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Compiling your advert

The overall objective of your LetStayAnywhere.com advert is to present your home in the best possible light so that holidaymakers feel compelled to book a stay. All your advert content, from start to finish, must work hard to showcase your property – in other words, this is a hard sell!Mature-woman-relaxing-in-armchair-with-laptop

First impressions 

The first section of your LetStayAnywhere.com advert is the ‘Description’ and this is the text that appears on the search results page.

The ‘Title’ is a taster designed to highlight your property’s unique selling points (USPs). Since space is limited, write in a short, punchy style to whet visitors’ appetites.

Words are key 

To boost the possibilities of your property appearing in search engine rankings, keep the text and captions in your ‘Title’ factual rather than descriptive (you can describe everything in mor
e detail later on). Consider using some keywords – by incorporating these into your advert you improve the chances of it appearing when a holidaymaker performs such a search online. For example, a LetStayAnywhere.com advert including the keywords “beach villa in Mallorca” has a better chance of a higher listing on Google than an advert with no keywords.

Keywords can be used in a variety of ways. For example, to describe the type of house, e.g. beach villa, ski chalet; the location or where it is, e.g. Bournemouth, near beach; your USPs, e.g. private pool, log fire; and attractions near your property, e.g. Legoland, York Minister, Lake District. It’s also a good idea to say how many bedrooms there are. Keep your advert readable and appealing with a balance between style and keywords – after all, your aim is to get your readers into a holiday mood.

How to complete the Description:

Category  – select from the dropdown box the option that best suits your property

Listed In/Room Type –  select whether you are renting out the ‘Entire Home’ ‘Private Room’ or ‘Shared Room’description

Guest No. – Select the number of guests that your property can accommodate.

City/TownVillage –  When you start typing it give suggestions.
Select the appropriate location
Region / Area – This is where you can specify which region or popular destination your property is located e.g,  Cotswolds, Peak District, North Wales,

Property Description

The next section of your advert, ‘Property Description’, is the first piece of text holidaymakers will read when they click on your listing in the search results pages. Here you can talk about the holiday you’re offering by describing the property in detail. This section gives you the chance to shout about your USPs and explain why holidaymakers should stay in your home. Divide your text into short paragraphs, ideally with one idea per paragraph – reading text on screen is much easier if it’s in short chunks.

Location – describe the location’s highlights (e.g. beaches, attractions, amenities, etc.). Emphasise extras such as views and proximity to the beach, golf course or a local tourist hotspot. And tailor your text to your target audience so if you’re aiming to attract families talk about child-friendly activities in the area.

Share your local knowledge and recommend places of interest, restaurants and activities holidaymakers can enjoy when they stay in your property. Suggest unusual things that might not feature in a local tour guide. Try to make your text sound interesting and exciting.

Keep it real 

Your advert should be 100% accurate and include no embellished or untrue information about your property. Providing a true picture of what guests can expect to find means you avoid complaints and cannot be accused of misrepresentation. Telling the truth applies to the property, its facilities and immediate surroundings as well, so if building work is going on in the adjoining plot you need to mention this too.

Be truthful in your advert and in communications with guests about:

Number of beds – state the maximum and make sure guests know if this includes sofa beds.

Distances – say exactly how far away attractions and amenities are. Don’t use expressions like ‘stone’s throw’.

Works – tell guests if any construction or road works are happening nearby so they’re prepared for any disruption or noise.

Facilities – only advertise facilities that will be actually fitted in your home when the guests will be staying. And state clearly what they are – a whirlpool bath is not a Jacuzzi.

Shared usage – let holidaymakers know if any of the facilities are shared by you (if you live on site) or any other guests.

Tips:

1.shout about your USPs – remember your text and photos are your hard sell.

2. Double-check your spelling and grammar – get someone else to check them for you before you post the advert.

3. Keep ‘flowery’ and unnecessary words out of your writing – more is not always better.

4. Do Get someone who doesn’t know your property to look at your text and give you their honest opinion – are they inspired to book a stay after reading?

5. Give your text a chatty, friendly tone – use ‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘your family’ to make the holidaymaker feel part of the advert.

6. Bring yourself and your family into the advert – talk about ‘I’ and ‘we’ to give it a personal touch.

7. Go easy on capital letters – whole words in capital letters give the impression you’re shouting and can put people off.

8. Keep your advert up to date – talk about changes to your property, new features and events in the area, etc.

9. Go easy on the word ‘luxury’ – try to use alternative words in your advert and let guests make up their own mind.

Pricing

Deciding how much to charge for your holiday let isn’t easy, particularly at the beginning when your property hasn’t established a name for itself and your market is untested. Be prepared to be flexible on your rates, particularly in the current crisis and during low season.

Think of your rental rates as a work in progress and bear in mind that over the long term, you will probably change them several times. And remember, it always makes better financial sense to fill more weeks at a lower price than to let your property less often for more.

Research your market 

First of all, research the holiday letting market in your area. Look at other holiday homes in the same place and get an idea of the going rates. These rates will also give you an idea of the local holiday market since higher prices usually mean higher demand.

Then look at properties with similar characteristics to yours to get a more accurate assessment of what you might charge. To attract holidaymakers, you could set a lower rate than similar homes but don’t go too low as people may start to wonder what’s wrong with your property! Alternatively, you could charge a similar price but include more extras than your competitors.

Do your sums 

All in – to make your rates easier to understand, go for fully inclusive prices. Factor in utility costs – bear in mind that heating will push up your electricity and/or gas bills in the winter as will air conditioning in the summer – and include cleaning, linen and laundry bills.

Discounts – if you’re offering discounts make these clear in the ‘Rental rates notes’ box, the section that appears immediately below the rental rates tables. For example, 15% discount for two-week stays.

Extras – you may wish to charge a supplement if you allow pets (many owners charge a weekly ‘rent’ for dogs) or for extras such as airport transfers and food shopping. Make it clear in your advert what these costs are and when they’re applicable.

Nightly rate – one way of filling your rental calendar is to allow shorter stays, e.g. weekends or four-day breaks.

If you find your rental rates aren’t working to attract holidaymakers you can edit your advert at any time and change them. 

Seasonality 

When setting your rates, research prices during the area’s high and low seasons. Bear in mind that seasons depend on a variety of factors such as the time of year, weather, school holidays and local events. Some places have two peak seasons – for example, high season in the Canary Islands runs from December to February as well as during July and August. In low season, you can attract holidaymakers by offering lower rates or special deals.

Easy structure 

Keep your rates structure simple and easy to understand. You can divide your rates into seasons, months or weeks, but don’t have too many price bands as this can be confusing.

Think ahead 

Many people book their holidays well in advance so it’s a good idea to provide information on your rental rates for at least the next year. LetStayAnywhere.com recommends posting rates up to 18 months in advance, particularly if your property’s in a location hosting a major cultural or sporting event.

How to set pricing:

Price per night

This should be an average of different seasonal prices (leave blank for POA)

Price per night in GBP (price for one week or more)

This should be your weekly price divided by 7. (leave blank for POA)

Price per weekend (Sunday and Saturday)

This is the price you charge for a weekend (leave blank for POA)

Cleaning Fee

If you have an extra charge for cleaning put it here. If you don’t charge extra for cleaning leave it blank.

City Fee (not very common)

If you charge a city fee put it here. If you do not charge a city fee leave it blank.

Minimum days of booking

State weather you require the guest to book a minimum number of days. i.e you only do weekly rentals (7 days) or per night (1 day) etc.

Price Adjustments

This is where you can specify different prices for different times of the year (high season, low season, holidays etc). You can block out individual days or highlight for longer periods.

It’s actually very easy to block dates, just click on the first day and then on the last day and click book period.

To unblock it go to ‘My Bookings’ and click ‘Cancel my own booking’ for selected period.

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 15.19.25Images

It’s no cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words and photos are possibly the most important part of your advert. It’s therefore well worth taking time (and perhaps professional help) to produce an impressive picture gallery that showcases your home. Think of your photos as a marketing brochure and make them as glossy and appealing as possible.

In a LetStayAnywhere.com user survey, 77% of respondents said that photos of a property are the first thing they look at in an advert and the most influential factor in their decision. 

This section offers advice on taking the best photos, choosing the right photos for your advert and writing captions for your photos.

Snap happy 

In the age of digital cameras, taking photos has never been easier, but that doesn’t necessarily make for good pictures. Consider hiring a professional photographer for your property – this need not be expensive and quality photos taken by an expert really do stand out from the crowd.

If you decide to take your own photos there are several important things to bear in mind to ensure your gallery shows your property as photogenically as possible:

Choose a sunny day – always take your photos on a sunny day. A touch of sunshine brings out the best of a property, both inside and out. First thing in the morning or late afternoon provides the best lighting conditions, particularly in hot countries where the glare of the midday sun tends to spoil photos.

Let there be light – turn lamps and side lights on for interior pictures to add extra light to your photos.

Set the scene – put flowers in vases and fruit in bowls, add bright cushions or throws to beds and sofas, light the log fire, etc.

Spic and span – make sure the property is tidy with clutter cleared away.

Inside and outside – take photos of the inside and outside of the property, and of the surrounding area and attractions.

USPs – photograph some of your USPs such as a terrace, Jacuzzi, Aga cooker or four-poster bed. In general, show off the property’s best features and don’t bother with the bathroom unless it’s unique.

Get perspective – to get a wide angle in small narrow rooms, use a fisheye lens on your camera or stand on a chair in a corner and take a photo from there.

High definition – your LetStayAnywhere.com advert allows you to display photos in HD so ensure you upload hi-resolution (usually large file sizes) to your advert.Girl-taking-pics-with-Canon

Natural extras – snap those unique natural moments – spectacular sunsets, gardens at their best, cherry trees in bloom, snow on the hills, etc.

Nobody at home – keep people out of your pictures. Guests like to imagine themselves in your property.

Capture all seasons – include photos of your property at different times of year. For example, display bright sunny pictures after Christmas when people are thinking about their summer holidays and crisp winter snaps in the autumn when Christmas and New Year breaks are on their mind.

Dress indoor and outdoor tables with food and drink for photos. 

The right order 

In a LetStayAnywhere.com advert, you get 24 photo slots. The first picture is your lead photo and the first one prospective guests will see when they search for holiday lets. This together with a sample of other photos is displayed on your main advert page. The other photos can be viewed when a guest clicks ‘All photos’.

Since your lead photo is the first one guests see when they search for properties, this picture needs to attract their attention and stand out from other properties they see after entering their search criteria. Spend some time looking at adverts for other holiday lets in your area and try to choose an image that conjures up an idyllic holiday. For example, if your property is near a popular attraction lead with a photo of it. If your holiday let is in a resort, start with a picture of a sun lounger and cocktail. For a ski or mountain location, choose a sparkling snow scene, etc.

When uploading your photos, think about seasonality. If it’s coming up to the winter months you might want to start with a crackling open fire or a picture of Christmas decorations in the local town. When you’re attracting summer bookings, include bright, sunny pictures and photos of the garden and swimming pool.

Take a picture of a lovely nearby café, restaurant or the local food market and include it in your photo selection to appeal to holidaymakers’ taste buds. 

Video 

Live action speaks much louder than words – LetStayAnywhere.com statistics show that adverts with videos get more enquiries. Not only does a video of your home mean you can emphasise your USPs, it gives holidaymakers a real idea of the kind of holiday they can expect in your property.

Since making a short film of your property isn’t necessarily time consuming and uploading it on to your LetStayAnywhere.com advert is free, it’s well worth including a video in your holiday home marketing. You don’t need to be a pro to make a decent video, but you do need to think about the following:

Equip yourself – you don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive equipment, but your video should be as high quality as possible. Try to get high definition shots to ensure crisp images on screen.

Set the scene – make your USPs the main focus of your video, both inside and out. Film the Jacuzzi bubbling away, the log fire crackling, the swimming pool sparkling. Take in the outside of your property and the grounds and views from the house. Try to include short scenes of the local area such as a sunny beach with waves lapping on the shore or an action-packed ski run.

Short and sweet – research shows that the ideal online video length is less than three minutes. Any longer and viewers get bored so keep your holiday home video short.

Sound track – although sound isn’t vital, it does enhance your video. A voice-over brings added marketing value since you can describe your home as the features are displayed. Background music or natural sounds (e.g. waves or bird song) are also options, but if you add music you need permission for use if the copyright is owned by someone else.

Take 2 – practice makes perfect and you may need to take several shots before you get the right one. Try to keep the camera steady and avoid moving it too fast to keep images in focus.

The perfect edit – spend some time editing your video to get the best results. You can buy video editing software or use a pre-installed program on your computer such as Windows Movie Maker.

How to upload images:

Click ‘select media’ this will allow you to upload your required images. you can rearrange the order of the images by simply dragging and dropping.

How to select video:

It is very simple to add video to your listing by inputting your video ID from either VIMEO or Youtube.

To find your Video ID, go to the Vimeo page and find the video you want to put on your website. Once it is loaded, look at the URL and look for the numbers that come after the slash (/).
It is very simple to find your YouTube video ID. First, go to the YouTube webpage. Look at the URL of that page, and at the end of it, you should see a combination of numbers and letters after an equal sign (=). This is the code you need to enter into your YouTube stack.

Details

Size in m2 – This is where you can input the size of the property

Rooms – This is where you put the number of rooms the property has

Bedrooms – This is where you put the number of bedrooms the property has

Bathrooms – This is where you put the number of bathrooms the property has

Check-in hour – This is where you specify the time that guests can checkin

Check-Out hour – This is where you specify the time that guests must checkout by

Late Check-in –  This is where you specify what time late checkin is

Optional services – This is where you can list any optional/aditional services you offer.

Outdoor facilities – This is where you can list any outdoor facilities you might have e.g tennis court etc

Extra People – This is where you can specify if you allow extra people

Cancellation – This is where you can advise what your cancellation policy is.

Location

This is where you set the geographical location of your property. It is very simple – just input your property’s address in the supplied boxes and then click ‘Place Pin with Address’ this will automatically find the address on the map. You can also click on the map to move the pin if it is not in the correct location.Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 15.27.44

Amenities and Features

Select what amenities and feature your property has by ticking the boxes.

Calendar 

The availability calendar is one of the most important features in your advert. Not only is it useful for you to manage your bookings, it’s an essential tool for guests to find out if they can stay in your property on their preferred dates.

Managing the calendar – this is a simple process, which allows you to mark definite bookings on the calendar. just select the first date and the last date of the period you would like to book you can then ad notes to provide information about periods when the property isn’t available or if you’re offering special rates for long-term lets. e.g. closed for renovations or booked by family etc – don’t forget to block dates on the availability calendar when you’re using the property.

Always up date – it’s vital to keep your calendar right up to date. LetStayAnywhere.com market research shows that holidaymakers are more likely to enquire about a property if they can see the availability calendar is up to date. LetStayAnywhere.com recommends you update every 7-10 days.Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 15.30.04

Filling your availability calendar

One of the biggest challenges in the holiday letting business is attracting enough guests to fill your calendar. Few holiday homes manage year-round lets and when you first start renting out your home, you may only achieve between 40% and 50% occupancy.

Many factors will influence how much you fill your availability calendar including your property’s location; its unique selling points; and your LetStayAnywhere.com advert

Your marketing strategy will also play a vital part in attracting guests to your property and thereby boosting your rental income. This is particularly important during the current economic climate when holiday budgets tend to be tighter. Ways of filling empty weeks in your calendar include:

Discounts – offer discounted prices for advance or last-minute bookings. Although the majority of holidaymakers book their summer break between January and August, 20-25% of bookings are made from September to December. Offering a discount with an Early or Late Deal will place you in the popular deal searches on LetStayAnywhere.com. The deal will also be highlighted on your advert and in your listing in the search results.

Special deals – in low season, it’s worth offering a longer stay for less, e.g. 14 nights for the price of 11, or up-selling a week’s stay by offering ten nights for the price of seven. If your property’s abroad include links to airlines on your advert so holidaymakers can easily find out whether flights are available.

Repeat bookings – these are a sign that not only is your property in the right place with the right equipment, your services are also good enough to return to – the ultimate holiday let accolade! Holidaymakers who return are also more likely to recommend your property to their friends and family, so they are well worth nurturing. To tempt repeat bookings, offer a discount especially if they book early. Go that extra mile when it comes to welcome hampers and packs, and customer service.

Loyalty rewards – think about offering guests a discount if they book another holiday with you. The discount could be for a similar time of year or a completely different one tied to a local event to show them another side to the destination.

Incentives – find out if there are any cultural or sporting events in your area such as film festivals, art exhibitions, football matches or horse racing and include tickets in your rental price. Alternatively, offer gift vouchers for a nearby spa, a complimentary meal at a recommended restaurant or a round of golf at the local course. If there are seasonal attractions in your area such as a Christmas market or spring fayre mention these in your advert to add to your property’s appeal.

If you speak any language other than English say so in your advert. This helps foreign holidaymakers when they enquire and widens your potential rental market. 

Special interest – consider offering special interest holidays such as wine tasting, bird watching, hiking or a cookery course. Visit your local tourist board to see what’s available in the area that you can use as an additional hook.

Update – let your previous guests know about any changes or improvements you make to the property, changes in your rental rates, discounts and any forthcoming events in the area. You could send them this information in a New Year card or newsletter (see Good reads).

Long lets – letting your property for longer than a standard holiday let brings in rental income during low season and reduces your cleaning costs. But before you advertise your property as a long-term let, check the legalities carefully to ensure your guests can’t acquire tenancy rights and consider the tax implications (you may not qualify for holiday let tax breaks). You also need to check long-term rentals are permitted in your area and find out your obligations as a landlord.

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