Captivating headlines and persuasively written property descriptions can spark the imagination, pique guest curiosity, and influence booking decisions. They also help potential guests get to know you. In short, listing descriptions matter. A lot.
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So, what are the fundamentals of a killer vacation rental listing title and description?
Here are 6 “tricks of the trade” that’ll ensure your writing packs a punch and reels in customers from the very first line.
1. Focus on USPs
Your unique selling points (USPs) are what separate you from the pack—the big reasons guests should choose your rental instead of your neighbor’s.
Instead of cramming your listing with as much detail as possible, down to the condiments you keep in the cabinets, carefully choose the most attractive features that really make your rental stand out. No need to lose the important details like the number of beds/baths, whether you supply WiFi, and how many parking spots you have. But remember to give center-stage to those USPs.
To start with, take the time to check out the competition.
Does your competition have a brand new, upscale kitchen, like you do? Flatscreen TVs in every bedroom? Heated pool with a cabana? Nope? There’s your USPs. Remember: sometimes you are your own USP.
Now mention these points of difference everywhere you can.
Use them to craft captivating headlines. Include them in the opening paragraphs of your description to hook your reader’s attention from the get-go.
Make your USPs the heart of your listing and you’ll instantly give people a unique reason to book with you.
2. Write to Your Audience
To appeal to your audience, you need to speak their language. Get inside their heads and understand what kind of features and amenities they really care about.
Does your vacation rental attract families with young kids? Describe how your sprawling back garden is ideal for games of hide-and-seek and family BBQs. Mention that your games room is perfect for keeping little ones busy when grown-ups want some downtime.
If younger couples and honeymooners are your typical guests, you’ll want to alter the mood and focus.
Describe “cozy nights around the fireside”, “lazy breakfasts in the gourmet kitchen”, and recommend that intimate little restaurant that’s just “a romantic stroll from your front door.”
The words you use and the features you mention should be specifically crafted around the wants and needs of your core demographic.
The result of this tailor-made approach? A far more focused, personal listing that speaks your customer’s language.
3. Paint a picture
How do you make your property listing leap off the page and inspire bookings? By creating a rich and vivid image in the mind of your potential customer.
The key to this approach?
Replace tired adjectives like “spectacular” and “outstanding” with specific descriptions that people can actually imagine. And where possible, try to bring your listing to life by engaging all five senses.
So for instance, a fairly clichéd description of a back garden could go like this:
“Our beautiful garden is a wonderful place to relax, with stunning views of the surrounding area.”
Which is fine. Except, what does that “beautiful garden” actually look like, sound like, smell like? Tough to imagine, right?
But with a healthy dollop of descriptive language, and by actively inviting the reader into the scene, that very same garden could suddenly sound a whole lot more appealing:
“As the daylight fades, sink into a hammock in your lavender-scented garden and watch the sun slowly dip behind the hills.”
Descriptions like this shouldn’t be overdone. But when you sprinkle your listing with specifics, and engage the sense with vivid imagery, you’ll create a far more compelling reason to book.
4. Keep it honest
In an attempt to make your listing sound more appealing, it’s all too easy to include the occasional “little white lie.”
That “glimpse” of the ocean from the terrace becomes a “heart-stopping panoramic view.” The outdated kitchen becomes a “classic cooking space with age-worn countertops.”
By all means make your property sound as desirable as possible. But not at the expense of honesty.
Guests will quickly realize if you’ve sugar-coated descriptions to make them sound more attractive. And the last thing you want them to feel is misled.
Make sure your claims are fair and deal in facts. Long-term, it’s far better to sell the reality than it is to gloss over the cracks. In the end, guests will appreciate your honesty.
5. Succinct and simple
In the digital age, we’re used to information being delivered to us in easily digestible chunks. Short social media updates and snappy list-style blog posts have created a desire for condensed bursts of content.
So when it comes to writing your vacation rental listing, it pays to be succinct.
For maximum engagement with readers, keep sentences short and paragraphs snappy.
Consider breaking up text with subheadings so people can quickly skip to the information they need.
And try to include plenty of whitespace to make your listing appear light on the page. A good rule of thumb is to break up blocks of text longer than 4 lines long.
By following these simple tips, you’ll create the kind of pace and momentum that keeps your audience reading to the very last line.
6. Set the right tone
Finally, it’s important to capture the right tone to engage with your customers.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of writing in a formal tone to sound professional, but this kind of stilted language can often come off sounding a bit stuffy and, well…not particularly friendly. And again, you’re selling not just your property but the experience guests will have with you as their rental host.
Try to develop a rapport with potential guests by adopting a more conversational, natural tone that feels effortless and relaxed.
It can be helpful to visualize your listing as a one-to-one conversation. Drop the formal language and think how you’d sell the attractions of your property if you met your customer face-to-face.
Finally, avoid stern rules that make guests feel unwelcome, (i.e., “absolutely no pets. No exceptions.”)
By injecting your writing with warmth and personality, you’ll create a more intimate and unique tone of voice that truly resonates.