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As a vacation rental host, your job is more than hospitality; you also have to be a skilled marketer. What good is it if you’ve spent countless hours perfecting your property if nobody can find your listing – or worse – they find it but don’t book it? In this post, we’ll focus on a marketing 101 strategy that all well-versed marketers utilize: A/B testing.

A/B testing lets you analyze the performance of your rental listings, so you can experiment with different page variants and optimize your listing for success.

How Vacation Rental A/B Testing Works

Platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway don’t offer deep insight into your property’s analytics, so it’s up to you to test, optimize, and perfect your listing. Although it’s not an exact science, A/B testing provides you with valuable info on how well your rental listing elements perform and which page elements improve your vacation rental search rankings and booking rate. A/B testing (or “split testing”) is the most popular method for boosting conversion rates online.

Every Good Experiment Begins with a Hypothesis

Set your goals in advance. A/B tests only work if you know what you’re testing and have a sufficient idea of how to garner data and determine success. Booking platforms offer page analytics in near-real-time, and this data will form the foundation of your split test experiment. On VRBO, for example, head over to the “Performance” tab to see how many page views your listing has generated.

How to A/B Test Your Vacation Rental

Some testable elements to start with are:

  • Your listing title
  • The primary listing photo
  • Your profile photo
  • The intro paragraph of your listing description
  • The call-to-action in your description (if you don’t have one, this is the first place to start!)
  • The number and quality of photos
  • Nightly rate, cleaning fee, and security deposit amounts


The Trick to Being Consistent

A/B testing elements need to be consistent. This will be one of the trickiest aspects since you can’t directly control the listing’s visibility yourself. But here’s how you can tweak it.

  • Run tests, back-to-back, for an equal (and predetermined) amount of time
  • Test one element at a time
  • Be aware of (and plan around) factors, like Holidays, that can skew your data
  • Know which data is most relevant to determining the success of your test
  • Keep excellent records since you’ll have to compare against historical data
  • And lastly – stay objective – let the numbers do the talking


Some suggested data to compare include conversion rates (the number of page visitors who booked your property) and the amount of booking inquiries you received in your inbox.

Don’t Test Too Many Elements

Testing too many variables at one time can meddle with your results. Placing both a different title and a photo on your “A” and “B” pages, at the same time, makes it difficult to ascertain which element led to the success you see. For more valuable insights, keep it simple.

A/B testing lets you decide which variation of your rental listing gives you a higher return on your investment. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your “A” and “B” pages. Optimizing these listings with a few different elements helps you measure listing performance and increase revenue.

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