Many travellers want to find out everything they can about a property before they enquire. Many will want as much information as possible about the holiday experience they will be buying into before they book a stay at your holiday home.
Use the property Description to really sell your home to potential guests. See it as a chance to tell them what they want to know, and convince them why they should choose you over competitors. A detailed property description will reassure the traveller that you provide a high quality and trustworthy service. Top tip:
Many owners find they get asked the same questions about their holiday letting again and again by potential customers. If this applies to you, you can reduce the number of calls and emails you get by making sure you use your Property Description to answer all these questions.
Here are the key points we think every property Description should have, and the order we think you should put them in:
Open your property description by describing the property’s Unique Selling Points (USPs). This means the standout features, facilities and qualities of your home. 2.
Provide details on the property type: what size it is, what type, whether or not it has an outdoor living area. 3.
Travellers are concerned with the bedroom set up. Your thumbnail will tell them the number of bedrooms on offer. Now go into further detail. Describe the size of the beds, the type and quality of the bedding you provide, and any other USPs such as en suite bathrooms, balconies, televisions or wardrobe space. 4.
Now describe the other important features of the home that you haven’t mentioned yet. This can be anything that would appeal to a guest. From your garden, to the open plan kitchen or games room. Views, weather and the quality of interiors all help to sell. It’s important to think about what your potential guests would want. 5.
Describe the home’s suitability for certain groups. Rather than alienate other types of renters by saying, “This is a family property”
, say “We have a fenced off child friendly garden and a games room. We can also provide baby gear including, baby gates, a high chair, push chair and cot at no extra charge.”
This means your property will appeal to the family market, without putting other renters off. 6.
If you think it is necessary you could dedicate the last two lines to describing the location of your home, or its proximity to local attractions. Some owners feel their location is a selling point that’s worth drumming in, or want to name drop Keywords for SEO purposes. However we advise this with caution. You will get another 1000 words to provide a Location Description, as well as additional location features like the Google Map, and Location Area Information table.
Use all the space available when describing your holiday property. Remember when you describe your holiday home make every word count. Please note:
You now get an extra free text box, entitled Further details about your property or location. You can use this to add an extra paragraph, if you have any more information to share.
Important news: The Property Description is where you can add a link to a personal website. HomeAway.co.uk
offers a Reciprocal Link programme which allows you to add a link from your advert to your own website so travellers can get even more information about your property. The service is free of charge when you add a reciprocal link from your website to your HomeAway.co.uk property page in return.
The Reciprocal Link Program has SEO benefits because search engines like Google rank web pages higher if they exchange links with other sites. (Added 16/05/2011)
Frequently made Mistakes
Unfortunately the Description is where many owners fall into the same pitfalls again and again. Either they provide inadequate, irrelevant or unhelpful information, or undersell their properties. Or worst off all are the adverts that don’t provide any information at all! The traveller may think, “What has this person got to hide?”
Describing the location
As we’ve said before, you will have three features dedicated to describing your location. This is the place to provide your travellers with information about the home they will be staying in.
Don’t waste a whole paragraph telling travellers that your home is a “great deal”
, “value for money”
or “the best holiday villa in Spain”
. If you want a competitive advantage purchasing a Special Offer will carry more weight, and give you a separate box to explain your deal. If you think you really do think you have the best villa in Spain, describe what makes it so wonderful and discerning travellers will decide to come to you.
Cliches and waffle
The same goes for wasting time by using words and phrases that don’t really explain anything about your property. Phrases like “You won’t believe your eyes”
and “like nothing else”
tell the reader very little about what you have to offer. Instead convince potential customers to choose you, by providing informative, detailed descriptions of your holiday property.
Using non standard abbreviations
Because you have a limited number of characters to use, many advertisers use abbreviations to save space. Using a common abbreviation such as BR for bedroom is acceptable because it’s common. If you make up your own abbreviations you’re likely to confuse readers and put them off.
You may think using symbols to draw attention to certain key features is a good idea. However these can confuse readers, and make your overall text look messy and unprofessional.
Don’t repeat the same thing again and again. You can expand upon things you’ve mentioned in the headlines, if further details are needed. Repetition means a wide scope of information.
Instead of saying “There is an outdoor dining area”
, talk to the traveller directly and say “Enjoy alfresco dining and barbeques outside in our outdoor living area, complete with a dining table that seats six.”
Draw Extra Attention to your Best Features
When a traveller begins the process of booking accommodation on HomeAway.co.uk, it’s likely that they will start by browsing a number of adverts. The browsing process will typically involve seeing whether or not they like the look of the photographs, running their eyes over the location information, and skim reading the property description. They are likely to pay more attention to an advert, and look at it in detail, when something catches their eye.
There are a few stylistic tricks you can use to make your Description stand out from the rest, and encourage travellers to read on.
Capitalising a USP will draw the reader’s eye towards it. You can also capitalise the rooms. This acceptable to do mid sentence, for example say, “Enjoy the private out door Swimming Pool, 10x15 m²”
. However be sure not to go overboard, or the “stand out”
effect will be lost and your text will look messy.
Using numerals where relevant, will draw attention to the rooms and standout features of your home. For example say “2 Bathrooms.”
Again please note, if you do this too often, or where it’s not necessary the effect will be lost.
Use SEO keywords
These are words that will make search engines pick up your advert.
Here are some great holiday home Descriptions from HomeAway.co.uk
Set at the foot of Hellvellyn in the heart of the Lake District
Photos and Description of this Grasmere holiday cottage
This magnificent Lakeland house stands in private gardens at the foot of Helvellyn, just a ten minute walk from the picturesque village of Grasmere in the heart of the national park. Bramrigg House can accommodate 10+ people, with 4 bedrooms upstairs - two doubles and two twins and a double suite on the ground floor. All rooms have superb views of the surrounding hills. The sitting room seats up to ten people and enjoys wonderful views fell views. The superb dining room also seats up to ten people and leads into the magnificent farmhouse kitchen, complete with double oven aga. Bramrigg features a luxurious Victorian bathroom with bath and shower plus a second bathroom and seperate WC on the ground floor. The mature gardens are another feature, and have a range of furniture including patio dining table & chairs and a children's play area with tree house, plus parking for 5 cars. All guests have subsidised membership of the Langdale Country Club in greater Ambleside during their stay.
This is a lovely property Description. The advertiser draws attention to the historical value of the house. They also consider the practical advantages, that a traveller might be looking for. Because this is a large property that would be suitable for extended families, or groups of friends, they point out the wide range of facilities.
Photos and Description of this Taos holiday bungalow 1 bed Casita, sleeps 2 in Taos, close to galleries, restaurants, skiing & town
Casita du Marroc is a colourful, peaceful guest house situated on Taos Mesa, situated between Taos and Taos Ski Valley. Our views are magnificent with the mountains stretching out before the property, literally right outside your door. There’s a private patio to the side of the casita, complete with hammock for star gazing - we have very little ambient light, so our stars shine bright - enjoy our views from sunrise to sunset and beyond. The casita has Moroccan decor, and incorporates the work of local artists. It has a huge shower and many unique details. Casita du Marroc is studio style casita with a kitchen area, dining and sitting area. The pillow top bed has an allergy free “feather bed” and a European duvet for use when the temperatures cool. You’ll be enveloped, cosseted and cosy, no matter what the season -- there’s a Jotul gas stove to keep you snug in the winter season while adding to the ambiance.
This property Description for a holiday bungalow in Toas is as individual as its location. The descriptive language is original and a wide range of vocabulary is used to keep it fresh. The owner considers the property's Unique Selling Points and mentions the desireable features of the home, such as artwork on the walls. Very well written.
Photos and Description of this West Sussex holiday farmhouse 4 Bedrooms, sleeps 8-10, great for family breaks or a peaceful country retreat
Holme Street House is set in 10 acres of private land, over 2 acres of which are delightful tended gardens. There is an outdoor heated swimming pool (mid May - Sept approx) in its own walled area. The house is well equipped and beautifully furnished, having been our family home. The accommodation comprises farmhouse style kitchen/breakfast room with AGA; spacious but cosy beamed dining room with table seating 10-12; tranquil sitting room with open fire & baby grand piano; family room with wood burning stove, double sofa bed, TV etc (Sky); downstairs cloakroom. Upstairs there are four large bedrooms with lovely views over the gardens, 2 with double beds, 2 with zip and link twin beds which can be joined to make super king beds. The main bedroom has an en suite bathroom with shower over the bath, and two further bedrooms have washbasins. There is a further family bathroom with power shower over the bath. Children are welcome - a good selection of books, toys & videos are provided.
This property owner really sells the holiday farm house's best features. Not only do they offer attractive descriptions of the property, they also gain the edge over their competitors by listing their upmarket facilities in great detail. Mentioning the children's toys and games they provide appeals to a captive audience, and reassures the travellers that they are considerate owners.
Copyright HomeAway.co.uk, June 2010
The Holiday Home Advertising Checklist
Many second home owners are getting more internet savvy, and are using great holiday home advertising websites like HomeAway.co.uk and OwnersDirect.co.uk to reach a mass audience of travellers looking for the holiday rental experience.
This checklist is designed to help you advertise. Holiday home owners often sell their wonderful properties short simply by not making the most of the service we provide. Whether it’s writing descriptions that don’t display a competitive advantage or uploading photos that miss out the property’s best features. Luckily after sixteen years in the business we know a thing or two about holiday rental advertising. We’ve put our heads together to create a comprehensive list of everything you must include if you advertise a holiday rental property.
The HomeAway.co.uk and Owners Direct Advert Checklist can be used to create a new advert or update an existing one. Use it to ensure you show your prized property in its best light.