Your cottage rental listing is a showcase for marketing and promoting your cottage, so take the time to do more than just upload a few grainy pictures and hope for the best. Paying attention to what rental guests are seeking is the key to attracting interest as well as bookings. When there are thousands of cottage owners vying for potential renters, you need to make your property stand own and get noticed
Start by looking for cottages that you would like to stay in. What sparks your interest? What rooms are most appealing? Can you imagine living in the place for a week; sleeping in the beds and cooking in the kitchen? Take some time to put yourself in your potential renters’ shoes and you’ll have a good foundation for what will work for your listing. Here are the key elements to get you started:
Describe your cottage in a few words to create a compelling headline. Pull out the features that will most appeal to potential renters and give them an irresistible spin. For example, “Spectacular Muskoka sunsets” or “ Relax and Rejuvenate on the Bruce” or “Kawartha Pets’ Paradise.”
Use descriptive text to paint a picture of the experience your renters will have. Get them to imagine sitting on the dock with a chilled glass of wine while the sun goes down at the end of a magical day or cooking up a storm for the family in the well-equipped kitchen before dining al fresco on the shaded deck. Remember not to hide anything that may surprise them, such as weedy waterfront, or close neighbours – these features will be fine for the best suited to your place (say, fishermen or parents who want their children to find friends).
The images on a listing must capture attention and create anticipation in order to convince a potential renter to make an inquiry instead of moving on to the next cottage. Before taking photographs, do a staging plan to ensure that each room is shown at its best. Lay up a kitchen island with a breakfast theme, a patio table with a fresh outdoor look, and a dining table for a candlelit dinner. Stage the bedrooms with attractive bedding, throw pillows, and lamps, and use greenery and artwork to provide added interest. An image that helps people imagine their vacation is much more effective than a bare-bones room.
Set aside a few hours for your photo shoot and pay attention to detail before you start to take pictures. Remove clutter and personal items, and turn on the lights to create ambiance and appeal. Natural light is best in the early to late afternoon. Take photos from different angles and experiment with close-ups of the best features such as a bed with attractive throw pillows and interesting artwork on the back wall. Pick the best to go on the listing then create additional albums on Flickr to showcase different aspects of the property.
If the listing site you are using has an availability calendar, keep it up to date and don’t ask potential renters to call you for rates or availability. They won’t. When people are searching for a cottage rental and are faced with a wide choice, they want accurate and up to date information and will move on very quickly if it is not at hand.
Most potential renters will start their search with a set of criteria a listing has to meet. To make their search easier and to get them to stick around and look at your place, make your facility list clear. List the number of bedrooms and bathrooms with detail on what is in each; include all main appliances and additional features such as internet and satellite TV. Attract renters with ‘Large DVD library’ or ‘Plenty of water toys’ or ‘Fishing rods and equipment.’ Attracting the eyes of picky renters often means having more amenities than the competition.
Considering renting out your cottage? CottageLife.com/rentals is a great place to start!