“The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low cost producer is the only winner." Philip Kotler, Professor at the Kellog School of Management.
Engaging copy, or a brands voice, is the backbone of your vacation rental business. Your brand is not just about what your home does (provides shelter in a vacation destination), but rather, who it is and what makes your experience special. Despite its importance, copy is one of the most challenging aspects for me to engage my clients with. It shouldn't be as it is the easiest way to persuade quality guests to book by breeding familiarity that evoke emotions and positive impressions.
When clients choose to include copy into my service packages, I often partner with Jessica Vozel, a talented vacation rental copywriter. She's the best in her field and has offered us some tips on writing a great listing ad.
Top Tips From Jessica Vozel, Travel Copywriter
Sparkling copy is one of most powerful and overlooked ways to increase bookings and attract the right guests to your vacation rental. Don't make the common mistake of slapping a bland list of amenities into the vacation rental description section of your listing and calling it a day.
One of the reasons I got into this business is because I get to sell an experience. Research tells us that spending our cash on experiences including good food, travel, and adventures with family and friends is more fulfilling than spending it on stuff. Post-recession, consumers are beginning to figure that out. Experiential spending is up and projected to keep going up. As a vacation rental owner or manager, you are one of the top players in the “experience" industry.
Sell Benefits Instead of Features With Vacation Rental Descriptions
To capitalize on this advantage, you need to think about your copy as an opportunity to sell an experience, not a product.
You know how architectural photographers “stage" vacation rentals before a photo shoot, with, say, a full breakfast spread on the dining table? Or a couple umbrella-adorned cocktails on a patio table facing a big ocean view? You want to achieve the same “here's what awaits you" effect with your copy. Which means creating copy that is rich with detail, sets the stage, and focuses on benefits over features.
For example, a gorgeous pool becomes a sparkling backyard pool you can glide into to cool your sun-warmed skin… or where the kids can splash the afternoon away. A “6-person dining table" becomes “an ideal setting for sharing a lasagna packed with fresh, local vegetables, prepared with love in the gourmet kitchen."
Getting Creative With Vacation Rental Descriptions
Worried that you're not creative enough to write in this way? While it's true selling an experience takes some imagination, you likely know your property (or properties) inside-out and upside-down. Your guests have told you what they loved most about staying with you. You know what sets you apart from other rentals in your area.
Jot down some of these much-loved amenities to get your gears turning. Try to be concrete (this will help you out later). Instead of “feels like a home away from home" focus on what makes it homey—the comfy L-shaped couch in the living room, the stocked kitchen cabinets, etc.
Then list the benefits of each of these amenities. A comfy couch encourages the family to sink in for a movie night. The stocked cabinets save your guests money and time, and makes cooking together a breeze. The sweeping sea views will quiet their overworked minds and remind them they're on vacation.
After you've got the list of benefits down, think about the four senses and apply them to really develop your ideas. While lounging by the pool or sharing a meal in the dining room, what do guests see, hear, feel, taste?
With this fleshed-out info, you're well on your way to crafting imaginative copy that will sell the one-of-a-kind experience to be had at your vacation rental!
This guest post was written by Kris Getzie, Founder & Principal Consultant at Volo. She is a vacation rental expert and author of the recently published Vacation Rentals For Newbies.
Contributing to this post is freelance travel copywriter Jessica Vozel.