Yahoo has estimated that 880 billion photographs will be taken this year and interestingly, when I searched for “hotel photos” yesterday, almost a billion results were returned.
But often, when browsing through scads of hotel photos online, I’m only presented with one component of the message: the image itself. Sometimes that’s enough to tell the story, but why not supercharge the shopper’s purchase intent by providing perspective with helpful captions and brief descriptions?
After all, people are shortchanged for time and overwhelmed with information so giving them useful and entertaining insights at a glance make a lot of sense.
Head off questions like “Is this a PGA course? What’s the ambiance like at the pool? When I walk out the front door, how far is the coffee shop?” You get the picture :)
The right description can attract travel shoppers, provide context and help convey the anticipated experience all in an effort to win their booking. Your narratives should set the right tone for your target audience – whether they’re the Gen X family on summer vacation or a gaggle of Millennials heading out for a weekend trip.
The Relais & Chateaux Stikliai Hotel has mastered the show and tell approach: show travel shoppers what they can expect to experience at the property and put the visuals into context by way of a captivating caption and informative short description.
Coming up with creative descriptions for your property can be easier than it looks. Think about turning to your brand site, if you have one, for ideas, or even taking a look at how local attractions and activities describe themselves.
Here are some tried and true tips to creating the world’s best captions and descriptions for your visuals – with many examples to help you get started.
9 Helpful Tips on Ideal Length and Creating Great Captions
- Short descriptions for photos should be no more than 90 characters in length and should be catchy, inviting the reader to continue.
- Break up text and highlight important points using bulleted lists, bold text and underlining important amenities.
The Best Western Village Inn does a great job of this. The information on their homepage is clear, concise, detailed without being overwhelming, and presented in an easy-to-read layout.
3. Use catchy adjectives instead of using the same redundant phrasing. The Hoxton in Shoreditch, London loves to play outside the boundaries and write descriptions in their brand’s voice and authentic style.
4. All rooms are not created equal, so it is important to showcase what makes each room unique. Remember to keep descriptions short and sweet and give travel shoppers the information that’s useful and shortens the path to purchase (like “is this a good place for the kids or for a romantic getaway?”). The Hillard House Inn uses bold images, creative descriptions and displays a “More Info” tab that gives us the option to learn more about each of the unique rooms they have to offer. When you click on the “More Info” tab, the page expands to include a list of descriptive amenities as well as a photo gallery filled with images of the room.
5. The San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel is a popular wedding destination and they know their couples well, using language that uniquely resonates with this target audience. In their media galleries, instead of simply writing “Weddings” or “Events” they get creative with phrases like “I Do.” Their gallery showcases stunning visuals such as “Love Bouquets” and “The Vow” and they also highlight their unique “Blue Room” that features a bed of blue roses.
6. Break out the thesaurus and find some energetic words that jump off the screen to breathe life into your story. Repetitive and redundant words get lost in the hotel shuffle along the travel shopping journey. The Freehand Hotel in Chicago gives guests a heads-up on with a hometown narrative about the opening of their new bar, The Broken Shaker.
7. Brainstorm with your team and hear their thoughts. Creativity comes alive when you’re in a collaborative setting and you get input from your coworkers.
8. Play around with your headlines and captions to get away from the ordinary. Remember, why fit in when you were born to stand out?
9. Get creative with descriptions and get ready to stand out. Short on ideas? Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing.
- Pools, spas, outdoor areas
Caption: Peace & Quiet
Short Description: Dad’s got the kiddos, now it’s Mommy time! Onsite spas, pools and more.
- Local area & shopping
Caption: In the Hood
Short Description: Exit lobby. Turn right, drugstore & coffee. Turn left, quick lunch & adorable boutiques.
Caption: I’m Starving…
Short Description: Best part about dinner? Dessert. Join us each night for good food and sinful sweets!
Caption: Cheers! Salute! Saludos!
Short Description: Drop by our friendly lounge and enjoy your favorite vintage or martini concoction.
Each and every property on the planet has a story that is uniquely their own. Have you ever discovered a hidden coffee shop that had the best atmosphere or sweetest cookies? Ventured off the beaten path in a foreign land and found the greatest mountain views (not in any travel book or website)?
That’s the lens you should be looking through when writing creative descriptions of your property. Make travel shoppers feel as if they stumbled upon a very special place so much so that they can’t wait to get there.
Setting the atmosphere on your homepage is vitally important; and so is keeping up the pace in your gallery and on every page within your website. Think about what compels you to choose a magazine on a rack filled with hundreds of choices. And, why do you flip to page 56 as soon as you read an irresistible headline?
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