I get a lot of requests for vacation rental websites evaluations and one of the biggest mistakes owners make is writing their description for readers, not skimmers. Let me explain…
Travelers in the market for a vacation rental look at an average of 4.5 vacation rental websites before they select one to inquire about.
Which is to say, as special as your rental may be, chances are, visitors are not spending a leisurely afternoon to read through your entire description.
They’re not reading all the way down to hear about your wonderful hot tub or detailed reviews from your greatest admirers. Visitors to vacation rental websites are not readers.
They are skimmers.
Skim content is a huge part of the vacation rental website booking process.
If you are able to clearly convey what your property is about with compelling actions to a skimmer, you will inarguably increase bookings. In the words of Mark Twain, “if I had more time, I’d have written a shorter letter.”
1. Use Images: the old adage “pictures speak louder than words” is hugely relevant in the vacation rental website marketing realm. Good pictures could sell a property on their own. Make sure your images are prominently displayed, large enough to make an impact, and effective enough to not only show off your amenities but to highlight your strengths.
2. Keep It Concise: There’s nothing more immediately ineffective than loads and loads of paragraphs of rental descriptions. Consolidate your most noteworthy features into a paragraph or two. Chances are, even if you write it, travelers won’t read much more than that.
3. Headings: In order to convey a message quickly, copywriters always using headings that set the scene and let the visitor know exactly what’s being offered. A heading like “Beautiful Lakefront Living,” will not elicit nearly the response as “4-Bedroom Lakefront Cabin With Jacuzzi.”
4. Strong Lead-ins: It’s imperative to use strong language at the beginning of each paragraph or section. Many skimmers visiting vacation rental websites don’t look at anything more than the first line in each paragraph so craft it accordingly.
5. Lists: Always use bullets and lists when possible. It’s the most effective way to convey characteristics of your rental without being wordy or boring. Lists are a skimmers dream: quick, to the point, and effective.
6. Bold and Italics: As simple as it sounds, using bold font or italics is a great way to highlight certain features. In your main paragraphs, using bold or italics is a surefire way to draw the skimmers eye.
This list is only a few of the ways to make your vacation rental website more skimmable.
Understanding that most visitors won’t spend more than a few seconds on your page is the first step.
Improving your content so that it conveys the right message in that time period is the next.
Matt Landau is the Founder of the VRMB and the Inner Circle, two online resources dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings.
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