Is Your Listing Ritz Carlton or Red Roof Inn?

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Vacations are experiences.  Where you stay when you travel is a critical component of any vacation, however, the memories created are what is long lasting.  To make your vacation home part of your guest memories, get them dreaming of what they will experience as they read your listing.  This will capture their attention, get them booking your place, and help them start creating their own vacation memories.

The Ritz Carlton is the absolute gold standard of Experience Marketing.  To illustrate this point, check out the following description of their Charlotte, North Carolina property:

Located in the heart of vibrant Uptown Charlotte, The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, is a luxury hotel that brings an urbane sophistication through its innovative restaurants, dramatic skyline views, penthouse Spa & Wellness Center, spacious guest rooms and suites, and its environmental commitment  

This short narrative conveys what the hotel offers through the experience it will create for you, the guest.  The description is accompanied by image links to spa and restaurant options.  The Ritz successfully brings these experiences to life all while making you feel great about positive environmental impact.

Ok, now let’s check out the Charlotte Red Roof Inn.  Here is the description they offer:

Red Roof Inn Charlotte offers Park & Fly program, free Wi-fi, free Airport Shuttle Service 24 hours as day, free local and long distance calls, voice mail and data ports in all rooms. Select rooms feature microfridges. Experience our dining delivery service, and our coffeehouse-style service featuring fresh brewed, ground whole bean coffee. This location offers On Command Video with a selection of free TV channels, as well as, pay-to-view premium channels, movies, music and games. One well-behaved family pet per room is welcome.

This is a laundry list of property characteristics.  The challenge, of course, for Red Roof is they are a budget hotel, and budget experiences tend not to be exciting.  Fortunately, you don’t have this challenge.  Your vacation rental isn’t budget accommodation and vacation rental properties always have potential for great experiences.  After all, this is vacation we are talking about, so no excuses for a laundry list!

Now, let’s bring this back to vacation rentals.  The first paragraph of the listing description is the most important to shopping guests.  This paragraph (along with your photos) captures their attention or sends them scrolling to the next listing.  Below you will find Red Roof and Ritz style HomeAway listing examples.

Red Roof Listing Example

This is a bright,casual, 1300 square foot, three bedroom, two bath, second floor duplex that is located just one building from the beach. It has a wonderful white water oceanview from the deck and the living/dining room windows. Spacious and casual living areas with living, dining, and island kitchen areas combined. Three bedrooms including 2 queen size beds, 2 twin beds and 1 queen size futon. Three TVs with expanded cable & premium channels. Wi-Fi. Private deck off master bedroom. Master bedroom has private bathroom. Outdoor hot shower; washer and dryer, covered parking. This unit requires the ability to climb one flight of stairs.

The first couple sentences begin to sound like experiences, however the writer doesn’t relate the characteristics to the guest.  What could be great for the guest about such close proximity to the beach.  Soak up the sunrise?  Evening walks?  Great sounds?  How might the guest be able to enjoy this excellent view?  The Ritz Carlton style listing example cracks the code below.

Ritz Carlton Listing Example

Indulge yourself by waking up to the sight and sound of the ocean.  Step out from your private patio or deck and take in the beach life.  Fall in love with Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a casual, romantic village with wonderful, unique beaches for swimming, surfing, walking, or running.  Excellent restaurants, markets and local joints are all within walking distance.  Enjoy magical sunsets, and see why this paradise is one of the most desired vacation areas of the world.

I don’t know about you, but I am sold.  This description draws you into the setting by helping to imagine what you will be doing and experiencing while there.  It sounds fantastic.  Pictures that showcase these great characteristics will really get folks booking.

How to Market Experiences in Your Listing

Start out simple by making a list of things you love to do in and immediately around your property.  Examples might be things like sitting on the deck sipping a glass of wine while soaking up the view.  Another could be walking out the back door(or front) to beach, golf, tennis, boating, or sights.  Hope that got the creative juices flowing.

Once you have your list, order it from the most noteworthy to least.  When I say noteworthy I mean:

  1. How prominent and/or exclusive to your property is the feature showcased in the experience?
  2. Related to #1, how many guests do you believe would really appreciate the experience?

For example, everyone can appreciate a great view.  Not everyone will appreciate a spectacular game of Cornhole in the backyard or grilling.  Make sure your experiences have wide appeal.

Now that you have an ordered list, take the top 3 and write one sentence describing what you do or feel during that experience.  How would you describe it if you were telling someone how incredible it is?  What can they do or experience?

Once you have your top three sentences, string them together in a paragraph and look at the ordering and flow.  If two sentences seem related, order them sequentially to create good transition.  Also, look at your property photos to see which relate to the experiences.  It’s best if the first sentence relates to your main listing picture as it is likely what the guest will view just prior to reading.  If you don’t have welcoming pictures of these experiences, make sure to take some.  The photos give your experiential sentences credibility.

With these steps and examples, you should be well on your way to showcasing your vacation rental with Ritz Carlton style experiences.  This will increase your bookings and get your guests started creating vacation memories to keep them coming back.  So which will your listing be, Ritz or Red Roof?