Airbnb’s ’The Space’ Section: Your Best Opportunity to Captivate Guests by Previewing the Guest Experience

See all my articles about short-term rental listings.

In the vast majority of Airbnb listing critiques I write for members of my Facebook group Critique My Airbnb Listing, I include this passage: “I recommend a narrative verbal tour that enables guests to envision themselves in the space – a key to attracting guests.” This passage also describes the way I craft The Space section for clients of my listing-writing service.  Some hosts are understandably mystified by how to create this narrative verbal tour that captures the guest experience. This article describes how to do it.

But before we get into the how-to, let’s look at ways hosts typically handle The Space section and what’s wrong with them:

  • Bulleted lists of the features in each room: The great advantage of this style is that it’s well organized and extremely reader-friendly; a guest can scan The Space section very quickly. The downside is that it completely overlooks describing the guest experience. Many hosts and some guests swear by bulleted lists in this section, and if this is how your The Space section is set up, and business is booming, I wouldn’t try to talk you into the verbal tour. But if your booking machine is slowing down, I’d suggest at least trying the tour approach. Here’s an example from Sai in the Critique My Airbnb Listing group that uses bullets effectively and also integrates detail and the guest experience:  Effective example of bullets in The Space section
  • Very sparse information: I see many The Space sections with just a few sentences. These are usually written by hosts who have no idea what content to include here. A sparsely populated The Space section is a significant missed opportunity.
  • Description of features that may or may not follow a room-by-room format: This approach is getting closer to the idea of the tour. But it’s not a guest-centric approach. What’s the guest-centric approach? It’s the difference between describing features and describing how guests will experience those features.
  • Inclusion of features that have nothing to do with The Space: I will often see in The Space section information that belongs in other sections, especially location information.
  • The Space section completely omitted: I critique lots of listings in which the host has submitted no information at all for The Space section, so the section doesn’t even appear in the listing. I speculate that hosts with no The Space section are either baffled like the sparse-info hosts described above or they are brand-new hosts setting up a listing for the first time. Airbnb allows – and even encourages – hosts to publish new listings after uploading photos, entering the title, and submitting the 500-character opening paragraph. Many hosts aren’t even aware other sections exist (The Space, Guest Access, Other Things to Note, and the Location tab).

The above represents what not to do, with the possible exception of the bulleted list (as long as the host has a good track record with the bulleted approach).

Now, the how-to…  It’s a technique that’s hard to grasp without samples, so you’ll find samples later in the article. First, here are my general tips:

Make it guest-centric. I cover this concept comprehensively in my article, The Secret to Next-Level Short-Term Rental Listings: Describing the Guest Experience, but I’ll explain briefly here. Use the pronoun “you” and imperative verbs as much as possible. Here are examples, borrowed from the Guest Experience article:

  • Without “you:” The kitchen is equipped with a full-sized refrigerator, an oven with a four-burner stove, a microwave, a toaster, a coffee maker, and a large farm table for food prep.
  • With “you:” You’ll have everything you need for meal prep in the fully equipped with full-sized refrigerator, oven with four-burner stove, microwave, toaster, coffee maker, and a large farm table.

Grammatically, imperative verbs represent an action a speaker or writer wants or commands someone else to do; in the case of a listing, it’s more of a suggestion than a command. Below are imperative phrases and sentences with imperative verbs I use frequently in writing listing descriptions:

  • Discover the bunk room, where kids and adults alike will enjoy the twin-on-queen bunkbed.
  • Plan an unforgettable stay …
  • Experience a sense of tranquility and relaxation.
  • Enjoy the warmth of the modern gas fireplace.
  • Catch the game and your favorite shows …
  • Dine al fresco on the wraparound deck at the table for eight.
  • Relax on comfy furniture as the ceiling fan circulates air …

Let your photos guide you. I like to think of photos and The Space as sister sections of your listing. Ideally, your photos will be in a logical order that relates to a walk-through (or tour) of the home. Even better, The Space section will unfold in the same order the photos do (probably excluding the first few photos you’ve chosen to entice guests into your listing). Looking at your photos will help you describe features in each room and how guests will experience them. It’s also OK to use some of the same verbiage in photo captions as you do in The Space section and vice versa. By the way, I strongly recommend including a floor plan in your photos, which will significantly boost guests’ ability to understand how they will experience the space.

Make it reader-friendly: Use short paragraphs in The Space section so prospective guests can easily read it. Big blocks of type can be daunting.

Establish the order for your tour: The order in which you present information in the tour of your space should have some logic to it but doesn’t have to be completely realistic. For example, my chosen order starts with the idea of the guest first arriving at the rental but then morphs into what a typical day might be like. It involves some suspension of disbelief because one of the first rooms I cover is the living room, when in reality, a guest arriving at the rental would probably first head for the bedroom area to claim a bedroom and stow luggage. You certainly don’t have to use the same order I do, but here’s the setup of my tour:

  • Entrance: Here I talk about the convenience of self-check-in/keyless entry.
  • Living room: For the majority of listings I’ve written, guests are in the living room when they enter, but if they’re not, the tour invites them to “head to the living room.” Here, I talk about relaxing on the comfortable furnishings and enjoying the fireplace, if there is one. This is a great place to describe the TV and how content is provided (cable, streaming), what streaming services are available, and whether guests need to use their own log-ins. Windows and views sometimes come into play in the living room.
  • Kitchen: I describe all the appliances, equipment, counterspace, and supplies available in the kitchen, giving a sense of how easy it will be to prepare meals.
  • Coffee bar/station: The vast majority of client listings offer this feature. I describe the type of coffeemaker, tea kettle, and supplies provided.
  • Dining room/area: Usually a simple description of how many can be seated at the table, and any auxiliary seating space if the table seats fewer than the home sleeps (and as an aside, hosts, please provide enough seating for the number of guests the home sleeps).
  • Outdoor dining and grill: Here, I segue into the outdoor space, typically using a phrase like, “Or dine al fresco at the outdoor table that seats 8.” Almost all my clients have outdoor dining facilities, but if they don’t I save the outdoor space for later in The Space section.
  • Other outdoor features: Here, I describe pool, hot tub, firepit, outdoor games, patio, lanai, deck, fenced yard (if rental is pet-friendly, I talk about the doggo romping in the yard), kids’ play area, and any other outdoor amenities.
  • Other inside rooms: I then segue back inside to any inside non-bedroom bonus spaces not already covered, such as game room, dedicated office space, or theater room.
  • Bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms: I next describe bedrooms, including where they are in the house (upstairs, downstairs, basement, etc.) noting type of bed, TV specs if the room has one, available storage, sitting areas, and sometimes features like bedside tables, lamps, mirrors, and ceiling fans. Workspaces are often found in bedrooms, too. I describe the ensuite of any bedroom that has one noting shower and/or tub configuration and bathroom essentials, such as hair dryer and toiletries.
  • Standalone/common bathrooms:  I describe the bathrooms that aren’t attached to a bedroom.
  • Laundry room/washer dryer: I always end the tour with laundry facilities, whether a dedicated room, or a washer and dryer in another room. Virtually all my clients have had washers and dryers.

End The Space section with a bulleted list of Amenity Highlights: This reader-friendly list gives The Space section the best of both worlds ­– a detailed narrative covering all rooms followed by a summary of the best features that the guest can scan quickly. Now, of course, Airbnb does not actually enable bullets, but you’ll find ways to create bullets. I use dashes ( – ), but you could use asterisks, lowercase O’s ( o ) and other symbol possibilities (e.g., ☆). Here’s a sample Amenity Highlights list from a client listing:


– Theater Room

– Ping-Pong Room

– Multiple TVs

– TWO fully equipped kitchens

– 6-bed bunkroom

– Thermo Masseau soaking tub

– Wet-room-style shower

– Bidet

– Two hand-cut stone wood-burning fireplaces

– Firepit

– Gas grill

– Deck

– Laundry room: washer/dryer

– Outdoor shower

– Lakeside beach and beach accessories


Here’s a sample listing in which The Space section takes a unique approach. While I would probably tweak it a bit and move things around, I admire the way it’s organized, not as a tour, but as a set of detailed selling points about the space. This is from Val, another member of the Critique My Airbnb Listing group: The Space section with unique selling-point approach.

To truly illustrate the difference between listing features and describing how the guest will experience the features, here’s a before-and-after crafted just the way I would for a client. This is The Space section of a listing from Joa, another member of the Critique My Airbnb Listing group:

Enjoy the comfort of this home with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, gas fireplace w/ both grand & cozy living spaces. Main floor offers a bedroom with the king size bed and a master bathroom with a double vanity, tub and walk in shower. There is a half bathroom on this floor and washer and dryer. Large living room with a TV and fire stick so you can enjoy watching movies or just spend time by the fire place. Oversized windows add lots of sunshine. Upper floor consists of three bedrooms and a full size bathroom. Two of the bedrooms have custom made window seating and motorized blinds. One upstairs bedroom is huge. It has two double beds and a queen size bed. The lower level is a game room (air hockey, ping pong, pinball machine, board games). There is a comfortable couch, 120″ screen and a projector.
An outdoor firepit perfect for s’mores and a grill on the deck. Guests have access to 5 acres of land. All new appliances, new beds, new mattresses. The home is beautiful and peaceful all year round.
Our property offers a large parking area suitable for campers and boats if you choose to bring yours.

No need to fumble with keys as you effortlessly enter the front door via keyless entry. Walk through the entrance hall with its convenient hooks for hanging outerwear, and step into the living room.

Relax on the comfortable leather furnishings in the cozy warmth of the gas fireplace. You’ll love the spacious, airy feel of the room, provided by a soaring ceiling and natural light streaming in through oversized windows.   You’ll find an ideal setup for conversing, with two sofas facing each other. Watch movies via host-provided Netflix and more favorite programming on the TV using a Fire stick to access streaming channels with your own log-ins.

Craft culinary delights in the fully equipped kitchen with chef-preferred gas stove/oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave. You’ll also find a toaster, hand mixer, and automatic wine opener. You’ll have all the cookware, bakeware, dishware, flatware, glassware, serving-ware, and utensils you need to prepare and serve your favorite meals.

Grab your morning hot beverage from your choice of drip coffee maker, French press, Keurig coffee maker, or electric tea kettle. Enjoy sipping your beverage on the front-porch bench.

Dine at the dining table for 8, with additional barstool seating for 4 at the kitchen peninsula – also a great spot for breakfast, coffee, or a snack. Or dine al fresco at the double picnic tables in the yard and cook on the gas grill with host-supplied gas.

While you’re outside, relax in the hammock, chill out on the patio seating, and explore 5 acres of wooded land. In the evening, gather the group around the firepit in Adirondack chairs – with stumps for beverages. Make ‘smores – and memories.

Back inside, have a blast in the lower level, where you’ll find a game room with comfy theater nook boasting a 120″ screen, projector, and sofa for watching movies.

Enjoy air hockey, ping pong, a pinball machine, Xbox gaming console, and board games in this spacious area.  

After a full day of enjoying all the Poconos have to offer, or just hanging out at your home base taking advantage of all the fun things to do, head for a restful night’s sleep in your choice of four bedrooms.   The master bedroom with king bed is conveniently on the main level. You’ll find plenty of storage space in the closet and bedside tables with lamps. You’ll love the delightful views of the grounds, along with natural light and drapes to block the light at night. Settle into the comfy rocker with a good book.

You’ll love the convenience of the master ensuite bath with double-sink vanity, soaking tub, walk-in shower, and all bathroom essentials (hair dryer, towels, makeup towels, toiletries, and more).

Discover the remaining bedrooms upstairs. The Pink Bedroom offers a queen bed, charming floral wall mural, and inviting seating on a bench by the window, along with motorized blinds.

Check out the spaciousness of the huge Bonus Bedroom with colorful splashes provided by the linens on the two full-size beds and a queen bed. You’ll also find bench seating, motorized blinds, and a 55” TV in this room.

The fourth bedroom offers a queen bed and a separate workspace for any remote-work needs, supported by fast Wi-Fi.

Refresh and rejuvenate in the common bathrooms, all providing every bathroom essential. The upstairs full bathroom offers tub/shower combo. In the game room you’ll find a bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower, and on the main level by the laundry room is a half-bath with a barn-door-style slider.

You’ll love the convenience of the laundry area with washer, dryer, and supplies.

– Game room with air hockey, ping pong, pinball machine, Xbox gaming console, and board games
– Theater nook in game room with 120″ screen and projector
– Fully equipped kitchen
– Backyard with the fire pit, patio, wooded 5 acres
– Dedicated workspace
– Fast Wi-Fi
– Outdoor dining
– Gas grill
– Washer and dryer
– Hammock
– Host-provided Netflix
– Pizza oven

Practicing What I Preach

While I’ve used this tour format for client listings for more than a year, I only recently got around to adapting my own listing to this format. As I share it with you, I offer two disclaimers: (1) it begins with a paragraph that doesn’t really belong in The Space section, but it’s been a part of my listing since I began in 2016, and I wasn’t ready to eliminate it, and (2) my The Space section is very long. I would not craft a section this long for a client, but because I am intimately familiar with my own listing, I had a lot to include. It may not stay as long as it is currently. Check it out here: Kathy’s The Space section.

If you recognize the value of describing the guest experience through a tour of your rental in The Space section of your Airbnb listing but are still not comfortable crafting the tour yourself, feel free to call on me to assist.

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