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5 tips from online dating: Making the most of your short-term rental profile

  • Jun 22, 2018 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

happy couple

It’s never been easier to find whatever it is you want online. Whether you’re shoe shopping, house hunting, or antiquing, there’s a website or an app for that.

That also goes for finding a short-term vacation rental — and for finding a date. The best practices for each may have more in common than you think. In fact, there are plenty of lessons short-term rental hosts can learn from the best online dating profiles.

For both online dating and short-term renting — whether you use Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, or another platform — the ultimate goal is to present your best self in order to make a great match. While this requires thought and effort, taking some simple steps to make your profile as good as it can be will put you way ahead of the game.

1. Put photos first.

When it comes to online dating, photos are the most prominent part of a profile. Images are what potential dates see first — and if they don’t see something they like, a left swipe may quickly follow. So that grainy selfie may not be the best way to show off your true awesomeness.

Similarly, for short-term vacation rentals, owners need to make sure their property is presented in as attractive a light as possible. That means using professional-quality photos — and plenty of them — showcasing the best visual features of the rental. Your photos should make your property shine, or your potential guest may quickly move on to the next prospect. It’s worth any extra effort or cost it might take to get the images right.

2. Be honest and accurate.

We’ve all heard stories about the date who turned out to be a foot shorter or 10 years older than the online profile indicated, and that kind of dishonesty makes a poor impression, to say the least. People who misrepresent themselves rarely make it to a second date and are more likely to make it to the dating horror stories list.

While you definitely want to put your best foot forward, you want to make sure your property is honestly presented, because guests will definitely notice any difference between the profile and reality.

Does the property have a lot of stairs or will guests be subject to some street noise? Let them know — in as positive a way as possible — so they can make an informed decision. Major omissions or misrepresentations will certainly be called out by guests in your reviews, so in the end, they just aren’t worth it.

3. Showcase what makes you unique.

A prospective date whose profile says he or she likes to laugh, go out to eat, and watch movies could be anybody. But if one says he or she regularly attends comedy shows, loves scoping out hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and is a huge Star Wars fan, you can get a much better idea of who that person is — and whether he or she might be a good match for you.

Likewise, for your short-term rental property profile, make sure you highlight the features that make your rental stand out. Is it a sea view, a balcony perfect for sunset cocktails, hotel-quality mattresses, or an amazing location? Guests won’t know about these unless you tell them.

Part of the allure of short-term rentals is the opportunity to stay in a space that offers something other than the generic atmosphere of a hotel. Let your guests get to know your property’s unique attributes and personality.

4. Be positive.

In Profile A, Bob says he’s tired of dating games and warns, “no drama.” In Profile B, Jim talks about his interests and passions and says he’s excited to make a new connection. Which is more attractive? For most people, that’s going to be Profile B.

Similarly, it helps to stay positive in your short-term rental profile. That means you should avoid excessive warnings about what’s not allowed at the rental or a tone that indicates you’re only in it for the money.

Convey the message that you enjoy meeting new people and that it’s your goal to help them have a great stay. Keeping communication friendly and welcoming can go a long way toward making guests want to stay with you — and it will be reflected positively in your reviews as well. After all, you’re in the hospitality business, and a hospitable attitude is just good business.

5. Show genuine interest in the other person.

When it comes time to finally meet your date in person, conversation should be a two-way street. That means asking questions about the other person, not just going on and on about your exes or bragging about your accomplishments.

Likewise, as a good host, it’s important to learn about your guests. Depending on your style, you may want to find out a little more about them before you agree to a booking. And even once they’ve booked, getting to know a bit about them and their trip offers you opportunities to customize their stay in small ways that can make a big difference.

Are they celebrating a special occasion? Perhaps you leave a bottle of champagne for their arrival. Or, if they’re arriving late in the evening due to flight times, you could leave a small snack for them or info on late-night dining options nearby. Little details like these can make a huge impression on guests and result in great reviews, which are such an important part of ensuring a steady stream of guests.

Making a great match

In both online dating and short-term rental listings, potential matches will notice if you take the time to create a quality profile — because not everybody does. There’s a lot of competition out there, and optimizing your profile gives you a distinct advantage. In the case of short-term rentals, creating a great listing profile not only helps you get more bookings, it can also help you attract guests whose standards are as high as yours — and guests who’ll leave glowing reviews. It’s an effort that will literally pay off for your short-term rental business.

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.