You only have about 8 words (and a picture) to convince potential guests to click on your Airbnb or Vrbo listing out of a sea of comparable options. Your listing titles are your vacation rental business card; your handshake; your all-important first impression.
Don’t overlook the power of choosing the best Airbnb title (sometimes also called a headline) in helping sway guests to at least click through to your listing.
What sets you apart?
As of December 2019, Airbnb has 150M+ users, 2M+ stays per night and 6M+ global listings.
That’s a whole lotta eyeballs on Airbnb… and a whole lotta competition. Of course, you’re not competing with 6M+ properties, but if you’ve been renting your home for a while, you likely have noticed a jump in the number of vacation rentals/Airbnbs on offer in your area as the platform grows (and heads into IPO territory).
Here’s where you start setting yourself apart from the 6M+ (or 6k+ in your area): with your key selling points. First, do a deep dive into your competition. Step into your potential guests’ shoes and check out all the other Airbnb listings in your area.
What does your vacation rental have that others do not? The answer to that question is the start of a stellar Airbnb title.
Do ensure your selling points are actually selling points. A hot tub is a great perk for guests, but if 8 out of 10 vacation rentals in your area have them, that’s not so unique after all. The hot tub should be the icing on the cake for your guests, but not the whole cake!
Maybe, in addition to the hot tub, you showcase original art from local artists. Or, maybe you’re in an area where free parking is impossible to find, but you’ve got it!
These unique perks should feature in your Airbnb title.
Top Tips to Craft the Best Airbnb Title
It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of crafting the best Airbnb title. Here’s some top tips to optimise your listing and create a fun and catchy title to get guests in the door (or at least clicking through to learn more).
★ Use all 50 characters
Airbnb gives you only 50 characters to tell your story. It’s your one chance to grab the guest’s attention, use them all and use them wisely! Use abbreviations (like “Apt.” for “Apartment” or “Mins.” for “Minutes”) to free you up for more detail in your title.
But, a caution: be careful not to overuse abbreviations. If you have too many, your Airbnb title can be come virtually unreadable. No one will be tempted by an illegible title like: “2BR Apt in SoCo w/ A/C 5 Mins. from DT.”
Generic words to avoid: Nice, unique, great, good, amazing, clean, comfortable, central, new, luxury
Catchy power words: Convenient, modern, bright, spacious, rustic, sleek, classic, elegant, Insta-worthy, historic, mid-century, ranch style, peaceful, colonial, lakefront, beachfront, trendy, glamorous, eclectic, secluded, upscale, rare, private, unmatched
★ Use emojis for visual interest
Like abbreviations, you don’t want to overuse emojis. But some stars or other emojis within your title may help you stand out, while also breaking up the content of the headline to make it more readable (stay tuned for examples!).
★ Provide value-added information
Don’t just describe your unit (“One Bedroom Loft”), but highlight your special features (“Art-Deco Loft near Lady Liberty ★ Rooftop Garden ★”).
Likely the user search has already established your sleep count and type of property, so use the space to touch on style (art-deco, vintage, minimalist, modern), high-demand features and amenities (hot tub, parking, views, boat slip, pool, A/C, ski-in/out), and local landmarks (tourist attractions, lakes, beaches, historic district, near Disney, close to Times Square).
★ Know your audience
Your property can’t possibly appeal to all travellers, so it’s wise to know your audience, target a more specific guest profile, and appeal to them with your catchy title.
If you’re a great option for families, your title should touch on what’s important to families (safety, distance to amusement parks, etc.). Ditto for other groups like business travellers or backpacking millennials, who have different needs.
(As of now, Airbnb guests are still skewing a bit younger, so keep that in mind!)
Read your reviews to see what past guests loved about your home and write down some of the themes that pop up often.
★ Change your title
Changing your Airbnb title every so often seems to work out favourably for your Airbnb listing—likely this is because of the platform’s algorithms. An updated listing is an active listing—and active listings get more love from the platform.
Keep in mind seasonal draws when it comes time to change your headline. You don’t need to highlight ski-in/out when guests are booking for summer. Focus instead on proximity to hiking trails and the condo building’s outdoor pool. You get the idea!
Another great boost is to use your title to promote nearby events, festivals, promotions or specials in the quieter seasons.
Choose a high-quality, professional lead image that not only highlights the key features and personality of your property but also complements your title. Together they tell a story.
Take it a step further and be sure to add relevant captions to all your images to add even more power to your listing.
★ Test your title
Now it’s time to test your title. For this you will need to know your click-through-rate (CTR) and monitor it regularly to see the effect the changes to your title is making. Play around a little until it works; it’s a worthwhile investment of your time!
The suggested formulas below are a good place to start:
Formula: [Adjective] [Property Type] Near [Landmark]
✨Example: Modern Artistic Cabin Close to Creek
Formula: [Adjective] [Property Type] w/ [Features/Amenities]
✨Example: Art-Deco Loft near Lady Liberty ★ Rooftop Garden ★
Formula: [Adjective] [Property Type] Perfect for [Experience]
✨ Example: Historic Vineyard Cottage ♥ Couples Escape ♥ Pool
Formula: Enjoy [Selling Point] at [Adjective] [Property Type] in/at/nr [Location/Landmark]
✨ Example: Enjoy 3600 Views at Sleek Penthouse on South Beach
Incorporating Your Property’s Brand in Your Airbnb Titles
A final tip. Jessica Vozel, co-founder of a vacation rental content and copywriting business, Guest Hook, recommends naming your property, and then including that name in your Airbnb title.
Why would you name your property? For the branding.
If you’re at the stage where you’re seeking direct bookings on your own independent website, a unique property name gives savvy guests a chance to Google your name and find you off-platform (and save on booking fees).
Even if you don’t have your own website, naming your property is beneficial. A memorable property name gives satisfied guests an easy way to recommend you to family and friends… or find you when they’re ready to come back.
When potential guests Google your property’s name—and it’s included in your Airbnb title—your Airbnb listing will appear at the top of the heap, maybe even under your direct booking website, as well as in your social media.
If you’re savvy enough, you could end up with the majority of the first page Google search results when a traveler searches your property name. Now that’s crafty.
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