You know you should have a website for your vacation rental. What that means, however, is a little vague. What kind of content do you actually need to pull your website together?

Your website is, in most cases, your first and only chance to make a good impression. It’s also a critical way to communicate essential information to both potential guests and those who’ve already made reservations.

Try to get inside your guests’ heads and anticipate what they will want to know by considering the following content checklists. It will likely take at least a few hours to pull this information together, but ultimately this investment of effort is worth it; if you don’t make it easy to find essential information through your website, travelers will turn to a competitor who does.

There are three main areas people will have questions about:

  • Your vacation rental property,
  • The community they’re visiting, and
  • The business details of the vacation rental.

Your Vacation Rental Property

Before you sit down with pen and paper, you need to think about photos. Great photos are worth more than 1,000 words—the success of your vacation rental relies on them.

A survey by Flipkey found that “travelers are 83% more likely to make an inquiry on your property listing if you have over 20 photos vs less than 5 photos.” Whether you hire a photographer or stage them yourself, your photos should accurately (but flatteringly) reflect your property.

The Statistics

Help potential guests quickly identify whether your property is appropriate for them by listing the

  • type of property (i.e. house or condo);
  • number of bedrooms;
  • number of bathrooms; and
  • number of people accommodated.

If you can also share the square footage and a floor plan, you’ll help guests form a very clear plan to help them make the most of your property.

The Location

The address of your vacation rental and your contact information should be included on your home page, but your website should also include a detailed description of your vacation home and its location. Reference important details like

  • Whether the home is in a residential or tourist neighbourhood,
  • Whether it’s close to major tourist attractions or business centers, and
  • What features it’s close to (i.e. beach, grocery store) and the distance to get there.

The Features

What does your vacation rental include, and what features set it apart from the competition?

  • Advertise key policies, like whether your vacation rental is kid or pet friendly.
  • Highlight elements like a pool table, hot tub, or spectacular view.
  • Promote any niche market add-ons like a high chair or dog run, or additional services you offer like stocking the fridge and cupboards or extra cleaning.

Vacation rentals often differ in what they provide, and new vacation home renters in particular may or may not know what to expect. Do you provide:

  • Linens?
  • Towels?
  • Wireless Internet?
  • Cable?
  • Air conditioning?

The Business Side of Your Vacation Rental

Once you’ve described the property itself, answer high-level questions about how you manage the property. This includes transactional details like:

  • Rental rates, including high/low season,
  • Deposits or additional fees,
  • Your reservation calendar and availability,
  • Acceptable payment options.

You should also note operational details like:

  • Basic policies and procedures, including check in/out times,
  • Whether the property is managed by the owner or a rental company,
  • Any relevant contact information, including local emergency contacts.

About The Community

Even if your vacation rental is located in a region that practically sells itself, directing people to relevant community information helps establish your site as an information resource and makes their trip planning much easier.

While you can ultimately build this information into a complete local community guide—which helps guests and attracts more search engine traffic to your site—start by providing basic details, like

  • a map of the area, with a link to the location using a site like Google Maps,
  • key tourist information, like major attractions and events,
  • directions from nearby cities or the closest international airport,
  • other local web links (i.e. tourist information, news).

As you build your vacation rental business, you’ll want to include more information like testimonials and reviews, and any business affiliations like your local chamber of commerce. Until then, focus on providing information that makes trip-planning easy and helps build credibility with your future guests.