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Make Your Short-Term Rental Stand Out From The Competition

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

Tips for differentiating your vacation rental property or short-term rental in a highly competitive market.

The short-term rental (STR) industry has been booming lately. Peak new supply coupled with rental demand is driving the industry, which means good news for property owners and managers! With higher demand, however, you have to make sure that your property stands out from the competition in order to reach its fullest potential.

Gourmet kitchen with vaulted ceiling and quartz countertops in a beach-side short-term rental.

According to Airbnb, more than half of their short-term rental listings have come onto the market since 2020. Despite increasing inflation fears, experts expect the demand to remain strong but flatten slightly. Even with this slight decline, the 2023 forecast is still nearly 60% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

To fully take advantage of these income-generating opportunities, your short-term rental will need to stand out from the competition, especially online. Here are our top tips for maintaining a thriving short-term rental business.

Boost Your Online Presence

Professional Photography

Professional photographs are the most important investment you can make in your business. Photos help potential guests imagine themselves staying at your property; they want to see evidence of the “experience” that you are offering.

Amenities such as gourmet kitchens, spa-like bathrooms, home theaters, pools, and on-site parking are what differentiate your property from your competition. Find your best features and focus on them – literally!

Photos should be well-lit and show the rooms in their entirety, from different angles. Emphasize function and accommodations rather than a pretty vase of flowers on a coffee table. The property’s outdoor areas and scenic views should also be included to help potential guests envision being there.

A Clear, Concise Property Description

Writing a property description isn’t rocket science, despite what some folks might tell you. Just remember your audience (potential guests) and speak to them in a neutral, clear, and consistent tone.

Avoid using common words like “amazing,” “unique,” and “nice.” These words are used so often that they actually water down your listing. Instead, be descriptive so the reader can imagine themselves being there. For example, “cozy fireplace, majestic sunsets, and bijou.”

If you’re not sure of your writing skills, you can use an online writing assistant like Grammarly to help craft your descriptions and correct spelling, bad grammar, and run-on sentences. We highly recommend it – and it’s free!

Sell Your Location With Maps, Attractions, and Points of Interest

Along with beautiful property photos, you also need to introduce potential guests to the local community in which they’ll be staying. Include photos of local attractions and points of interest. Consider adding a map – Google Maps can help you with that!

In your property description, be sure to include general commute times from your property to important locations, such as the airport, shopping, theme parks, or business districts. Add links to local businesses and services that guests would find helpful while planning their trip. Is there an ice cream shop nearby? Great! Include a photo of the business and a link to its website.

Give Your Guests a Warm Welcome

Enhance Your Curb Appeal

When a guest arrives at your property, they expect a good first impression. The exterior and front entrance sets the expectations for the entire experience. As a guest, there is nothing worse than arriving at your destination, only to find that your accommodations are not what you thought. A poor first impression will almost certainly result in a bad review.

Whether it’s a house, condo, townhouse, or apartment, ensure that it is easy for your guests to access and enter the property. Your parking area and entryway should be easy to see, well-lit, and maintained – no loose paving stones or overgrown bushes.

Consider upgrading to a keyless entry system for the home or garage. Not only does it make accessing the property easier for guests, but it also gives you the ability to restrict or grant access to guests, property managers, or cleaning crews right from your phone!

Roll Out the Red Carpet

Welcome baskets are a classic way to welcome guests to your short-term rental property. This token of hospitality is the perfect opportunity to share goods from your local community. A jar of local honey, homemade bath salts, and cookies from your favorite bakery are all perfect examples of items that are sure to impress. Depending on the season, we suggest purchasing your basket-making supplies in bulk to make the turnover process between guests easier.

Concierge-level services also get you more raving reviews! By assisting your guests with booking spa treatments or reserving a beach chair, you will almost certainly stand out from the competition. Other personal services that you can offer are connecting your guests with childcare, pet sitters, food, floral and grocery deliveries, restaurant reservations, and bicycle rentals. Be sure to include this service in your description.

If you want to grow your short-term or vacation rental property business, we can help you maximize your investment and improve your returns by increasing your visibility, both online and in the real world. We know the keys to a beautiful -- and profitable -- vacation rental property. To schedule a consultation, call us at (281) 547-8276, message us through our website, or send an email to

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