Is ‘Renovated’ a Selling Point for Short-Term Rentals?

See all my articles on short-term-rental listing writing, including on titles/headlines, photo captions, opening paragraphs, the full listing description, and more.

In my work with the clients for whom I write listing descriptions, I’ve steered away from words like “renovated” because I believe they don’t have much meaning for guests since guests don’t know what the place looked like before and are much more focused on how it looks now.

But I know other experts, especially those in a real-estate realm, support “renovated” as a selling point. So, I conducted some informal crowd-sourcing on Facebook among friends who frequently book short-term rentals.

Of the 20 people who responded, about a quarter of them feel as I do – “renovated” is not a selling point that would motivate them to book a short-term rental. For one of them, it was even a negative. “Renovated is a negative for me,” he said. “It means the place is old.” A respondent whose views align precisely with mine said: “‘Renovated,’ to me, implies ‘not as bad as it used to be;’ there isn’t enough info to make it a positive. What was renovated? Talk about that instead – quaint cottage feel with all the benefits of a fully upgraded kitchen, for example.”

How recently and what part of the property?
Several others were interested in “renovation” as a selling point, but wanted to see more specifics (such as the upgraded kitchen the preceding respondent referred to). Some wanted to see the qualifier “recently” or information on when the renovation took place. Said one respondent: “If it’s a ‘quaint cottage’ then I think ‘renovated 2021’ might counter the impression of age.” Another noted: “‘Recently renovated’ has the connotation of modern amenities, even if in a quaint antique style.” Several respondents who fell into this category felt that “updated” would be a better selling point than “renovated.” “New” and “modern” were also cited as selling points for some.

Signifies attention and maintenance
Some respondents want to see “renovated” because they feel the word signifies that the owners take care of the property. For one respondent, “renovated” means, “I’d be less inclined to think it was run down and needing repair, and I’d expect everything to be in working order.” Said another: “I love the word ‘renovated’ in a listing. Tells me attention has been paid.” And another: “It tells me the owner maintains the property and furniture. I hate when I look at gorgeous listings online and then arrive to find a stained, broken, worn house.”

Bottom line
The word “renovated” is a booking-motivator to some prospective guests but means nothing to others. Thus, in an Airbnb title/headline, which is one of the first things a prospective guest sees in the listing and is limited to 50 characters, you may want to prioritize other selling points that are more universally appealing, such as “hot tub,” “pool,” or “game room.” You also may get more mileage out of “updated.” I’d recommend leaving “renovated” out of the headline/title, but considering inserting it in the 500-character opening paragraph. Also consider revealing when the property was renovated and what parts of the property were included in the renovation.

Need help with writing a listing description or photo captions? See my site or contact me. See all my articles on short-term rental listings.

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