At Guest Hook, we write about vacation rentals around the world – many times without ever setting foot inside them. But when our client KC of Classic Country Vacation Homes in Ithaca invited us to stay at one of her places, we started packing our bags. With Jessica located in Pittsburgh and Amanda at the Jersey Shore, it was the perfect weekend getaway for both of us.
We chose Shangri-Lodge, a beautiful home that pairs mid-century modern design with mountain lodge warmth and is tucked on 14 acres of land in Ithaca. We both arrived late Friday night, unsure of what we’d see outside our windows when we woke up, and were stunned Saturday morning by sweeping views of the countryside and our own pond to explore.
With KC’s guidance, we made a lot of discoveries over the weekend. Like, the village of Trumansburg is one of our all-time favorite downtowns. Wine somehow tastes better when you’re enjoying in a warm, wood living room with bright skylights. And if you’re thinking of ordering the kimchi fries, do it.
But this trip wasn’t all play, no work. Our priority was to get a better sense of what it was like to visit Ithaca and be a Classic Country Vacation Homes guest. And as an added bonus, we were reminded of the power of vacation rental copywriting. Here’s how.
It describes what pictures can’t show.
The most memorable moment of our tour of KC’s rentals was when we entered the living area of her Willow Creek home. We’d seen photos, so we knew the view of the countryside and forest beyond through the floor-to-ceiling windows was going to be something special – but in-person, it was truly breathtaking.
Sometimes, it’s enough to describe a view with a quick adjective or two (“ocean-view” or “sweeping skyline view”), but in this case, the view was an experience. We knew we would give it extra emphasis in her listing description in order to convey to guests that they were in for a magic moment, not just a nice view, when they walked in the front door.
Our tip? If you’re working on writing your rental listing descriptions, invite an outsider to tour your home. Their ooh’s and ah’s will tell you what should be front and center in your copy.
It creates a relationship between your vacation homes and their surroundings.
How lucky are we that our job for the weekend was to experience the Finger Lakes region like a true vacationer would, and to have a local leading the way? KC took us on a hike down the Black Diamond Trail, to see the majestic Taughannock Falls and to visit charming Main Street in Trumansburg. We even did some very important research on local wines and beers at Americana Vineyards.
And we did it all in an afternoon! With their secluded locations on acres of land, it was hard to believe just how close KC’s homes were to all of these destinations – about 10 minutes or less via scenic country roads.
With a weekend’s worth of exploring under our belts, we were even more excited to write location copy that captured how easy it was to go from scenic hikes to wine tastings to live music to at-home relaxation. We knew our method of choice to accomplish this would be an oldie-but-a-goodie: the day-in-the-life approach, in which you guide your reader to experience what they could do during a day at your rental.
It captures the experience of staying at a rental.
While writing for rentals, we often envision how guests will enjoy a space. Needless to say, it was nice to actually partake ourselves! After our afternoon of touring, sightseeing and wine-tasting, we spent the evening soaking in the hot tub, exploring near the private pond and resting up for dinner in extra comfortable bedrooms with countryside views.
It was just as relaxing as it sounds – and that’s the point. The day-in-the-life approach we mentioned earlier is also a solid method to use when describing your rental. Your guests may be inclined to book if you list a hot tub as one of your amenities, but they’ll be even more convinced if you sell them on the experience of soaking away their cares after a day of adventure. Your copy isn’t about jam-packing as many technical details as possible; it’s about painting a picture.
Now that we’re back to the grind, we’re putting all of our research to use in our writing projects for KC and Classic Country Vacation Homes. Interested in having us write for your properties? Feel free to drop us a line!