Best Vacation Rental Headlines
Headlines are an essential ingredient of your successful vacation rental property description. Also called “property titles,” “titles,” “property name” etc., what we’re talking about here are the words that appear directly under your property listing on the major listing platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo.
If done right, headlines (and their accompanying feature photo) will hook your potential guest and encourage them to at least learn more—if not go ahead and book!
Headline Do’s and Don’ts
Below, get some help crafting your headline from pro travel copywriters at Guest Hook. We’ll look at some of the common headline mistakes as well as the tips and tricks that have served us well over the years.
- Don’t use ALL CAPS. Though it may seem like capital letters call attention to your listing and emphasize how awesome it is, our professional opinion is that it instead reads “salesy” at best, and “scammy” at worst. For those who are used to digital communication, all caps feels like shouting, which feels like an uncomfortable interaction with an over-eager used car salesman.
- Don’t be too wordy (or too minimalist). You want to find the sweet spot for your headline, which hits your selling points without unnecessary words. Airbnb allows for 50 characters (that includes letters, numbers, symbols and spaces) in your headline. Vrbo allows for up to 80 characters (and requires a minimum of 20).
- Don’t re-state obvious info. By default, the major platforms will include your bed/bath count, star reviews, and general location (usually just your town/city name) right next to your headline. No need to repeat these in your headline and waste space. Note that if your specific location is something to shout about, like your neighborhood, or distance to a popular landmark, do put that in your headline.
- Don’t copy what other people are doing. Some who are new to short-term rentals will simply look at what other people are using for their headlines on Airbnb or Vrbo and copy them. This isn’t a great idea, for a couple reasons. First, right off the bat you’re setting yourself up to blend in with the crowd when what you really want, from a marketing standpoint, is to stand out. Plus, you have no way of knowing whether the headline you’re copying actually works! The best way to do that is to test your own, and hone and refine over time (more on that below!).
- Don’t use too many abbreviations. It might be tempting to use abbreviations to squeeze more info into your headline. But there is a downside—it can start to feel like you’re speaking an alien language. Guests might not be able to figure out what “Dntn 2br w/ pvt pool” actually means.
- Use Title Case in Your Headline. <– It looks like that. This follows the basic journalistic and advertising style, which is crisp, professional, and easy on the eyes. Not all words are capitalized in Title Case format, so when in doubt, use this handy Headline Capitalization tool.
- Focus on ONE major selling point. Because space is limited, use your headline to focus on your #1 showstopper. That may be an amenity, like your hot tub or ocean views. It may be an overall design vibe at the property, like “urban bohemian” or “industrial glam” (design is becoming increasingly popular for vacation rentals in the age of Instagram—but that’s another post!). It may be a feature of your location, like “The Beach is Your Backyard” or “Tucked into Towering Redwoods.” Or it may be a phrase that speaks to your target audience, like “Pet-Friendly” or “Business-Traveler Friendly.”
- Update your headline from time to time. If you’re in a four-season destination, for example, create different headlines around ski season, spring wildflowers or autumn leaves and cycle them when guests start booking for that upcoming season. You can also use your headline to announce a special promotion—just be sure to do this in addition to focusing on your unique selling point! Another hot tip: keep informed about big local events, and update your headline to include your distance to those events as they approach. Potential guests will appreciate the quick info, even if you’re NOT the closest option.
- A/B test your headline. Related to the above, you’ll also want to perform a copywriting A/B test, which is simply to try two different headlines and compare which performs best. If you notice a bump in your bookings after switching your headline, make a note of it. There could be many reasons for the bump (including the algorithm favoring updates) but regardless, it’s good data to collect.
- Test with and without the property name. We like to include the property name (if available) in our headlines, because vacation rental owners have often thought long and hard about those names, and as a result, it can captures some essential good stuff about the property. Including the property name also has the added benefit of giving guests something to Google—perhaps they’ll even find your own bookings-enabled website (wink wink)! That said, there are arguments to be made for NOT including your property name in the headline. Like lack of space or a property name that’s not particularly unique or catchy.
Examples Of Great Vacation Rental Headlines
We chose some of our clients’ headlines and searched Airbnb and Vrbo for branded and unbranded headlines that jumped out at us. Here are some examples of great vacation rental headlines.
- Knotty and Nice
- The Billie Bungalow
- The Urban Farmhouse
- Castle In The Sand
- Neahkahnie Hideaway
- Sandcastle By The Sea
- Alpine Falls Ranch
- The Hull Suite at The Manor on Front
- The Hillway House of Athens
- Private Romantic Treehouse*The Lions Lair
- Magical Treehouse: Secluded-Mountain View-Off-Grid
- Your Nest in the Woods Treehouse
- Modern Beach Bungalow
- Peaceful Spa Escape Minutes To Mohegan Sun Casino
- ‘The Hideout’ – Lake Ariel Cottage w/ Pool Access!
- Direct Oceanfront Condo with Expansive Ocean Views
- Pet Friendly! Lakefront Cottage with a 2 person Kayak available
- Beach Cottage – Amazing Beach Location! Walk to the beach!
- Alabama Getaway – Tiny Beach House
- Lakeside Stone Cottage on 6 acres on Hammond–pet friendly
- Playing Hooky!
Still stuck on crafting your guest-getting headline? Talk to Guest Hook about writing both your headline AND your eye-catching property description to get more guests!