Starting with the heading, the first lines someone reads about your vacation rental are crucial. They decide whether people keep reading or look away. They mean more or less clicks, and ultimately more or less guests.
If the reader is really interested in your property they’ll force themselves to continue even if those lines are a boring string of words chosen without care. But, in this business, experience counts. It may make the difference between someone interacting with your listing and someone passing it over; or an A review versus a B review. So give it your all.
Keep your reader engaged; gauge the cadence of your writing.
Below are a few recommendations that can’t hurt when it comes to getting your viewers excited about your place. Remember, it’s not just the reader that will reward you for writing a killer description, search engines will too.
1. As mentioned above, the very first consideration is your heading. Our own Tommy Taylor said it best, “Property headlines are the most valuable real estate you have on any listing site. If your listing’s heading is not compelling enough to draw someone in to click on it, your headline is your weakest link. It won’t matter if you have great photos, copy and fantastic rates if no one clicks through.”
2. Location, location, location! Yes, location means a great deal for where your kids go to school, but also where you go for vacation. So mention where your property is in your first paragraph. The accommodation comes a close second in importance.
3. Limit your paragraphs to one idea. I know, we have so many good ideas that just flow one after the other. Make an effort to separate them out instead of just listing them in a bunch. It will be easier to digest that way.
4. Write catchy photo captions. Be descriptive and colorful instead of dead and clinical. That means the caption should make you feel good, eg, “The grass under the tree is perfect for summer picnics and badminton”.
5. “Kill all your little darlings”. Before you jump from your seat let me clarify what William Faulkner meant by this. In short, he meant that less is more, avoid fluff and filler. Faulkner, in other words, was talking about crafting a killer sentence, one so mind-bogglingly good it dominates a paragraph. If that’s got your creative juices over-flowing, follow the advice of the Strunk and White classic, The Elements of Style: “Use definite, specific, concrete language.” To accomplish this you must diligently delete meaningless words and phrases.
6. Use bullet points or numbering to make things easier. Think how this article would read if it were just one big paragraph jumbled together. (Not good! I should know since that’s how it was before I followed my own advice.)
7. Personalize your writing. Imagine an audience of one – and do not be afraid to use the magic words ‘you’ and ‘your’. Eg, “You will love the Jacuzzi at 76 degrees with the water jets rushing”.
8. Write like a human. Since the dawn of search engines “keywords” have been all the rage. While they’re still relevant, keywords usually target search engines such as Google, and search engines are made by people, and people do not like to read something that was written for a robot. The brilliant engineers have decided a more sophisticated ranking system is in order, one that rewards unique and real content over a littering of keywords. So give your property description a human voice. Remember, too, that some people still distrust the Internet, and are wary websites such as your own. Writing in a friendly and personal way, in your own voice, will help bring them around.
9. Share some humor. Humor goes a long way, especially when one is planning their vacation and looking forward to enjoying life to the fullest. Humor is often the easiest way to connect with your reader emotionally and to make your listing stand out. It goes a long way toward establishing trust.
10. Add a particularly flattering compliment or comment made by a guest. Prospective renters love to hear that a previous guest enjoyed their stay at your place. It does wonders in persuading them to book. It is that social proof they’re looking for.
11. Write a few lines in a foreign language. Choose the language of the tourists that often visit the area where your property is located, or the language of the local population. So if you have German tourists visiting your area, write a few lines in German that targets them. If your property resides in Costa Rica, include a few sentences in Spanish.