The image of the shameless estate agent using language that is creative at best, and dishonest at worst, is a familiar one for many people. Property descriptions that are filled with these cliches, jargon and doublespeak may make a middling property seem more appealing but, we’ve worked out their code. We can read between the lines and spot the subtext in these property descriptions. Many of the more common phrases now cause the opposite effect of their intention as we know what the words are trying to disguise.
With pictures and video being standard on every website, guests now expect to know everything about your property before booking, so having a cliched description can put guests off more than attract them. Guests want specific information rather than meaningless buzzwords and phrases.
Today we’re listing some of the most common phrases that your guests will see right through. And, what they really see when they read them. You property may well be everything your description promises, but these phrases have been abused so freely over the years that savvy guests can’t help but read them with a touch of cynicism.
Bijou: Small. It may sound urban and refined, but a bijou property is just a code word for a limited space. This is the classic example of trying to turn a negative into a positive and has been used so frequently it now sends warning signs to potential guests. Why not try intimate, snug or comfortable instead?
Cosy: Cosy is now so synonymous with small that the words are pretty much interchangeable in property descriptions. Let your pictures convey this sense.
Vibrant Area: Noisy. This could be exactly what you are looking for, but disguising noise as a charming feature of the area is not going to please guests looking to rest.
Good Transport links: Miles out of the city centre but within reach of a bus stop or train station. Having good transport links generally signifies to guests that a property is a good distance away from anywhere of note. London has a good transport link to Paris but, but they are by no means close. Maps and exact times on foot, by car and on public transport will be of far more use to your guests.
Rustic: Dilapidated and run down. A rustic property could well suggest an opportunistic property manager taking advantage of the recent trend in design and furnishing to avoid updating an older property. This is another word best left to your pictures to convey.
A Stone’s throw from…: This could be a five minute walk or it could be a 20 minute drive. This tells your guest nothing that they can use and makes it seem like you’re keeping the real distance hidden because the property is perhaps not as close to the attractions as you would like to admit. Accurate measurements will always be more appreciated than vague approximations.
Luxury: The power of this word has been destroyed. Luxury used to mean something truly special, something out of the ordinary and worthy of comment. Indiscriminate use by chocolatiers and shampoo companies means that luxury either really means something closer to ‘fairly nice’ now. Luxury has become something of a warning sign to many guests, just let your services and facilities speak for themselves.
Hidden Gem: How hidden can your property be if you are advertising it and your guests are looking at the pictures? This phrase does more to suggest that the property will be hard to find from the airport than to add an air of mystery and exclusivity.
Cutting Edge: It’s difficult to imagine the latest in technology or design when hearing a phrase that has been so blunted by overuse. ‘Cutting edge’ has the sense of a 80s imagination of what the future would like, with hoverboards and entire meals in just a pill. The phrase has become an oxymoron and should be avoided. The simpler ‘modern’ conveys the same meaning with less.
If you are struggling with using the same words and phrases in your property descriptions, why not try a thesaurus tool. This is a quick way to find ways of describing your property that injects the excitement and originality that a one-off property should inspire. Removing clichés will make the rest of your description seem far more accurate, and will avoid disappointed and misled guests that will leave bad reviews.
Words come in and out of fashion and we think it’s time these were retired from property descriptions. Phrases and words like these just don’t sound natural anymore. They actually build a barrier between property managers and guests. Let your property speak for itself and create a short, accurate description that is designed to inform rather than sell. Your guests will feel that this is more accurate, more genuine and will be a better reflection of what it is like to stay at your property.