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The massive success of vacation rentals means increased competition for a decent spot on Airbnb’s or HomeAway’s search results page. If your home appears near the top of results for properties in your area, expect a swell of traffic to your property listing. Appear on the third or fourth page and you might struggle to generate any bookings at all. These results aren’t random, of course. Airbnb and HomeAway use clever algorithms to separate the wheat from the chaff, and only the best listings will get a prime position. Here are some common marketing mistakes that negatively impact your HomeAway or Airbnb booking rate – and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1 – You’ve Formatted Your Listing Description Wrong

If your property listing on a vacation rental site is difficult to read or is formatted incorrectly, you could be jeopardizing your booking rate. Keep things simple: Break blocks of bland, black-and-white text into digestible chunks, emphasize key property features with bullets and headings and use clear, concise language that spurs visitors to hit the “request to book” button. Listings that provide relevant, helpful information to their users are going to make booking easier, so take the time to write and edit your page properly.

Mistake #2 – You’ve Been Neglecting Communication

Hosts who reply quickly to guest queries can simultaneously increase their response rates and booking rates. The two go hand-in-hand. HomeAway says 57 percent of travelers who want to book a vacation home will go elsewhere if they haven’t had a response from a host in 24 hours. Also, don’t forget about responding to your reviews, even the negative ones. How you manage your reviews will tell a guest a lot about who you are as a host.

Mistake #3 – Your Profile Is Incomplete

Taking the time to fill out your profile will make you irresistible. One of the most important elements of your profile is your photo. Airbnb now requires all hosts to have a profile photo, but it seems some users are confused with this concept: Strange photos on the platform run the gamut from dog pictures to baby snaps.

Technology journalist, Seth Porges, writing for Forbes, suggests that uploading anything other than a clear image of your face could have serious ramifications for your property and cause your bookings to go into freefall. A profile photo that garners trust and reliability are essential to any successful listing. Learn what makes a good profile photo, here.

Mistake #4 – Your Property Listing Is Incomplete

(and Your Photos are Awful)

Similar to Mistake #1, an incomplete property listing will make your home less attractive to guests. If you want to boost your bookings, include a detailed description that showcases your property — with information about local amenities, sleeping surfaces, and what makes your home stand out from other properties in your area. It’s also important to incorporate high-quality photos that demand attention.

Images that give your guests a better idea of your location can help sell your listing, especially if you include a photo of a rooftop terrace, a large garden or a room with a breathtaking view.

Mistake #5 – You Don’t Regularly Update Your Calendar

Airbnb’s calendar feature lets you manage availability so guests know when to reserve your home. Many hosts don’t bother to update this information. Don’t be one of them. Keeping your calendar updated can help weed out booking requests for unavailable dates and also saves you from the negative consequences of canceling reservations.

It’s pretty a pretty straightforward process to make changes: On Airbnb, head over to “Manage Listings” in your user dashboard, click on “Manage Listings and Calendar,” and select the dates your property is available. You can also change your room rate here, too.

Mistake #6 – You Haven’t Checked Out the Competition

If other hosts in your area dominate your local market, you might struggle to draw guests to your property. Check out your competition by searching for properties in your area and see which homes rank the highest. Make a list of all the things that distinguish your property from others and include your competitive advantages in your listing. If you want to outrank your rivals, focus on which property features appeal to your target market and flaunt it.


Now that you know the 6 biggest mistakes that can impact your HomeAway or Airbnb booking rate, it’s up to you to fix it. Knowing what makes your property different from those of your rivals, proper formatting, an updated calendar, and a clear profile photo all go a long way in improving your property listing and making it easier to book.

About Pillow

Pillow is solving short-term rentals for multifamily properties, allowing building owners and property managers to have control and transparency over short-term rentals while enabling their residents to rent their units short-term on Airbnb. Pillow is the official and exclusive multifamily housing partner for popular short-term rental listing platform Airbnb. Pillow takes a complicated, time-consuming process for multifamily building owners and created a solution that greatly benefits Multifamily operators and residents alike.

If you own a multifamily complex or management company and are interested in providing short-term rentals, email or visit

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