How Often Should You Update Your Listing?


When you’re competing for ranking on VRBO or Airbnb, playing by the rules of the algorithm is everything. Take too long to get back to a tenant question, and watch your placement slide. 

But how important is it to update your short-term rental’s headline? The truth is, the best intel we have is not directly from the listing sites. Just like with Google ranking, these sites don’t want you to “game” the algorithm by telling you exactly how it works. 

However, we do have data from STR titans like Rob Abasolo and Avery Carl, whose advice, having tried everything under the sun and analyzed the results, is just as good. Here are their “headline” bits of advice.

Photos Are Most Important

If you’re going to tweak one thing on your listing, make it your photos. Skip the pretty beach photo (if you’re renting out a beach house, everyone already knows the beach is gorgeous) and set yourself apart with incredible pics of your rental. 

But importantly, shuffle the order and upload new pics as you can. This makes a difference, says Abasolo on a recent BiggerPockets podcast, “From an algorithmic standpoint, there have been many times when I’ve uploaded new photos and immediately saw a boost in revenue,” he explained. “Now, you can say the new photos helped me do that, or that Airbnb notices whenever you’re going in and actually changing up your listing.”  

Update Your Headline With Timely Words

One of the best ways to tweak your headline and change up your listing so the algorithm notices is to add in something timely. 

Two months out from spring break? Work in some headline verbiage about “Spring Break Perfection.” Coming up on ski season? Add something to your mountain condo headline about how you’re 25 steps from the gondola. 

Carl noted on the podcast that timing for these headline changes is key. “We like to make sure our headlines say something about spring break around five to eight weeks before, and make sure we’re using our headline to [showcase] all the amenities we offer, whether that’s a private pool or a mountain view.”

Whatever You Do, Don’t Forget to Take it Down

As soon as you update your headline, add a reminder in your calendar to take it down after the timely event has passed. There is no quicker way for your listing to seem dated than to be still advertising “Great Spot for Leaf Peeping!” in February.

Hooks to Try in Your STR Headlines

  • Summer rentals!
  • Now booking for [Any month] 
  • Spring break
  • Leaf Peeping
  • Big sporting or cultural events (i.e., “2 miles from Coachella!”)
  • New Year’s or Winter Break
  • Parents Weekend (if you’re near a college)
  • When you’ve added a new amenity (Private hot tub!)

Have you tried making your STR headline more timely? Did you get good results? Let us know in the comments!

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

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