If you’re an active vacation rental owner in charge of your own marketing, you’ll easily write 10,000 words about your rental this year.
Add in an active blog, or more than one property, and that number might inch toward 25,000 words… even 50,000. (For perspective, the average novel is 65,000 words!)
When you add up all your vacation rental marketing and communications—all those social media posts, blogs, newsletter, insider guides, online listings, inquiry response emails and more—what do you get? Aside from a novel’s worth of words?
Hopefully, you get words that communicate two key messages:
In our relatively young industry, which has had its fair share of liars, cheats and scams, gaining the trust of your potential guests is crucial.
Your copy is your voice. Photos do a great job with the first part (showcasing your rental) but don’t often convey a sense of you. That’s copy’s gig.
That’s why Guest Hook has put together a Trust Series. This collection of blog posts will show you how to use your vacation rental copy to establish your vacation rental ethos. To prove to potential guests that you are who you say you are. To prove you have a “philosophy of hospitality and an attitude of welcome,” as Heather Bayer smartly says.
First up in the trust series? We’re talking about the Address/Redress Principle. This is the simple two-step process of mentioning your rental’s flaws, then recasting them in a better (but still honest) light—and one that reaches your ideal guest.
Most rentals have their downside(s).
Maybe WiFi doesn’t reach your remote location. Maybe a high balcony makes your condo unsafe for children. Maybe your driveway is a ski slope during inclement weather. Maybe you live next to a fire station or a foghorn.
You absolutely have to mention these downsides. Otherwise, you’ll be in for disappointed guests and negative reviews. And, obviously, those negative reviews hurt. A lot. And not just your feelings, but your bottom line, too.
The key here is to address these flaws. That is, bring them up in your listing or website copy. Then redress them, i.e., explain why these disadvantages, for the right guests, are actually perks.
Believe it or not, most flaws—at least the ones that cannot be fixed or helped—are benefits when viewed through the right lens.
No WiFi means total quiet and disconnect. A noisy neighborhood is also a thriving one with active nightlife. A ski slope driveway gives you a chance to put that 4×4 to good use. Etc.
Ten years ago, my parents stayed in the keeper’s quarters of a working lighthouse on the East Coast.
As you’d imagine, this totally unique experience came with a couple of lighthouse-specific downsides. Nightly foghorns, namely, and a beam of light swooping through the bedroom at regular intervals.
My parents didn’t mind—in fact, they even appreciated these nighttime disturbances. It was all part of the joy of sleeping next to a working lighthouse. But as the smattering of two-star reviews at the lighthouse prove (I checked), many guests were very bothered. And they specifically called out the host (who my parents called friendly and available) for not mentioning the foghorn and lighthouse beam up front.
If I knew that owner personally, I’d tell him to add a section to his website that addresses some of the flaws—and then redresses them to create trust. For example:
“This is a working lighthouse. On foggy nights, the lighthouse beam may swoop in to stir your slumber. So will our foghorn. For many guests, these only add to the experience—it’s a nice reminder that you have a lighthouse next door! For those who might be bothered, we also provide blackout curtains and complimentary earplugs.”
A simple paragraph goes a long way to put your downsides in a new (wait for it…) light.
There’s another benefit to addressing your faults. With one honest moment, suddenly everything else you say is easier to believe.
On the flipside, when absolutely every detail of a rental is portrayed as over-the-top flawless? People start to distrust you.
What’s that saying? “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”?
It’s the same principle that causes potential guests to be suspicious of properties with 100% five-star reviews. Ones and twos hurt no matter what, but a sprinkling of fours thrown in there actually makes your property look real and therefore more attractive.
In the end, this is about marketing with common sense. Identify the flaws and explain how they can be overcome, or how they are unique, or even how they are embedded in the price. Guests expect honesty, and honesty builds trust. That’s the foundation of your long term success!