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8 Deep Adjustments To Your Listings

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter

ToonTownRob

Envoy
Inner Circle
I need to add another item to this thread... sorry still thinking about it.
The final point should also include: Mindful Inclusive Text

I recently received what I thought was a ridiculous email from VERBOH... pointing out that the text I used could be construed as insensitive.
"Plantation Shutters".
Well that set me off because to me plantation shutters is a widely used design and product term.
The VRBOH AI must have thought I was using the word plantation to describe my entire home... which is not the case.

After researching text and descriptions I found out that many real estate boards are no longer permitting the use of the word "Master" for Master Bedroom... the new term to use now is Primary Bedroom.

And the use of the word "Plantation" to describe a house is also a bit of a taboo I found out.

So it's a good idea to relook at what's happening in the word every once in a while to see what's OUT and what's still IN in terms of mindful usage of text.

**************************

Email Received from VERBOH:

Vrbo is more than a platform - we're a community of guests and hosts built on mutual respect. And we're committed to creating a welcoming experience for everyone who uses our site.

As part of this commitment, we've worked with award-winning inclusion and diversity leaders the 360 Agency and Dr. Kazique Prince to make sure the property listings on Vrbo reflect our policy and purpose.

We invite you to join us in shaping a world that's inclusive to people of all racial and cultural backgrounds.

We ask that you review your listing description and avoid using the term "plantation" or "plantation-style." Instead, you may want to use the word "estate" or "mansion." If you are using the term to describe a property’s design, consider neutral language such as “tropical-style” or describe the specific features.

Going forward, "plantation" should only be used to describe, and never celebrate, properties with a history of slavery in the United States.

When we address language in this way - removing it or adding context - we're not trying to rewrite history. We're breaking down historical barriers that have harmed some people as a step toward creating a safer, more inclusive future for everyone.

Learn more about what Vrbo is doing to drive change in our industry.

We thank you for joining us in our effort to be a welcoming place for travelers everywhere.

@Nancy , this is a perfect example of what I was referring to when I wrote this post here.

Although the title doesn't necessarily reflect it, the need to review, adapt and keep our messaging up with the times continues to get more and more important!
 

ToonTownRob

Envoy
Inner Circle
I want to dispute that people's attention spans have dwindled to seconds.

Yes, this will be true if you're trying to describe to me how to rotate my tires myself, or the international trade implications for Nutella after Brexit.

But if you want to communicate with me about golden retriever puppies, five easy ways to get quality followers on Instagram, or the most beautiful villages in Liguria, I will read every single word and click on every single link.

People browsing OTAs are intent on finding a property in their desired area. If your photo and headline attract their attention by connecting with what they want, they will keep reading.

Hah hah hah... Given my most recent post, this makes me laugh right out loud! Thanks for demonstrating how I could have done it!
 
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Catherine

Envoy
Inner Circle
I looked at the listing with the best staged photos, and the one common feature that stands out to me is the use of "candid" photos. "Staged " and "candid" are really opposites, but in this case it works.
Showing people who are enjoying the perks of a rental are just fun to view.
I ask my guests to take pictures of their dogs playing in my back yard and add them to my listings and web site as "furry guests". I tell them that their pictures will be featured on my site.
This appeals to their "doggie pride"...and let's me feature my fenced-in yard without being boring.
 

Camille

Attaché
Inner Circle
These are good ideas! I find that guests are all over the place as to what they will read. Some read nothing; some clean to every word. However, changing things up makes everything fresh. Motivation to to pump and work on our on site as well.
 

Jed

Accelerator
Inner Circle
Accelerator
I need to add another item to this thread... sorry still thinking about it.
The final point should also include: Mindful Inclusive Text

I recently received what I thought was a ridiculous email from VERBOH... pointing out that the text I used could be construed as insensitive.
"Plantation Shutters".
Well that set me off because to me plantation shutters is a widely used design and product term.
The VRBOH AI must have thought I was using the word plantation to describe my entire home... which is not the case.

After researching text and descriptions I found out that many real estate boards are no longer permitting the use of the word "Master" for Master Bedroom... the new term to use now is Primary Bedroom.

And the use of the word "Plantation" to describe a house is also a bit of a taboo I found out.

So it's a good idea to relook at what's happening in the word every once in a while to see what's OUT and what's still IN in terms of mindful usage of text.

**************************

Email Received from VERBOH:

Vrbo is more than a platform - we're a community of guests and hosts built on mutual respect. And we're committed to creating a welcoming experience for everyone who uses our site.

As part of this commitment, we've worked with award-winning inclusion and diversity leaders the 360 Agency and Dr. Kazique Prince to make sure the property listings on Vrbo reflect our policy and purpose.

We invite you to join us in shaping a world that's inclusive to people of all racial and cultural backgrounds.

We ask that you review your listing description and avoid using the term "plantation" or "plantation-style." Instead, you may want to use the word "estate" or "mansion." If you are using the term to describe a property’s design, consider neutral language such as “tropical-style” or describe the specific features.

Going forward, "plantation" should only be used to describe, and never celebrate, properties with a history of slavery in the United States.

When we address language in this way - removing it or adding context - we're not trying to rewrite history. We're breaking down historical barriers that have harmed some people as a step toward creating a safer, more inclusive future for everyone.

Learn more about what Vrbo is doing to drive change in our industry.

We thank you for joining us in our effort to be a welcoming place for travelers everywhere.
I had a similar experience - but for us it was about a property that we manage at called "Kiahuna Plantation". They were trying to get me to remove my use of the word plantation, which is part of the name of the resort. I just about lost it on my account executive who was pushing me on why I needed to use the name of the property in my listing. I don't get upset about things, but that really got to me. 5 of our 13 properties are at this resort, so for me, it is a pretty big deal to be able to use the name of the property in my listings.

If they change the name of the property, then I'm fine not using "plantation" in my listings. I don't have any moral objection to improving language and am not interested in keeping nostalgia for a horrible time in our history. Generally, I'm on board with evolution of thought and mindfulness. My whole issue was with how Vrbo implemented this policy and then won't allow for a human to see the exceptions. I'm still waiting on them for a resolution.
 

Robin

Counselor
Inner Circle
Great thread, packed full of thought-provoking and compelling ideas!

To confirm 100%

- Name Your Homes - a street address has no identity and has no magical SEO benefits. A name can be traced back to you for that direct reservation relationship to occur "organically". Be creative, and look for meaningful and individual identities for your homes - it's such an opportunity to tell a story too!

- Photos - spend $100 per photo to get the results that will sell the experience that your homes offer the guest. Stage them, and light them, and get with the most talented photographer and editor (that is half of the work) that you can afford. You will never look back. Here's an example: https://www.movingmountains.com/vacation-rentals/chalet-cristallo

- Speak to your guest about what they will experience with your company! You are not selling real estate - they want an experience and it's up to you to spell that out in your copy, social media, blogs, and email newsletters.

- Underdog narrative - love that concept although I think that for us that is more about staying humble and never assuming that we are the best. We are only as good as our last guest stay, like a restaurant is only as good as the last meal they served. You have to be willing to prove and deliver over and over again. But, our underdog mentality says - You can do it! You are good enough! Just let us show you!

- Tell Your Story - your "about us" page humanizes your business, and shows your guests who you are. There is a great opportunity here to tell people how you came to be where you are and what you are all about. Not all, but many guests visit these pages and surprise us by how much they know about us when they arrive. I am amazed how many companies do not show off their team and recognize them individually - this is also a moment of pride for our team.

I could go on :)
 

RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
AMAZING THREAD! Thank you everyone: IC at its finest! I agree with these great suggestions.

I would add: know your property or, if you are a professional manager, stay at all of your properties at least once a year to really understand what makes the place special to convey your Unique Selling Proposition to your guests.

I am a big believer in "home truths" and managing expectations. Here in Vernazza, we are a car-free village with narrow medieval alleys made up of stairs instead of streets. We have lots of stairs to get to our properties with their unobstructed, panoramic views over the Ligurian Sea.

This is what I write in our Airbnb listing and website:
If you want an extraordinary view in Vernazza, you have to earn it: there are 75 stairs to arrive from main street via Roma to Carattino 12. If you have mobility issues or toddlers, this may not be the right place for you.​

These two sentences make all the difference! Whereas some folks in our village have tons of negative reviews about having to climb stairs, we get only 5 star reviews and folks sometimes saying "the stairs mean we can eat more pasta and gelato"!

In summary:
  1. know and communicate what makes your offering special
  2. less is more (sharp text, only the best photos)
  3. invite future guests to dream but manage expectations
 

RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
Great thread, packed full of thought-provoking and compelling ideas!

To confirm 100%

- Name Your Homes - a street address has no identity and has no magical SEO benefits. A name can be traced back to you for that direct reservation relationship to occur "organically". Be creative, and look for meaningful and individual identities for your homes - it's such an opportunity to tell a story too!

- Photos - spend $100 per photo to get the results that will sell the experience that your homes offer the guest. Stage them, and light them, and get with the most talented photographer and editor (that is half of the work) that you can afford. You will never look back. Here's an example: https://www.movingmountains.com/vacation-rentals/chalet-cristallo

- Speak to your guest about what they will experience with your company! You are not selling real estate - they want an experience and it's up to you to spell that out in your copy, social media, blogs, and email newsletters.

- Underdog narrative - love that concept although I think that for us that is more about staying humble and never assuming that we are the best. We are only as good as our last guest stay, like a restaurant is only as good as the last meal they served. You have to be willing to prove and deliver over and over again. But, our underdog mentality says - You can do it! You are good enough! Just let us show you!

- Tell Your Story - your "about us" page humanizes your business, and shows your guests who you are. There is a great opportunity here to tell people how you came to be where you are and what you are all about. Not all, but many guests visit these pages and surprise us by how much they know about us when they arrive. I am amazed how many companies do not show off their team and recognize them individually - this is also a moment of pride for our team.

I could go on :)
As I am planning and building my first real website, I have found myself turning to Moving Mountains again and again. Your photos are outstanding ...and make me want to plan a family ski vacation! Some day...
Thank you for being such a leader in this vacation rental community.
 

RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
These are good tips. Nevertheless, now in Paris the market is, by defintion, nearlly all domestic and all this kind of strategy which is avalaible in "normal time" is not very effective now where the majority of clients are looking for one thing : the price.
We are in Italy and missing our American and Australian guests but I believe now is the right time to build out your strategy for when travel improves, hopefully this summer and for 2022.
 

Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
After researching text and descriptions I found out that many real estate boards are no longer permitting the use of the word "Master" for Master Bedroom... the new term to use now is Primary Bedroom.
Warning: This is not about vacation rentals. But @Nancy I thought you'd really like it:

It started with a glass of pineapple rum. Osayi Endolyn, a black food writer, asked a white bartender at a cocktail bar in Nashville the brand name of the pineapple rum on the menu. The waitress hesitated. “It’s Plantation. Plantation Rum,” she said quietly. She scurried away. That awkward interaction sent Osayi on a journey to investigate the reoccurrence of the word plantation in the food world.

Here's the episode on one of my favorite podcasts The Sporkful: http://www.sporkful.com/when-white-people-say-plantation-pt-1/
 

Lee

Owner of Accommodations in Telluride
Inner Circle
Terrific ideas! Gets my neurons popping :) I'll jump in here with something we've heard many times before but with a slightly different twist. We've all heard that the ROI on using a professional photographer is HUGE. I used our local airbnb photographer on a side gig and got some pretty decent pics for about $100. Well worth it. What we don't hear emphasized enough is that we ought to spend time planning and staging every shot in the photo shoot beforehand. We want every frame to tell a story and convey a feeling. I spent hours over the course of a few days doing my planning and staging, whereas the shoot itself took less than an hour. Consider it the foreplay for achieving really great results ;) Mine don't quite achieve that high bar, but take a look at the images and videos in @Sallie 's CasaMarAzul. Her images are an 11 on a scale from 1 to 10.
Really sweet video!
 

BobG

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter

5) Get on the eco train​

Environmentally-friendly vacation rentals are exponentially more appealing than their direct counterparts. Which aspects of your business (products, services, amenities) reflect your awareness of the environment? Mention them blatantly.
The confluence of:
  • the increasing survey data on travellers expectation for a more sustainable stay
  • the profile of eco-stays in the mainstream press
  • the forthcoming regulation which will force changes on hosts
  • the issue of the climate crisis becoming daily news
are all combining to create massive change in our industry.

Some simple steps can help you to tap into the eco market. What have you got to loose?
 

RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
Warning: This is not about vacation rentals. But @Nancy I thought you'd really like it:

It started with a glass of pineapple rum. Osayi Endolyn, a black food writer, asked a white bartender at a cocktail bar in Nashville the brand name of the pineapple rum on the menu. The waitress hesitated. “It’s Plantation. Plantation Rum,” she said quietly. She scurried away. That awkward interaction sent Osayi on a journey to investigate the reoccurrence of the word plantation in the food world.

Here's the episode on one of my favorite podcasts The Sporkful: http://www.sporkful.com/when-white-people-say-plantation-pt-1/
Matt, this is such an important point. I was just thinking about how the key to everything is making HOSPITALITY the center of our strategy, mission and interactions. To me, hospitality means making people feel welcome, cared for and relaxed in our home and with us so that they can just be themselves. We can all do better to look at all of our communications to make sure we are sending and living this message.
 

RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
The confluence of:
  • the increasing survey data on travellers expectation for a more sustainable stay
  • the profile of eco-stays in the mainstream press
  • the forthcoming regulation which will force changes on hosts
  • the issue of the climate crisis becoming daily news
are all combining to create massive change in our industry.

Some simple steps can help you to tap into the eco market. What have you got to loose?
@BobG I am sitting at my desk and looking at the post it that says "Bob G, GO GREEN". I have already started writing my plan! Promise it is on my To do list and I'm going to do it!!
 

Matt Landau

Ambassador
Staff member
Matt, this is such an important point. I was just thinking about how the key to everything is making HOSPITALITY the center of our strategy, mission and interactions. To me, hospitality means making people feel welcome, cared for and relaxed in our home and with us so that they can just be themselves. We can all do better to look at all of our communications to make sure we are sending and living this message.
So true. I can’t share this quote enough: “Hospitality means we take people into the space that is ourselves — our lives and our minds and our hearts and our work and our efforts. It is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step toward dismantling the barriers of the world. Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around one heart at a time.” - joan chittister
 
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