In the image-driven world of hotel marketing, it’s easy to underestimate the power of words.
Stunning photos grab people’s attention, but well-crafted copy provides that extra nudge that compels prospects to act.
Whether you want more clicks on your blog articles or a lower bounce rate on your homepage, the right words can help you get there.
I’ve re-written copy for at least 50 different hotel and resort websites over the past few years. And during that time, I’ve noticed that the same content errors keeping popping up again and again.
So I’d like to share the 4 most common hotel copywriting mistakes I’ve come across – and how you can fix them. If you’re making these blunders, don’t feel bad. I’d say more than half of all the hotel websites out there stumble over at least one of these issues.
And hopefully, after fixing these copy mistakes, you’ll see more blog clicks, a lower bounce rate and even a spike in conversions.
Mistake #1: Your headlines say a whole lot of nothing
This is a biggie. A lot of folks underestimate the value of headlines, so they stuff these spots with SEO keywords or generic content rather than meaningful text that will connect with travelers. The most common culprit is the homepage headline that just says ‘welcome.’
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. In fact, some eye-tracking research has shown that headlines are the most viewed part of any homepage.
So put some thought into crafting a headline that will get you results. If you’re writing a blog post, use it to communicate value to your audience. What will they get out of reading this article?
For homepage headlines, you may want to highlight your hotel’s value proposition. What makes your property unique or better than your competitors? How does your hotel stand out from the pack?
Writing a great headline isn’t easy. But all your effort will be rewarded with a lower bounce rate and more clicks.
Mistake #2: Your ‘voice’ misses the mark
Think about this: if your hotel were a person, what kind of personality would it have? Would it be funky and fun-loving? Elegant and refined? Or maybe it’d be the go-getter business type.
Now, think about whether your website conveys these characteristics. Does the copy for your hip resort actually sound hip? If not, your written voice may be off the mark.
The tone and voice you use to write your copy can create an instant bond with your best prospects – it lets them know that you ‘get them’.
No traveler wants to stay at a hotel that will make them feel like an outsider. So if the copy for your rustic fishing lodge sounds like it was written by an 18th century poet, you might be frightening off some of your best customers.
Write your copy in a style that matches your brand and your audience. One of the best ways to do this is by studying the natural language that your customers use when posting on forums, TripAdvisor or social media.
Pay attention to the words and phrases that are most common – take notes. Then when it comes time to write your copy, make sure your website speaks your customers’ language.
Mistake #3: Your copy is loaded with empty adjectives
I see it all the time: hotels sprinkle their websites in empty adjectives like ‘exceptional,’ ‘premier’ or ‘world-class’. These types of phrases are so common that most readers just gloss over them.
But research has shown that when you use vivid and ultra-specific adjectives, your writing is more likely to boost sales. That’s because your copy will paint ‘word pictures’ that trigger the sensory part of our brains.
So rather than writing that your beds are “remarkably comfortable,” use specific language to drive home what ‘remarkable’ really means. You might try something like:
Our down featherbeds are piled with crisp Egyptian cotton sheets, plush pillows and velvety cashmere duvets.
The words ‘crisp’, ‘plush’ and ‘velvety’ paint a word picture by engaging the readers’ senses and helping them imagine sinking into these comfy beds.
But even if you use specific adjectives, don’t go crazy with them. Adjective overloading can drag down the pace of your copy, making it cumbersome to read.
Mistake #4: Your website contradicts TripAdvisor
You probably already know that more than half of travelers won’t book a hotel room until they’ve read reviews on TripAdvisor. So it’s essential that your web copy jives with what your past customers are saying.
Here’s what I mean: a traveler reads on your hotel website that the property is a “refined urban oasis” with a “modern” vibe. But when she heads over to TripAdvisor, she sees 10 reviews that describe a completely different experience.
The place is a hit with families, she reads, and the only “modern” detail mentioned in the reviews is the new Xbox video games in every room.
Your prospect is now getting a story that’s completely different from what your hotel is saying. And she’s starting to wonder whether any of the information on your website is trustworthy.
Of course, things like style and taste are subjective. Someone who lives in downtown L.A. will likely have a different opinion of what “modern” means compared to a lifelong rural resident.
So delving into TripAdvisor reviews and other voice of customer data is a proven way to nail down how your customers see your brand and exactly what they want. No guesswork needed.
This is just for starters…
The key to writing effective copy is really more about what you say rather than how you say it. You have to understand your ideal guest and sell them the benefits they’re going to want the most. And that takes research.
But having said that, fixing these 4 copywriting errors will certainly help turn your hotel website into a more effective marketing machine. So give it a try and let me know how it goes.
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Dustin Walker is a freelance copywriter and marketer who specializes in the travel industry. He hates dull, uninspired web content and hopes you do too. Check out his website Jet Copywriting and subscribe to his newsletter to get more tips (and a free report) on how to punch up your marketing materials.
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