Vacation homes are becoming an increasingly popular accommodation option for travelers, especially those traveling with families or a group of friends. It's easy to see why: Vacation homes offer more space, privacy, and unique amenities like a kitchen, fire pit, or private pool. On average, staying at a vacation rental is more affordable than hotels because groups can split the cost several ways.
Homeowners can earn an impressive income from creating a listing and renting their primary or secondary homes to travelers. Contrary to popular belief, owners do not have to rent their homes year-round. With Vrbo, owners are in full control of the availability, pricing, and house rules and can rent their places on their own terms.
Many owners only choose to list their homes during high-traffic travel seasons or during popular local events, like music festivals, holidays, or major sporting events. In 2018, travel demand for Austin vacation rentals spiked 30 percent during the first weekend of ACL and owners in the area earned an average of $2,032 for just four nights. Talk about easy money.
Creating your first vacation rental listing may seem daunting, but it's well worth the potential rental income. Here are four easy steps for making your vacation rental listing stand out and generate bookings.
1. Stage and shoot
Stage your home so guests can visualize using the space. For example, if you have a picnic table on your patio, set the table with nice dinner settings and wine glasses. Add pops of color throughout to make your listing come to life in photos — whether that's with throw pillows or a bowl of fruit in the kitchen.
Beautiful, well-lit photos help travelers imagine what it would be like to stay at your property. Travelers love taking photos while they're on vacation, so make your listing as Instagrammable as possible. Consider investing in a professional photographer who can help you capture the best shots and also assist with lighting, editing, and color correction.
2. Highlight unique amenities
One of the best parts of staying at vacation rentals is that every property is different and comes with distinctive amenities that you wouldn't find at just any hotel. If you own something special or attractive that sets your vacation home apart from others, make sure you highlight it in your listing description and feature it in your photos.
Some examples could be deluxe kitchen appliances (like a Nespresso machine), home theater or game room, outdoor fire pit or hot tub, or bikes that guests can use to explore the neighborhood.
3. Personalize the experience
Go above and beyond in the hospitality department to make sure guests feel welcomed and special when staying at your vacation home. A little bit goes a long way!
Create a guest book with recommendations for local restaurants, bars, retail areas, and attractions. Consider leaving a six-pack of local craft beer or coffee beans from a local coffee shop in the kitchen, and soaps and candles from a local artisan in the bathroom for your guests to try.
And remember that people love traveling with their fur babies, so if you're a pet-friendly home, have a doggie bed or treats ready for guests who bring their pets.
Vacation rentals are often used for group or family trips, and you'll usually learn that guests are celebrating a milestone birthday or anniversary, bachelorette party, or family reunion. Consider providing champagne or balloons to help make their memories extra special.
4. Read and respond
Travelers almost always read reviews before booking vacation rentals, so not only is this great feedback for you but it also helps future travelers in their searches and decision making. Read all your reviews — guest feedback may inspire a way to improve your property or listing in the future.
You also have the ability to respond to your guest reviews if they left a complaint. Acknowledging and thanking them for their honest feedback is important.
Considering renting out your home for the first time? Vrbo is offering three-day wristbands to the ACL Music Festival and access to the Vrbo backstage for owners in Austin. Learn more here.