VRS345 – The Most Powerful Page on Your Vacation Rental Website & How To Make It Special

As more owners and managers embrace a book direct strategy, tactics to build trust and confidence with guests are becoming more important.  They won’t entrust you with their business If they don’t feel comfortable doing so.  This means you have to tell them who you are and why they should feel safe booking directly with you.

Sharing your story of how you got started and why you love the hospitality business is the best way of creating a connection with them, and your About Us page is where you have the opportunity to build that trust.

A bland corporate-style page that just describes your company and services isn’t sufficient anymore.

You need to tell a story that will capture the attention of your audience, intrigue them, and encourage them to stick around on your site and find out more.

Your goal is to make connections with your audience – to resonate with them and help them build trust and confidence in you.

In this episode, I talk about the 5 key components of a great about us page -and what you have to do make it stand out.

 

Know who you are talking to….your persona!

If you have a well-defined persona your brand story should resonate with them.

Dianne Denton at Seahorse Diamond Beach knows her persona intimately.  They are horse owners who have a dream of riding their horse along a beach.

Richard & Sophie Smith from Beside the Sea Holidays in the UK want to share their love of dogs and beaches with other families who have the same dreams.  Because they know their target market so well they’re able to speak their language.

You might have several personas in which case you’ll weave them into your story.

 

Start with the end in mind

Write out the review you would love to get – the one in which your persona describes what they love most about your place…what they did, what they felt, and the memories they are taking away.

This activity really hones in on the specifics of what your guests are looking for in a vacation and gets you on their wavelength when you are writing your story.

Nancy McAleer of Anna Maria Island Home Rentals starts her page with testimonials from her guests that highlight the hospitality they experience from Nancy and her business partner, Terri.  She then goes on to expand on the story of how the two families would vacation together in Florida and ultimately decided to grow their vacation rental business there.   ‘

 

Define your signature story

We all have that story that defines our place in this business.

Mine is about my first experience of an Ontario rental which left us with a full holding tank, a cottage overrun with mice, and stranded in the boat when the motor died.  I’ve told that story many times however the relevance has faded over the years as that experience would not resonate with today's guests. So I have a new signature story.

My new one is about booking a place in Como, Italy and feeling ghosted in that wide open space between booking and arriving.  I even began to doubt the apartment we rented still existed and started to worry before I got there because I’d heard nothing from the management company.  In my new story, I talk about the things I wanted to hear about so I could plan my stay and how our company will never allow anyone to feel that way and we’ll make their vacation planning effortless.

Kati Ruotola owns Budahome and rents apartments in Budapest.  She tells the story of her courageous grandmother Zsuzsa (Susan) who started up a guesthouse in communist Hungary in the late 1960s. In 2013, 33 years after her grandmother’s death, Kati bought that same guesthouse and started her journey into vacation rentals.

The story is fascinating and is accompanied by some great photos.

 

Keep it chronological

A story has natural momentum to it. If you simply state what happened in chronological order (many people actually neglect to do this), you will captivate your audience.

Teena Kulakowski from Four Seasons Lodge neatly manages to fit all her keywords in the title of her page while making it a teaser for the rest of it.

 

How Did I End Up Owning the Best New Hampshire Cabin Rental?

Four Seasons Lodge is a large property that is ideal for reunions and large gatherings which are never easy to organize.  Teena shares her experience of trying to do this with her family and eventually finding the ideal place…..which she then bought.  The story brings the reader through the years to where the property is now, and what she offers to guests.

It flows well and keeps interest throughout.  Teena talks directly to the person organizing a trip and demonstrates her understanding of the frustration and difficulty in ‘herding cats’ and trying to make everyone happy.

 

MAP your story

A good story uses the MAP principle: Memorable, Appealing, and Personal?

Tyann Marcink from Branson Family Retreats kicks off her about us page with a memorable headline that is accompanied by an equally memorable photo (that appeared in Conde Nast magazine).

“‘We eloped on the Isle of Skye in an abandoned chapel”

Tyann and her husband Nat run Branson Family Retreats as well as growing the charming and unique Missouri Haus brand. Her story appeals to her persona as she shares some personal information about her family – children and grandchildren.  The people who come stay at her homes in Branson are these same sprawling and close families.

We all have an amazing story to tell that will capture attention.  Theirs is intriguing and encourages a site visitor to read on.


So there you are – you should be ready to write (or rewrite) you About Us page.

Go ahead and download our free ‘About Us' worksheet and let me know when you’ve done it.  I’ll be sharing some of these in a future episode.

The worksheet also has a few more examples of great stories.

Links featured in the episode:

This American Life – In the Shadow of the City

Guesthook

The About Us pages featured in this episode:

Seahorse Diamond Beach

Beside the Sea Holidays

Anna Maria Island Home Rentals

Four Seasons Lodge

Budahome

Branson Family Retreats