While the concept of writing Airbnb listings may seem monotonous to some, these few words determine the first impressions guests will have of your short-term rental property. Get this right, and it could turn a void period in your calendar, into a juicy money-making booking.
Grab a cuppa’ and stay with me for the next few minutes, while I round up how you can make the most of your character limits, arsonary of punctuation and guest know-how.
Start with the Basics of An Airbnb Listing
Writing anything – whether it be a social media post or a full-blown novella, starts with nailing the basics.
Like any piece of content, your Airbnb listing will need to “tick” a few points before you start delving any deeper. Not only is this important from a keyword perspective, but it’ll answer immediate questions that guests – consciously or subconsciously – are likely to have. Ultimately, this is the stuff that’ll get your ideal guests to actually scroll down that website page; thus, increasing their chances of booking with you.
So, here’s a quick checklist of the details you absolutely must include in your listing:
> An attention-grabbing headline, with all the keywords and some interesting brand-friendly words
> A summary of your property, leading with the benefits for your guests. Not just a boring list of features
> A clear description of your property (in terms of how many bedrooms, space etc) – that’ll give guests everything they need to know about your product and any additional amenities
> Information about guest access and any house rules
> A brief summary of the surrounding neighbourhood
> A brief summary of transportation options
A great way to start is by writing an “answer” to all these above points in list form before you actually begin crafting the description together. It’ll take you all of 10 minutes to do; but will help direct your content, massively. Planning like this is even more important with shorter pieces like an Airbnb listing (contrary to popular belief). This is because, with such a restricted character limit, you need to ensure that every word actually has a purpose – and thinking of the basics beforehand will give you greater clarity. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that “planning” is only reserved for longer pieces of copy.
Lead with Benefits
While it’s important to list the features of your property in an Airbnb listing, this is not going to create that “emotionally connect” that is irreplaceably important in any kind of selling.
There’s a simple way for you to list features and amenities (and hit those important keywords), while also tending to the emotional needs of your ideal guests. The answer to this – is leading with benefits.
For example in your property description, rather than writing something like:
“Newly refurbished bathroom, including wide bathtub and overhead shower”.
Lead with the benefits for your guests, and consider something like:
“Spacious bathroom ideal for relaxing, with a wide bathtub and overhead power-shower”.
In the alternate description, we have still managed to keep all the keywords, without adding to the character length too much. More importantly, we’ve opened with a benefit that’ll be desirable for many guests. The angle you wish to take for something like this will of course depend on who your ideal guests are, which brings us to our next point.
Know Who You’re Writing for
By this point in your business journey, you should already have a good idea of who your “ideal guests” are. This may just be one target demographic; but for many STR operators it may be 2 to 3 audience types, depending on the time of the week – and other factors such as public holidays. (For example, term holidays may attract more families with children to your property).
Once you’ve carved out your Guest Avatar, ensure you’re “speaking in their language”. This may seem hard to do because Airbnb listings don’t give you a lot of legroom, but simple things like changing the word “located” to “nestled” for properties that offer couple getaways (the latter word will trigger certain emotions) will make such a difference.
Sell the “Story”
Gone are the days where a list of USPs will entice guests to book with you, over the hundred other similar properties on Airbnb. The term “USP” itself is so redundant – remember, we’re now in a hospitality world that’s largely dominated by millennials and Gen Z. Their priorities, values and way of life are different.
Storytelling in an Airbnb listing may seem like a long stretch. However, storytelling doesn’t necessarily mean squeezing a full-blown fable into your listing (in fact, please don’t do this).
Instead, place your guests as the hero of this story by using words like “you” (and speaking directly to the target guests) and place them in a story that’s practically impossible to ignore.
Wouldn’t you feel more inclined to book a short-term rental property, if it painted a story of you switching off from the bustle of life in a calm and tranquil neighbourhood, rather than if it simply outlined that it’s located on a quiet street among other residential buildings? Wrapping experiential stories around your property descriptions is an excellent way of connecting with the inner psyche of humans – this is the part that helps them subconsciously decide if they want to trust you, spend time with you; and ultimately, book with you. Check my story on how I acquired 21+ properties in 7 months, and learn from the experience. You don’t need to miss it, as you can avoid many mistakes when you learn from other people’s stories.
Trust underpins all the decisions we make in life. Be it where we choose to buy our morning coffee, or which school we enrol our children into. The bottom line is, that if a person doesn’t trust you – they will not want to start any kind of relationship with you (transactional or otherwise).
At Luke Stays, for example, all our short term rental properties are I-PRAC Accredited. Meaning that we can guarantee 100% security and protection to our guests and give them peace of mind. This plays an integral part in all the copy we create, as we continue to convince guests that they can trust us – more than any other STR providers.
Here are a few ways you can build trust with your guests, in something as short as an Airbnb listing:
> Mention any accreditations and certificates (but remember to explain what this actually means for guests)
> Continue to offer emotional reassurance in your copy, so guests know that you understand their needs more than anyone else
> Include statistics and numbers. If you’ve had more than 1000 happy guests in your STR property, now is the time to briefly mention it!
Play on Your Brand
Again, while Airbnb listings don’t offer a huge amount of space for creativity – and the end goal is to give guests the information they need and essentially encourage them to book – there’s no reason why you can’t play on your brand a little and create the right tone of voice.
Ordinarily, this advice is saved for website copy – but say for example your short-term rental property is specifically for contractors (as per the brand you’re looking to build). In this case, you can make use of certain words and sentences that’ll support the “theme” you’re going for and ensure you’re mostly attracting your target clientele.
But it’s not just about the words you use, too (copy never is). Let’s take a moment the lifestyle and needs of a contractor who’s looking to book with you:
> They’re (mostly corporate/ “at work”): Is the overuse of exclamation points in copy – which denote excitement – appropriate for this target market?
> They’re time poor: Could you make their life easier by writing your Airbnb description so it’s easier to scan? Shorter paragraphs, use of bullet points, numbers, etc. Chances are they won’t appreciate clunky paragraphs.
> They need to make quick decisions: So, you’ll need to make your CTA (call to action) super clear and easy to understand. Tell guests exactly what they need to do to book, after ensuring you’ve answered all their questions.
So, there you have it. Who knew there could be so much to typing up a simple Airbnb description? But when it comes to something that’ll determine the number of bookings you’ll welcome into your business every month, you can sure bet that this is something you need to give some thought to.
Once you’ve cracked the code and figured out a successful “formula” per se, writing your Airbnb descriptions will become far easier and quicker – and will help fill up your calendars in no time.
Give them a try and let me know how you get on – is there anything else you’d add to this advice?
Also, please do swing over to all the advice we continue to share in my brand new property coaching club “Room 22” (where a professional copywriter is one of our ambassadors) – where you’ll get plenty more insights at unbelievable value for money.