guests why there aren’t a lot of reviews yet)

Private Peninsula Waterfront Cabin in Door County

Cozy H-frame Lake Cabin in Door County

That’s it, the simplified version of how to write the best Airbnb listing to get your place booked! I hope this narrowed your focus so you know what things to focus on instead of getting overwhelmed by all-the-things involved. If you’re ready for the next step I have a free guide with my best 10 strategies for an Airbnb business. Grab it right here.

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