At Guest Hook, we use templates to compose custom listing site content for our clients. Tailored to both Airbnb and Vrbo, our templates ensure that we hit all of the important sections of a property’s listing. That means not just the property description itself, but also the headlines, info about the location/neighborhood, and more.
While the description portion of your listing is your bread and butter, the other sections can also be important for sharing the complete picture of the kind of stay you offer.
In this post, we’ll take you on a detailed tour through a Guest Hook-created listing for Airbnb, with before and after examples of how a listing is improved with professional copy!
[Note: the “Before” examples were created by Guest Hook for illustrative purposes and were never actually on Airbnb!]
Section 1: Headline, Short Description, The Space
First, we’ll take you through three super-important sections of your Airbnb listing: your headline, your short description, and your detailed description.
Your headline is what encourages potential guests to click (along with your feature photo), and because of that, it’s one of the most important parts of your listing.
On Airbnb, you’re limited to just 50 characters (characters include letters, numbers and punctuation) in your headline so you have to be a little choosy about what you include.
- Focus on your unique selling point(s). Do a search of properties most like yours in your area and determine what selling points they focus on. Then think about what sets you apart. Make these unique selling points central to your headline.
- You can include your property’s name…if it’s not too long. Again, Airbnb’s character count is a bit limited, but if you do have a unique or descriptive name for your property and it doesn’t take away from your unique selling points, include it! This helps guests remember your property (and find it again with a Google search).
“Luxury Home” doesn’t even begin to capture what makes this place special!
Because this property has a creative name that alludes to the theme of the home (which, for copyright reasons, could not be stated outright!), it was a no-brainer to put “Twelve Parsecs” in the headline. The management company, Loma Homes, is a well-known name for themed vacation rentals, so we put that in there, too.
The rest of the headline captured two of the property’s highlights: the private pool, and its larger-than-average sleeping capacity.
Next, potential guests who have been enticed by your headline and photos move on to reading your short description. On Airbnb, they cap this section at 500 characters max (about three or four sentences, on average) to really encourage you to be selective about what details you include.
- Expand on your unique selling points. Here is where you have some room to expand on what you introduced in your headline. For example, if you wrote “Walk to the Beach!” in your headline, you can use the short description to say, “Walk less than three minutes to watch the sunset at gorgeous, kid-friendly North Beach.”
- Include a line about which types of groups your rental is best for. Large home targeting multi-family getaways? Romantic retreats for two? Instagram-worthy digs for a fun-loving group? Highlight that in your short description, as well.
Answer guests’ most pressing questions up front. After you’ve been in the biz for a while, you start to get a sense for the important factors guests consider when making their booking decision—based on the questions you get most often. “Will we be kept up all night by partying neighbors?” “How far is the rental from the airport?” “Are dogs allowed?” You get the idea. Go ahead and answer your FAQs in your short description, so that you remove the friction of them having to reach out and ask before clicking the booking button!
Who hasn’t stumbled across an Airbnb description like the “Before” example above? Frustratingly vague, with little concrete info about what the property’s actual amenities are and exactly how many miles you have to travel to get to the parks. Not to mention, there is no “zing!” to get potential guests interested in the experience this property offers.
Our edit focuses on the theme of the rental (while remaining copyright-compliant!) in a way that grabs guests’ attention and makes it clear that this rental is something special.
Now Airbnb starts to get generous with the amount of writing they allow. For your more detailed accommodation description, it’s almost impossible to exceed their limits!
However, we do recommend keeping this part of your description to 400 words or less (that’s words this time, not characters). In truth, guests likely won’t read much past 400 words. Attention spans are short these days, and sadly getting shorter (if you’ve made it to this point in our post, congrats!).
- Organize your info with sub-headers. For this longer section, we like to use sub-headings to break up the content even more—especially for larger properties. You can organize by room type, like “Kitchen & Dining,” “Bedrooms & Bathrooms,” or by features or type of guest “For the Kiddos,” “For the Parents”).
- Show, don’t tell. We like to use this classic writing tip to encourage vacation rental owners and managers to be descriptive in what sets their property apart. Simply calling your rental “luxury” can fall flat, but being specific about luxury features—like marble showers, chef-grade appliances, and original art—can go a long way.
- Don’t oversell it. Of course, it’s important to be honest in your listing description. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s better business to under-promise and over-deliver than to over-promise and end up with negative guest reviews as a result!
Again, a property this creative deserves some creative copy! But we tried not to get too creative, to the point where we lose sight of the property’s core amenities, like the private pool, resort perks, jaw-dropping custom details, and the distance to the parks.
Section 2: Other Things to Note, The Neighborhood, Getting There, Interaction with Guests
Next up, let’s look at these sections of your Airbnb listing: other things to note, a description of your neighborhood, how guests get there, and how you interact with them once they arrive. These sections are all technically optional, but are (in our opinion) also important.
Other Things To Note
Use this section to outline important house rules and other “need to know” items.
- Try not to go overboard with the rules. Your house rules are helpful for weeding out incompatible guests, but you want to be careful to not weed out good ones, too! Keep your rules in the listing limited to those which may be deal breakers for certain guests, like no smoking, no loud noises after 10 p.m., no pets, etc.
- Also use this section to be honest about other potential deal breakers for guests, like stairs at the property, steep hills to climb from the beach, or snow tires needed to get up the driveway certain months of the year.
Our clients didn’t actually have the above copy in their listing (Loma Homes wouldn’t treat their guests that way!) but we’ve seen this time and time again in Airbnb listings. All-caps rules and regulations, with a condescending tone to boot. Pass!
In this version, “Other things to note” is used to describe further advantages of the property. Free pool heat! Free propane for the grill! They do mention their minimum booking age, but they do so professionally and tactfully, and also highlights who the property is best for.
Your neighborhood description helps to give guests a sense of your specific location. Here is where you mention not just the attractions that are within a drive, but also what’s in your immediate location. Where do guests get groceries, or brunch? What attractions are within walking distance of you?
If you’re in a city, it’s helpful to also give guests a sense of the “flavor” of your neighborhood. Is it up-and-coming and artsy? Chic, and lined with high-end boutiques? Known for its vibrant street food?
This one is easy! Simply include here how most guests reach your property. Rental car from the airport? Their own car? Public transportation? This is also the spot to point out any (literal or figurative) roadblocks guests might encounter, like identifying your tucked-away rental from the road, or whether guests have a designated parking spot and how to find it.
Our example for Loma Homes:
Interaction With Guests
Here is where you’ll inform your guests about what they can expect from you, as their host/property manager. Will you be there to greet them for a key exchange, or do you have digital locks? Do you live on or near the property? What is the best way for them to contact you if a problem arises?
You may also want to include a note here about whether you’re a more hands-off host, or someone who likes to get to know your guests. Airbnb, in particular, offers quite the range of hosting styles, and guest preferences differ, as well!
Section 3: About the Host, Guest Access
These last two sections round out your Airbnb listing with information about you—the host/manager—and which spaces guests have to themselves (or have to share).
About The Host
Note: Guest Hook does not include the About The Host section in our listing service by default. Instead, it’s an add-on service. We find that many of our clients prefer to keep this section in their own voice, since it’s more personal. (We did write the below bio for Loma Homes!).
If you decide to write your own, here are some tips:
- Keep it short, sweet, and friendly.
- Mention what you personally love about the home and area.
- Give a few details about your life that guests can connect with (hobbies, interests, your work life, family, etc.).
- Be sure to write something. Remember, this section is meant to cultivate trust. Leaving it totally blank may raise red flags.
In this section, let guests know which parts of the vacation rental are private to their group, and which are shared (if applicable). If your rental is in a condo building with amenities like pools, exercise rooms and/or grilling stations, remember to mention them here.