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How to create great luxury hotel copywriting


Tahiti

Pictures can only tell half the story (Image source)

 

 

Many luxury hotels will naturally devote plenty of attention to the design and imagery of their websites, yet will often neglect the quality of the copy around those images.

 

It doesn’t matter how good the photographer is, a picture can only ever tell someone what a hotel looks like. Photos can show the plunge pools outside every villa in your resort, but they can’t tell prospective guests how they will feel as they take their morning soak. A photo can showcase the dishes created by world-class chefs in your resort’s restaurants, but it can’t stir their imagination in the same way that evocative descriptions of aromas and flavours can. Not can a photo completely invoke the tranquility of dozing in a hammock strung between palm trees on a private beach.

 

Effective copywriting for luxury hotels is just as essential as beautiful images. Here’s eight valuable tips on how to write better hotel copy, and what to avoid.

 

Sell the benefits, not the features

 

Any luxury hotel worth its salt will have an impressive range of features such as designer toiletries, rainforest showers or multimedia entertainment systems. Rather than simply listing them, your copy needs to show why they matter.

 

Using the five senses, sell the experience of staying in your hotel. So not just the thread count in the sheets, but how it will feel to sink into them after a full day of activities on the beach.

 

Example:

 

Suites with spacious, shaded balconies

OR

Your suite’s ample private balcony is the ideal place from where to enjoy the island’s famously vibrant sunsets.

 

Which sounds more convincing to you?

 

Luxury hotel copywriting

It’s not enough to list features in your hotel copywriting. You need to show the benefit. (Image source)

 

Find what makes your hotel unique

 

Very few luxury hotels are fortunate enough to have no direct competition nearby. In fact the world’s most glamorous or idyllic destinations are often crowded with high-end properties and resorts.

 

If you want your hotel to stand apart from your competitors, then you need to find what makes it truly unique.

 

Chances are, that’s not going to be the size of your swimming pool or your proximity to the ocean.

 

But it might be the way that you’ve incorporated local materials and craftsmanship into your hotel’s decor, or that the property is rooted in history and tradition. It could be that only you can offer candlelit meals for two on the beach with a personal butler, or that your thatched villas are better than any other at providing romantic castaway seclusion.

 

Sometimes it may take a while to find it, but you can be sure there is definitely something unique about your hotel.

 

Listen to what your guests are saying

 

The scope for user-generated content in the tourism and leisure industry is vast. Where once your hotel might have solicited feedback in its guestbook, today you can retrieve valuable information from your social media pages, your blog or TripAdvisor among many other sources.

 

Paying attention to what your clients are saying before, during and after their stay, and how they are saying it, is a golden rule for the hospitality industry. It ensures your standards of customer service always go above and beyond.

 

But if certain comments, questions, criticisms or compliments are appearing frequently, these should necessarily inform the copy on your website. Addressing issues, or answering questions right there on the page establishes authority and increases the likelihood of quick conversions.

 

Getting the tone of voice right

 

Many of the travel brands I’ve worked with on hotel copywriting have a long-established tone of voice they use in all client communications. That consistency helps shape a brand’s identity, but for a freelance writer coming in from the outside, mastering the tone of voice and then replicating it fluently is often the trickiest part of the job.

 

How does a hotel judge if it’s addressing its clients in the right tone of voice? How does it decide whether to adopt a personal, chatty tone or go with a more formal approach?

 

I suggest subscribing to the same types of magazines, newspapers and blogs as your clients do. People will often gravitate to styles of writing that they like and with which they can identify. So if you’re reading the same things, you can learn what kind of language is going to work for your hotel.

 

It should go without saying that the tone of voice you use on your website should carry through into every piece of literature you produce, from paid ads to brochures, inhouse magazines to menus.

 

Avoid clichéd language

 

I’ve seen plenty of copywriting briefs for luxury hotels and travel companies, and what almost all of them tend to have in common is a firm instruction to avoid clichéd expressions and turns of phrase wherever possible. Some even go as far as to list a few of the worst-offenders including: hidden gem; crystal-clear waters; bespoke and exclusive. These terms are so overused that they’re practically meaningless.

 

If you want to market your property as a luxury hotel, then you need to explain exactly why it fits that description. Detail, rather than banal meaningless language, is what readers are looking for.

 

Descriptions should be vivid but packed with solid, useful information. Specify the qualities of the bedding you use, exactly what can be seen from the infinity pool, the ingredients used in your spa treatments, and the technique your chef uses to make his steaks so irresistible.

 

Professional hotel copywriter

Sometimes cliches can be hard to avoid. (Image source)

 

Focus on conversions

 

The best luxury hotel copy can inform, entertain and inspire the reader. But it should always have one very clear focus – increasing conversions. Whether it be driving bookings, growing the subscribers for your newsletter or generating useful client feedback, marketing materials need to do their job or they need to be replaced.

 

With that in mind, there should be a specific purpose for every page on your website. The copywriter needs to understand that purpose, and ensure that every word on the page is contributing towards it.

 

Straightforward, easy-to-understand copy featuring persuasive and clear calls to action encourages the reader to take the next step in the process, and brings you one step closer to your conversion goal. Anything needlessly extraneous can be lopped away, and the space given to copy that is more effective.

 

Maintain a blog

 

Sometimes the facilities you offer and even your rates will be secondary to where your hotel is actually located. Many travellers will choose their hotel at least in part because of what’s in the surrounding area.

 

If your hotel is close to the airport, a major business district, a stadium or a popular attraction such as a theme park, then you can rely on regular custom. But if there are no obvious big-ticket attractions near your hotel, then it’s up to you to bring them to your guests’ attention. A dedicated page on your website can showcase the activities available nearby, points of interest such as natural landmarks, or annual events.

 

However, a well-written blog, updated frequently, is a fantastic way to go into more detail and really sell a destination. A blog is another way to connect with your clients, both existing and prospective, to establish authority and also boost your SEO performance.

 

It always amazes me how few luxury hotels keep their own blog, given that it can take only a couple of hours a month to maintain, and the potential benefits that can be accrued.

 

Another point. Good copy is worth the investment. If you can’t find a suitable travel copywriter that knows your local area well, then you need to hire one that can research deep enough to write about it as though they do (drops massive hint).

 

Telling your story

 

It’s true that ‘storytelling’ is a very overused phrase in content marketing. But still there is always a place for an authentic and interesting story that can build an emotional connection between you and your clients.

 

Once you’ve nailed your story, you can use it at the foundation for all of your marketing across every platform. Because your hotel brand’s story is not just a couple of short paragraphs to be buried on your website. It informs who you are, the relationships you have with your staff, your clientele and the people, culture and environment of the surrounding area.

 

The trick, of course, is in finding your individual story, but there are always clues that can help you get started. Think about the reason that you decided to start this hotel, or to build it in this specific location. What kind of an experience do you want your guests to have, and what motivates your team every day.

 

This is another area where closely studying customer feedback can help. If you can establish what people are getting from your hotel (beyond occasionally purloining the towels) then you are very close to the roots of your story.

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