HOW TO: Build a 5-Star Property Listing

Publish 5 star listing

In the digital age, web traffic has become all-important to small businesses, and parameters like keyword density and title tag alignment are defining the way we present information. Implementing your growing knowledge of SEO and other guidelines is critical to making sure your property gets found by potential renters. But what happens when they do find it?

Your online property listing serves as your vacation rental’s first impression — one that many web users will never move beyond — and it’s just as important as the traditional firm handshake and eye contact. So what are the elements of a listing that make vacationers want to get to know your property better?


One important thing that new website owners sometimes overlook is that there are many more places to fill in content besides just the body of your page. When your title tags, headlines and URL all include keywords that directly relate to your property and location, your listing will not only get seen more often, but will also give the impression that you take the time to attend to the details. This can only help strengthen the relationship between you and someone who is hoping to put their well-earned vacation savings and planning hours in your hands.


Dress the Part

Another surprising thing that is often overlooked is that your property images are the very first thing a site visitor will notice. For vacation rental owners and managers who have been listing the same properties for many years, it can be difficult to summon the motivation to stage the home for a new photoshoot, but this is so important. Take advantage of more recent technology or better yet, hire a professional photographer to capture everything that makes your home special. Images that are clear and visually arresting will take your listing to the next level.

Name Dropping

Here’s a simple one — give your vacation rental a unique name! While having [name of a popular destination] + [cabin] in the body of your listing is a great idea to boost your odds of being found by interested parties, it won’t help them find you again after looking through dozens of listings for cabins in that area. Names like “Frog Hollow Cabin” or “Kiss the Clouds” will stick out from a list of competing vacation homes.

Tell Us About Yourself

Now it’s time for you to set the scene. While it’s important to list popular amenities and provide the sleeping arrangements, the truth is that most vacationers have already discovered many of these things by looking at the pictures. The property description is your opportunity to tell a story about your location and create a mood that will draw the visitor in. Describing one perfect moment that can be experienced in your home is better than explaining the layout of the rooms.

Leave Your Card

Finally, make sure potential renters can reach you with questions — not only for booking. While it may be tempting to weed out conversations that don’t lead to immediate reservations, you may also be missing out on establishing connections that turn into regular business down the line. Offering a direct means of communication such as a business email or phone number also sets you apart from properties that are only available through large third-party OTAs.

Once you have your listing just the way you want it, don’t forget to make seasonal and annual updates! Keeping up with current rates and local events tells renters that you are likely to respond quickly and are knowledgeable about the area — both important when they are weighing the many accommodation options they have at their fingertips.

A well-written property listing tells site visitors that you are a professional who is running a business — not just someone in need of extra cash who occasionally rents out the spare room. In other words, it tells them that you are worth their time and investment.

[Photo credits: Frog Hollow Cabin in St. Germain, WI]

This article contributed by It’s Cabin Time® team member Courtney Cameron


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Cabin Joe

I grew up at our family-owned cabin/resort in northern Wisconsin and know first-hand how important it is for renters to BOOK DIRECT. Passion for vacation rental industry combined with professional skills in art direction, web design, search engine optimization and search engine marketing has lead to the rollout of seven state-specific, book direct websites – and a national brand. Watch our selection of regional sites grow at!

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