You’ve got the photos to hook potential guests. It's on to the listing description.
When you fill this out there are numerous options for you to include. We're only going to cover three of the important ones here: The title and actual listing description, the house rules and the cancellation policy.
Title and summary
The title and summary description are the first and only words potential guests see without clicking on “learn more.” So you need to make them count. Boil down the best qualities of the space and the location into a few words.
Here's good example of a title and description.
"The Penthouse — parking/pool/views"
This encapsulates the best qualities in as few words. Here's the accompanying description. Think inside and out.
"Relax in this cozy penthouse studio with stunning mountain views, free parking and a pool — ..."
That's the "inside" part. Now what about the "outside."
"... all within walking distance to bars, restaurants and arts venues."
Already, we're kind of excited about this place. We will definitely click through all the photos and check out the rest of the amenities.
Another way to think about your summary is that you don't sell the amenities, you sell the experience.
Guests can see the amenities below, already. And if they click on “learn more,” you’ll have an opportunity to detail more information about the space — the bed and the number of rooms and the TV and cable situation.
But the summary is the first thing they’ll see after clicking on your photo, so you want to sell them on the idea of your place. For instance:
"Live a local's life in the heart of Denver."
This would be a great headline or title if it fits. Otherwise, it's a perfect opening line of the summary. This tells potential guests that they will be in the bustling part of town, that they can walk to things, that if they want a city experience, this place is for them.
Here’s another example of a great title backed up by her photos.
Magical 420 Highlands Victorian
Each words tells you something important. The type of home and it’s location is in there — “Highlands Victorian.” And so is the type of experience guests can have — “Magical 420.”
And her photos back up her title’s imagery. Eclectic art, cow skulls, cacti and crystals all say to me a little magical home to spend my time in Denver.
Be sure to fill out the House Rules section. These will be sent to your guests automatically upon confirmation of a reservation. Be up front and honest about what you expect of guests and what is and is not allowed. Don’t, however, sound like a scrooge. How do you do this? Try to frame directions in the positive. If you don’t want smoking in your place, you could write, “No smoking in the house.” That will totally work. But remember that everything you do in your description is selling the potential guests on their experience. Instead, how about, “You’re welcome to enjoy a cigarette outside. However, we don’t allow any smoking in the house.”
What else do you include in your House Rules ? Anything you want. We write out any directions for using the TV, cable or stereo. We tell them what food or coffee they can use and what is off limits. We use the House Rules to inform them of any quirks in the house. A door that sticks. How to jiggle the key just right to unlock the deadbolt. We also include the WiFi username and password.
Again, the House Rules automatically are sent to your guests when they book your place. Giving guests anything they need to know up front can prevent them from texting you five times when they arrive.
We set our cancellation policy to the strictest. This policy will give guests a 50% refund any time between booking and one week prior to arrival. Within one week of arrival, there is no refund.
This policy gives me the most flexibility. If a guest books three months out, and then two months before arrival, they say they can’t come, they would get 50% back and you’d keep 50%.
Now, you can always use Airbnb’s dispute resolution center to offer them the rest of the money, if you want. But under this policy, the default is that you get your money.
We never return all the money. We may return some of it. But the truth is, that guest’s reservation blocked other potential guest’s booking, and we want to be compensated for that. Again, this gives you flexibility, and it comes down to your comfort level.