Quick quiz question:

When it comes down to put down the words on your website you:

  1. Just get down with this, come out with some words, and send it to your web designer (or you publish it by yourself).
  2. You know your audience, you’ve made the research and use the words with the intention & strategy 
  3. Website? What website?

If your answer is 1 you are wrong…

If your answer is 3,  just go and make a website for your hostel or hotel (even the simple one). 

And if you’ve guessed that the correct answer is number 2 then congrats! You have just won yourself…well, nothing (sorry).

If you have a hostel or hotel website in place this post will help you easily fix or improve its copy.

Copy? Aka what is copywriting?

Good question, I was also curious, since it was very persistent in appearing in front of my eyes for many days. Until I learned more, and then more, more aaaaand more. In its basics copywriting is persuasive writing. Words that drive your ideal guest to take an action: making a booking, following your hostel or hotel on social media. 

Copywriting is the art of using words intentionally so they provoke an action. Like sales, email sign-ups, or bookings.

If you look around, you’ll see it surrounds you (billboards, magazines, ads, websites, packages…)

It’s also a way to connect people with your service and to generate revenue.

In fact, there is more strategy and research in copywriting than actual writing. Copy’s job is to help your potential customer decide to book or not to book. That’s why you need to know your ideal clients in order to write persuasive copy for them. 

So you can turn your website into direct booking machine.

But surprisingly, not many hoteliers use the potential of copywriting. So, if you’re in the “I love direct bookings” team, this is your chance to take advantage of the copy tool.

In this one, you will get tips on how to take a look at your website now and easily improve it. And you can reuse the same tips next time you will be writing an email to your customers and staff. Or creating a blog or social media post.

Why copywriting is important

Let’s state one important fact: every business on the planet needs copy. Because you need words to sell. And that’s copywriting. 

Both copywriting and web design are important and should go hand in hand. This means that they support each other in the job of convincing your potential guest to take an action. 

Only that…copy comes before the web design.

In honest honesty, your booking button won’t work if there won’t be “Book Now” or “Reserve”. Do you see my point?

What’s keeping up at night your customers?

Knowing your audience is the key. That’s why you need to make research and find out what kind of people love to stay in your place. You might have a pretty close guess. As long as I love guessing, it’s better to make the informed one than the missed one. 

So, hop on to the reviews and see what your past guests thought about you. 

Make a survey and send it to your base of clients. You can also ask questions on your Instagram Stories, etc.

Highlight any response that you could use on your website. Notice the patterns and words, features that your guests are repeating. 

These 7 copy tips will help your website stop sucking

  1. What’s your hook?

Your home page should be like the cover of the book.

Imagine it’s the first place where travelers land. From there they take whatever action you indicate them. 

Start with a strong headline. 

This is the place where you need to hook them! But here is the thing: “welcome” is not a good headline. You don’t need to welcome anyone to your website. You welcome people in your hostel. Not on your website, so if you have “welcome” as a headline, it’s time to change that.

For example: 

“You are now a f****** tourist. The best hostel experience in Lisbon”

We love f tourists Hostel

Or Getaway Hostel in Chicago (which copy I love deeply): “Stay social when you crash Chicago”.

Some hostels and hotels use the headline as a hook for an offer or promotion.

Hotels Viva: “January sales: book your next summer holidays up to -35% off” or “Your holidays without worries” – for the post-covid travels.

Listen, I’m not saying you need to make it clever or original. The most important is that you make it about your guest. 

This takes me to another point.

The home page serves as a door to another part of your website. This is the place, where you should invite your online visitors to make bookings or take a look at your offers and rooms. 

Take care of your home page because, if it looks uninviting or doesn’t spark the action, your potential guest will simply bounce off. 

Aka the worst-case scenario: he/she will book on OTA or, with your competition.

  1. No more random blabling: The “You” Rule

Your website is about your guests. Not really about your facilities. Remember that, and go now to check your website. Any text that doesn’t speak to the ideal guest you can either change or simply delate. 

Take a look at Stay Rhodes Hostel and how they do it in their “Car Pool” section: 

“So, want to STAY on the move? Want to hit the road to see this amazing island your way? Want to rent a car, keep costs down, and share the fun? Great idea! Here, at STAY, we can help you carpool – to share your expenses and your experience! Just ask a member of the STAY Crew! (karaoke optional)”

Stay Rhodes Hostel website

Stay Rhodes Hostel website copy example

  1. Use action words

Yes, “Book Now” are very important action words. If you want people to take any action, tell them to do it. Book, Follow, Join, Get are your must-haves.

What’s more, using action words in descriptions will give them a movement, and will be easier to read.

  1. Make paragraphs and use crossheads

Putting the big blocks of texts on your website? Break them into paragraphs and separate them with the bigger crosshead (aka subtitle). Just like I’m doing in this blog post. This way you make it easier for everyone to read. 

It’s easier to read when the text is broken into separated paragraphs. With bolded crossheads, which sum up the text that follows, text scanning is easier too. Since 79% of people are picking up individual words and scan the content.

  1. Convert features into benefits

Ok, so you have a swimming pool. So, what? Show your guests why they should care (if by any chance, it’s important for your ideal guest). 

For example:

Feature: breakfast

Benefit focused: You can start your day energized with our yummy breakfast.

  1. Picture that: describe instead of making the statement

Think about painting with your writing. Make your hostel facilities visual, let your reader imagine exactly, what they will get when they stay with you. 

  1. Check the spelling and grammar

Ummmm, obvious!

Making sure that your website or emails are in perfect grammar shape is important. Imagine entering into a website full of errors. It doesn’t give a great first impression, right?

English isn’t my mother tongue either. And no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. You can show your website to a trusted friend, who can spot some errors. Plus there are free tools, which can correct your spelling errors and grammar.

For English use Grammarly and Hemingway editor.

For Spanish: Lorca editor.

Bonus: “Unleash your Kraken!”

Use your brand voice. If you have one. 

If you don’t, no worry! Look at Booking and they copy-paste-fill-in-the-blanks voice.

I mean booking didn’t conquer the whole wild hospitality market with their copy-paste-fill-in-the-blanks brand voice. 

(Except they make it extremely easy to find and book accommodation all over the world.)

TBH more emotions evoke their Anonymous-negative-without commentary reviews than their descriptions (or at least they do in us, hoteliers).

What I want to say is: be like booking. If you don’t have your brand voice, at least make it easy to book beds with you.

But that’s for another story.

Summing up what we’ve covered here

After reading this post you should be able to quickly fix copy mistakes on your website: making a strong headline, using action words like “book now”, speaking directly to your guests and about them, and lead with benefits.

Plus you will remember to make it easier for your online visitor to read. You will need to divide your blocks of texts into paragraphs and check your grammar and spelling. With these, I promise you will be able to give a quick fix to your website (and whatever text you’ll be writing with your customers in mind).

These easy copywriting tips will improve your travel accommodation home website in a question of…minutes

  1. Spelling and grammar
  2. Your hook on the homepage headline
  3. Use paragraphs
  4. The You rule aka why they should care
  5. Picture that: paint with your words
  6. Action words
  7. Benefits over features

Non-sucky hostel or hotel blog?

podpis autora
Posted by Ewa Gabara

Posted by Ewa Gabara

Founder of Don’t Mess With The Receptionist. I geek out on hostels and I’m a long-time receptionist turned into a copywriter. I help the hospitality and travel brands conquer the world with words.

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