First impressions count. When it comes to marketing your vacation rental, potential guests won’t judge it by its curb appeal or the smell of freshly-baked bread. They will decide solely using your website, its photographs and the mental images your property description conjures up.

According to a recent Nielsen study, one in every two queries in travel results in a purchase. So if you have less than a 50% conversion rate in securing bookings from inquiries, perhaps your description isn’t working, and is driving the visitor to choose another property.

It’s not just poor grammar, overly long sentences and glaring spelling mistakes that are a definite turn-off. Rather, there are heaps of overused words and meaningless phrases, which should be avoided if you want to write an effective vacation rental listing description.

1. Breathtaking


Every property seems to have “breathtaking” views, but unfortunately this once powerful word is so overused that it ceases to stir any emotion in the reader. Whether you are describing your landscape, beach or sunset views, try shaking up the description with something more eloquent and evocative.

What to do instead

Describe your surroundings and let your potential guests what they’re missing out on if they don’t stay with you. For example, majestic mountain views, dramatic fiery sunsets, shimmering emerald waters and pastoral sheep-nibbled landscapes – this kind of language will create a much more memorable picture in the reader’s head.

2. Nice

Nice is a trite word or a cliché; one of those words that have grown stale because it’s been used too much. It used to be a fresh and effective word, but it now suggests the writer is too lazy and unoriginal. You don’t want your potential guests to think you’re lazy with your business and your vacation rental properties lack substance, do you?

What to do instead

Swap out your “nices” for words like pleasant, stunning, enjoyable, uber-comfortable, bewitching, charming – anything that sounds better than a boring “nice”.

3. Something for everyone

Your vacation rental may well be surrounded by historic attractions, landscaped gardens, popular theme parks, sandy beaches, invigorating walks and chef-owned restaurants. That’s why it’s vital to give the reader those specifics instead of taking the lazy option of “something for everyone”.

What to do instead

Avoid sweeping generalizations by describing the specific activities and attractions that surround your property, letting the reader’s imagination run wild by picturing themselves on vacation right there.

4. Broken


Instructions such as “open carefully to avoid damaging the hinges” or “please ignore the broken drawer which is due to be fixed” are an instant turn-off. Just by putting a warning of a potential hazard in writing can cause potential guests to worry about being harmed, blamed or charged for broken fixtures and they will quickly move on to the next property.

What to do instead

Never make excuses for anything that is damaged, broken or imperfect. Get it fixed immediately to avoid hostile reviews and potential cancellations. In the long run, it’s the cheapest solution.

5. Small

Avoid admitting that a room or studio is small or cramped. There are no shortage of creative ways to describe a small property without telling untruths which will only result in disappointing reviews.

What to do instead

Be more inventive with your language use. The words “bijou”, “cozy”, “thoughtfully designed” and “romantic pied-à-terre” convey a quirky picture of an intimate and inviting space that may be small, but nonetheless exudes its own romantic charm and homely appeal.

6. Unique


Every vacation rental property is unique. Using this word to describe your vacation rental is a wasted opportunity.

What to do instead

Rather than stating the obvious and risk losing the reader’s attention, make every word count positively.

A common rule for travel writers is “show, don’t tell”. Rather than describing facts, such as a marble bathroom with whirlpool tub, allow the reader to see themselves “enjoying a bubbly soak in the oversized tub with a glass of wine and soft candlelight”.

7. Must

Guests looking for a relaxing escape may react negatively to being told they “must” do anything on their much-needed vacation. Telling someone they “must” go there or “must” do that does not suggest the freedom that guests are seeking.

What to do instead

It may be the case that visitors “must” walk through one bedroom to reach another, “must” dispose of their garbage in the bins provided, or “must” pick up after their pet, but your vacation rental description is not the place to use such assertive tones. You can, instead, add these guidelines to your house rules or terms & conditions.

8. World-class


Unless you are describing the Louvre in Paris, a three-Michelin-star restaurant or an Olympic medallist, the term “world-class” is probably a huge exaggeration. It’s unlikely that your local pancake house serves “world-class” food, so avoid writing something that is not going to live up to expectation.

What to do instead

Try using words like “exceptional” or “outstanding”, which are far more credible and down-to-earth.

9. Hidden gem

The first writer to coin the phrase “hidden gem” knew exactly what they were suggesting, but that phrase is now so hackneyed that the meaning is totally lost. Skeptical readers may even doubt whether your vacation rental is such a “hidden gem” after all.

What to do instead

Try to find a more original description, without resorting to that other overused phrase – we’re looking at you, “off-the-beaten-path”!

10. Never

Even when used in a positive sense, it is best to avoid consciously using a negative word. The word “never” is emphatic and uncompromising. Even in the phrase “a vacation you will never forget”, it can sound hard and authoritative. This can be a turn-off for someone looking to escape the daily regimen of work, responsibility and routine.

What to do instead

Try a softer, more suggestive phrase such as “a vacation you will remember forever”.

So there you have it, our list of the top 10 words and phrases you should avoid at all costs in your listing descriptions. If you’re not up to doing the writing yourself, why not hire a professional writer or agency to help you out.

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1 Comment
  1. Nelly Reply

    Really useful suggections. I will go over all my property summeries and I will replace several words.

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