Vreasy and HomeAway’s partnership allows us to help our users get more bookings from their account and expand Vreasy’s vacation rental channel manager. As well as our direct API connection, our teams work together to optimise our customers’ accounts, helping them to reach more guests and increase their occupancy.
Working with HomeAway, we have put together 10 ways to improve your results, ranking, and get more bookings from HomeAway. These range from crucial marketing steps, to small tips that will boost your listing above the crowds.
These tips come directly from HomeAway so they are verified and tested, guaranteed to improve your listing.
Descriptions should be between 700-1000 characters, long enough to explain everything that makes your property special, without overwhelming your guests. As well as making your property sound appealing, HomeAway suggests the key information to include in your description:
- Include notable amenities and floor plan information
- Highlight details that previous travelers have mentioned in their reviews
- local attractions, restaurants, shopping, etc. are nearby when staying at the property?
- Space it out in separate paragraphs to make it easy to read.
Don’t include property addresses or IDs. Avoid mentioning the number of bathrooms. All of this information can be found elsewhere. Keep your headlines between 70 and 100 characters and use this space to highlight the key pulling power of your property. Try to feature the highlights of your location, target it to your intended guests, and add key fetures if you’re able to.
Good examples include:
- Cosy snow chalet – 2 minutes from the slopes!
- Family-sized penthouse in downtown New York
- 5 bedroom beach house w/ pool – Perfect for families
To feature on your listing page, all photos should be JPEG format, less than 20MB and at least 1920×1080 in size
24 high-quality photos will give you the highest amount of listing credit available. This is the number of photos you need to make sure you rank for searches you are eligible for. You can read Homeaway’s complete guidelines for high-quality photos here.
4. Online Bookings
HomeAway makes no secret of the fact that it rewards online, instant bookings by pushing them up the results page.
In addition to traveler preferences with our ranking system, a key factor to be successful in search results is to enable online booking and increase the number of accepted onsite bookings. If we don’t have visibility into your booking activity, we can’t factor that advantage into listing performance.
You can read a deep look at the data behind why major portals love online booking here.
92% of travelers want to see reviews before booking.
Reviews from past guests inspire confidence.
When you check in with your guests during their stay you can also plant the idea of leaving a review. Guests will receive a link to leave a HomeAway review after checking out is sent automatically to every guest after checkout.
Guests that booked offline will not receive a link upon check-out, so you have to request a review from the HomeAway dashboard manually from all offline guests.
Gauge your properties against others in your area. Run a checklist of your amenities compared to them, then conduct a thorough review and honest review of your property, service and guest experience.
If you don’t have any reviews, it’s important to pitch your prices lower than your average competition. More than three reviews establish your property, but it’s when you reach 15-20 reviews that you can increase your prices at the top level of your property. Becoming a top-priced property requires establishing credentials on the platform first.
7. Best Match Searches
HomeAway displays properties based on a complex display algorithm know as Best Match. This means, that similar to Google, it displays results in an order based on how well it thinks the property will meet the overall intention of the person searching.
Rather than just displaying all properties in order of price, or proximity to the initial search, HomeAway uses many factors:
- Property location, amenities, and availability
- Completeness of rates
- Competitive rates compared to similar properties in the area
- Accurate, updated calendar
- High-quality photos
- Complete headline and description
- Reviews from past guests
You have to make sure that every aspect of your listing is updated and optimised or you could miss out on highly qualified searches due to an incomplete listing.
Verifying your location improves your search ranking for HomeAway results. To verify the location of your account:
- Log in to your account.
- If you have more than one listing, click the one you want to edit.
- Click on the Property icon in the left navigation menu.
- Edit property.
- Click the Location tab.
- Where is your rental located?
- Edit the address as necessary, click Save.
- Verify the map marker is correct. Click Next.
- Continue completing the details for the rest of your listing.
9. Response Time
Your response time is taken into account when it comes to displaying property listing results. Responding quickly, accepting as many bookings as possible, and keeping an accurate calendar gives you the best chance to be displayed at the top of the rankings.
Integrating all other portal bookings into your Vreasy master calendar will keep your HomeAway calendar totally accurate. Inaccurate calendars lead to guests trying to book and then being denied. The more guests you can accept, the happier HomeAway will be. Search rankings reflect this. HomeAway provides their own guidelines for optimising your calendar for maximum occupancy:
Accepted bookings are a good signal that predicts future bookings. So make sure you are always accepting bookings when the traveler is a good fit.
Keep an accurate calendar – Listings that have data that indicate a calendar isn’t accurate are resulting in bookings not taking place. Those listings may notice negative movement in their search placement.
10. Cancellation rate and booking acceptance
Acceptance of bookings – Listings that have a record of accepting a lot of booking requests are likely to accept future ones. Accept as many bookings as you can to optimize your placement in best match, and log in to your dashboard and see your booking acceptance rate to help you understand how many of the last 10 booking requests you’ve accepted. A low booking acceptance rate can also indicate things like an inaccurate calendar.
Stick to these rules and you will optimise your listings, and appear at the top of more property searches and get more bookings. Simple. If you want to see how Vreasy’s direct connection and master calendar can take the stress out your HomeAway listing, try a live demo here.
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