Whether you’ve had your vacation rental business five minutes or five years, when you search around for tips and advice on how to best market your property, you’ll be faced with the fact that vacation rental listing descriptions really do change the way guests think about your home.
Some years ago now, industry specialist Matt Landau conducted an experiment on the well-known free advertising site Craigslist using two different descriptions for the same property. The conclusions he drew remain very much relevant to the market today: modern travelers prefer well-written, creative and informative content when it comes to choosing their vacation rental.
Here are our top tips for writing vacation rental listing descriptions that will help generate more inquiries on your site.
1. Appeal to your audience
The main task at hand here is to use vocabulary that will convince the right guests to book your place, so before you even begin planning to write your vacation rental descriptions, think carefully about who your target audience is.
Depending on whether your audience is millennials, young families or retired couples, your content will require different language choices.
Start by putting yourself in your audience’s shoes and think about what details would really entice you, and use this to your advantage. Is it the quirky poolside cabana or the child-friendly picnic area in the backyard?
Whoever your audience, remember to always keep the focus on them.
2. Establish your tone
Airbnb tells its users to ‘write how you talk‘ and we couldn’t agree more. Many vacation rental owners make the mistake of thinking that professional means formal when it comes to writing. But think about it: your website is the first point of contact potential bookers have with your vacation rental, so conveying your personality as a host is a must. It can easily be achieved through the tone of your writing.
Try to write your listing descriptions as though you’re describing your property to a friend – you’ll capture an informal yet excited tone that will draw your reader in. Just be sure to keep it consistent throughout.
3. Make sure your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is unique
Everyone knows the vacation rental industry is growing bigger and bigger each week, so the only way to win more bookings is by creating standout content that obliterates any chance of competition. Just kidding! Well, kind of not really…
Your listing descriptions are the best chance you have as a business to show off exactly what makes your property a knockout, so you should focus on what your home boasts that no one else around you has.
We can’t emphasize enough that your unique selling points should be exclusive to your vacation rental, so don’t be afraid to research your competition to familiarize yourself.
There’s no need to rush your decision. Once you’ve worked out what your USPs are, weave the rest of your property description around these aspects. Whether that’s in your introduction or as headers to break up the content. Guests will love that you’ve taken the time to deliberately include certain things, especially when they’re weighing up their own decision themselves.
4. Succeed through storytelling
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s enough to attract guests with a long list of all the amenities your property offers. Instead, aim to allure viewers with a carefully composed story of what their vacation will be like at your home.
Use active verbs and avoid cliché adjectives to provide the reader with the most vivid image of their stay, and pair up your story with some high quality images.
You can really imagine what it’s like to stay somewhere when the website paints a descriptive picture, and this is exactly what helped Matt Landau double his listing views and triple his inquiry rate.
5. Keep it short and sweet
Experts predicted that by 2016, 73% of Americans would use a mobile device to research their vacation options. Bear this in mind when you’re writing your vacation rental listing descriptions, as this trend is only increasing. It’s best to write in short, succinct sentences that readers can quickly flick through on their mobile device.
There are many ways you can organize your website’s content into easy-to-digest chunks which will also have a positive effect on your search engine rankings – our expert guide to vacation rental on-page optimization can help with this.
6. Stick to specifics
It’s so easy to get carried away writing about the area as a whole, because of course, you love the place! Just remember there’s no need to preach to the converted as your site visitors are already looking for a property in your city or town, so think back to what will set you apart from your competitors.
You might not be the only vacation rental in a few kilometer radius that’s a five-minute walk to the beach, or a 10-minute drive to the mountains. But you can be the vacation rental around that knows where to spot wildlife, how great the sunset is from that spot up on the hill that tourists don’t usually know about, or who recommends the best places to eat local cuisine.
Always focus in on the specifics – they will be your key to winning over more direct bookings.
To conclude, here’s some expert advice from James Woolley, Director of Totalstay:
“Property listings are all too often hastily put together or treated as a last minute task. The description of your property however is just as important as the photographs you use.
A well-written listing has the power to help guests visualise a stay at your holiday rental. Spelling mistakes, unimaginative descriptions, overly long listings and over-exaggerations about the features your property offers can all negatively affect your rental marketing efforts.
If hiring a professional copywriter (or, better yet, a dedicated holiday rental manager) is not possible, get someone to proof-read your listings before they are published on your website. This can go a long way in making sure that your listings are free of errors and geared towards your ideal guest.”
Have you followed our tips and seen an increase in inquiries? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch via the comments below.
Still struggling to write your own vacation rental listing descriptions? Why not hire someone else to do it for you. Check out our guide to finding freelance copywriters.