Vacation Rental: Test Out Your LISTING’s Writing QUALITY, You’ll Be SURPRISED


About the writers

This article has been written by Pierre and Gwen, from the Eldorado Immobilier blog. Former engineers and senior executives, they decided to become independent by developing their vacation rental activity. They open at least one new rental each year and have a + 100% occupancy rate (indeed sometimes, travelers leave earlier and the property is being rent a second time), which is pretty good!

They try out multiple techniques and share their results with their community of active owners.

Writing a listing for a short term rental website such as Abritel, Airbnb, Booking or TridAdvisor can be done by any owner who wants to rent its accommodation.

But once the listing has been written, only a few owners keep working on it… or even ask themselves if the listing’s description should be modified or developed, even after a few years, in this ever-growing industry.

However, do you know that bringing a few changes can impact deeply your listing’s number of views and click-through rate? This has a direct impact on your bookings!

Only a few details separate an owner who can rent its accommodation throughout the year and someone who only does during the high season. Their listing’s quality of writing has a big part to play in this.

As we intend to always question ourselves in order to rent more and not to rely on what we currently think we know, we decided we had to write down our listings’ statistics on an Excel sheet. The results were very surprising, but we’ll talk about it later.

Let’s start with the beginning.

You need to realize that your listing isn’t perfect

To illustrate this, let’s imagine that 1,000 potential customers read your property’s listing each month on Airbnb and that 100 of them click on its title, wanting to know more and to access its description.

Among those 100 visitors who are reading your vacation rental listing, let’s say you receive 10 requests, among which only 1 firm booking is made.

You conversion rate is of 1 for 1,000, which makes 0.1%.

This rate illustrates what most owners go through,which is rather low.

It could be easily multiplied by 10, and only thanks to your writing quality.

Start driving tests in order to choose which changes should be brought to your listing

Most of you owners, being overwhelmed with work, may think that regularly writing a new version of each listing is boring.

You may also add that as you chose to work with Airbnb or Abritel, you were hoping for an all-inclusive price - writing your listing once, and that’s all.

That’s what those marketplaces are for, and why you pay them.

If that’s what you think, you are just like the majority of holiday cottages, guestrooms and hotel managers.

Most of them highly underestimate the importance of their writing quality in order to get an effective and powerful text, which can catch the travelers’ attention.

This is why we see short and poorly written listings descriptions so often (are you feeling concerned?); they can even contain huge mistakes.

Let’s take, for example, this listing for a holiday cottage in France where the owner wrote: “listing’s title: countryside cottage, quiet, listing’s description: …” . When reading that, you may think that the owner doesn’t really care, and didn’t even take the time to proofread his ad before publishing it. He simply copied/pasted what he had previously written.

And that doesn’t make you want to book.

We wanted to illustrate our arguments and show that a great writing impacts the amount of conversions from visitors into vacation rental customers, so we set up a little experiment.

Step 1 - We worked on a simple text, using a more formal language, you can check it out here on this French listings website: LeBonCoin.

We chose to post on that famous French website as it delivers statistics that can be immediately checked and used.

Step 2 – Same ad but much more synthetic, using an everyday language. We wrote it in a few seconds only and used, let’s say… a different kind of grammar and syntax.

Step 3 –We published the two ads on a very short timeframe on the specialized website.

We used the same pictures for both, and wrote the same title. We even tested a cheaper version for the one with the shortest description.

The results speak for themselves.

Even though the number of views is higher for the listing with the shortest description, the received emails and click-through rates are much lower; this also works for the amount of bookings.

Concerning the ad with a better writing, we have 59 actions for 108 views, which make 55%.

On the second case, I guess we can assume that a lot of viewers got discouraged by the concise text - only 8 actions for a total of 166 views, which represent less than 5%.

That’s a huge difference; though, if you’re the second owner, you won’t necessarily question yourself as you still received bookings… And that’s an elementary mistake, as more bookings mean a possible increase in your price, or even opening a new cottage – knowing it will be booked.

Your property’s details are essential

This little experiment seems to illustrate and prove that taking great care of your ads’ writing is a must-do.

You’ll often find advice on how taking great pictures of your property or writing a great catchy title are important, those advice are justified and effective to receive an important number of views - but never underestimate the importance of the conversion rate.

The number of bookings received per day is the only indicator you must follow as it automatically translates into more bookings, so more profitability and a greater peace of mind for you.

If your ad’s text isn’t catchy and trustworthy enough, people will just go on with the next listing and that’ll be over for your property.

Grammar and syntax errors will only make it worse, as travelers may think you don’t pay enough attention to your holiday rental, so they have no interest in staying at your place.

As a conclusion

We can only encourage you to study your listing’s statistics.

What if you were to optimize all the parameters available? Get a better title, take better pictures, and work on your text a bit more seriously.

If 1,000 people see your ad, and let’s say 250 click on it, which could transform into 40 bookings; that makes a great difference, doesn’t it?

Your conversion rate was multiplied by 40 without any great effort.

That’s what we call the butterfly effect, and that’s magical!