The Power of Property Descriptions
- May 15, 2021|
- Nikki Irvine|
The vacation rental market has become increasingly competitive, and despite a global pandemic many vacation rental managers are deeming it their best year ever.
Vacation rentals are now the travelers #1 choice for accommodation, the demand for rentals is higher than anticipated and the vacation rental market is thriving.
This is all good news, but it also means the competition is tougher than ever and now is not the time to become complacent, but to be agile, keep your finger on the pulse and remain competitive.
In this post we’ll explain how to write great property descriptions for your rental and other ways to attract guests:
- Research and Prep Work
- Writing Your Property Description
- Optimizing Your Property Description
- Don’t Ignore Content Marketing Strategy
The art of attracting guests lies not only in the power to visualize the stay, but a story that adds a human connection to the visual.
A well-written, creative and captivating property description can change the way guests view your home, get visitors to “dwell” a little longer on your website, leave a lasting first impression and keep you competitive in your market.
1. Research and Prep Work
Do Your Research
Visit vacation rental sites in your local market and similar type destinations, read their content, get an idea of their offerings compared to yours and do your homework.
Unique Selling Point (USP)
What is your unique selling point?
Look at each property in your portfolio and highlight the USP of that property, this is key in crafting your headline and is the heart of your description.
Your Target Traveler
Identify your target traveler for each property.
A smart home appealing to business executives will require a different tone to a romantic bohemian cabin in the mountains for millennials.
Again, this will be unique for each property.
A Catchy Headline
The headline is bait to get “lookers” to click on the listing!
Is it crafty, is it catchy or is it downright boring?
Use this space (50 characters) to highlight your USP, landmarks and amenities and create a visual for their vacation experience.
Here’s a couple of tricks to create a catchy headline:
Format: Adjective | Property Type | Proximity | Attraction
Example: Contemporary Ski Villa on the Big Sky Slopes
Format: Adjective | Property Type | Feature/Amenities/USP
Example: Oceanfront Penthouse with Private Hot Tub & Atlantic Views
Format: Adjective | Property Type | Experience
Example: Historic Mountain Cabin for a Romantic Getaway
2. Write Your Property Description
You’ve done your research, you know your USP and target traveler for each home, now it’s time to write a story that aligns with your images and allows your guests to visualize their stay in your home (300-500 words is ideal).
Step 1: You may have heard of TLDR (too long didn’t read). Open your description with a brief overview expanding on your headline.
Wake up to a cool ocean breeze, the sound of the waves lapping the shore and a perfect Atlantic sunrise when you stay at Hip Nautic on Amelia Island. This contemporary 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom oceanfront penthouse boasts designer interiors, private hot tub and 360 degree ocean views.
Step 2: Take a walk through the home (virtually or physically) and describe each room in detail viewing it through the eyes of a guest on vacation. Put it all on paper and create your story.
- Keep it short and snappy, broken up with sub-headings for easy reading (living area, bedrooms, outdoor living, neighborhood info).
- Personalize the content and write with intent for your target traveler.
- Don’t be stuffy, convey your personality as a host.
- Provide viewers with answers before they ask the questions (self-check in, bed sizes and arrangements, Covid cleaning protocols and safety regulations)
- Keep it real! Do not sugarcoat your description. Honesty counts and avoids negative reviews.
- Mention potential negatives in a positive light (a busy street with bars, great for millennials!)
- Include your home’s most notable features and special extras (private pool, hot tub, baby gear, beach gear, free parking, WiFi and workspace). Anything that enhances the guest stay.
- Reinforce your amenities and features with benefits (close to the beach vs. close to the beach for sunrise walks/sunset bonfires).
- Location is key! They already know about the destination so use this space wisely. Include neighborhood specifics, proximity to attractions, beaches, ski slopes, shopping, how to get around town and local suggestions (Google doesn’t always know the secret spots!)
- Include a simple call to action (Book direct today and get 10% off your stay).
3. Optimize Your Property Description
Now your property description is drafted, it’s time to fine tune! Read it aloud, does it flow, does it portray the personality and benefits of the home.
Would you want to book this home?
Now you need to ensure your listing reaches your target traveler with a few SEO essentials!
- Research your vacation rental keywords and sprinkle them in naturally. (This condo has 3 bedrooms vs. This 3 bedroom Amelia Island penthouse condo)
- Ensure your titles and meta descriptions are updated.
- Optimize and name your images. (DSC0010 vs. hip-nautic-condo-entry).
- Update the listing and headline regularly (include local events and concerts)
- Review the listing on your site and mobile! Statistics show that mobile devices generated about half of all website traffic globally. Is your site mobile-friendly?
- Share it with a friend or colleague, it’s easy to miss our own mistakes.
Don’t Ignore Content Marketing Strategy
Your content marketing strategy is crucial to remain competitive and in the busy lives of vacation rental property managers already juggling too many balls, it often takes a back seat.
Here’s some tips to consider when auditing your content marketing to ensure you are creating engaging vacation rental content.
First Impressions Last
Your website is a guest’s first impression of your brand (and your homes!).
If your website is “tacky”, why would they expect it to be different from your homes?
If your images are blurry, badly sized or broken, why would you pay attention to their needs as a guest?
If your property descriptions are outdated or non-existent, how do they know this is the ideal home for their family vacation?
Your website is your business card, your chance to shine, to stand out from your competitors and make an emotional connection with the reader, your potential guest!
The average traveler visits several websites and makes numerous inquiries before making a decision and booking a home.
It’s no longer only the page views that matter, but the dwell time! How long are your “potential guests” spending on your website, are you grabbing their attention with captivating content or are they moving on?
Bad content and bad design will turn visitors away from your site.
Engage and Appeal
Engage with your guests and appeal to their emotions!
The main influencing factor in our decision making process is our emotions.
In fact, research shows that 95% of our purchase decisions are based on emotion.
The vacation rental landscape is changing, vacation rental managers are no longer selling a home, but an experience!
Paint a picture, spark the imagination and watch as your lookers turn to bookers, purely through a little creative content.
Would You Stay In Your Vacation Rental Homes?
When last did you look at your website, and more importantly your property descriptions?
I personally look at the images, if they don’t catch my attention I move on.
So, that’s your starting point! Visual content is a powerful marketing tool so start by giving your guests the power to visualize a stay in your home with 3D tours, enticing images that highlight the property’s finest features and image captions that appeal to their senses.
The visual is what grabs the viewers attention, but how do you make them stay?
Stop Juggling; Start Booking More Guests
If one more ball is too much to juggle, contact us today for a free SEO analysis.
We’ll see how your SEO stacks up against other vacation rental companies in your area and how we can assist with your content marketing strategy.
Magnetic Strategy’s team of vacation rental digital strategists are committed to helping property management companies increase direct bookings through SEO optimization and digital marketing.