Clichés are rife in the hotel and travel sector. Browse just a few websites, blogs and brochures, and it won’t be long until you encounter ‘a hidden gem’ or a ‘best-kept secret’. And while these phrases aren’t inherently bad, they aren’t exactly original either. Using them liberally will make for bland and forgettable copy.
Your hotel’s written content is a prime opportunity to engage audiences, provide useful and inspiring information and demonstrate your status as local area experts, so don’t bore potential guests with watered-down, wishy-washy language. In a previous article, we listed 10 clichés for hotel marketers to avoid, but – as you may already have guessed – we were only getting started. Here are 10 more predictable phrases to steer clear of.
Sometime is seems the hotel industry has an aversion to plain and simple language – basic words and phrases such as ‘located in’ just won’t cut it. Which is why so many hotel copywriters describe their property as being ‘nestled’ or ‘perched’ somewhere. But what about accuracy? If your hotel property is situated above or at the edge of an elevated plot of land then go ahead and use perched. If the building is half-hidden by vines or vegetation, then nestled is fine. Otherwise, avoid them.
2. Hidden gem
Before you type this phrase, think: Is your hotel really (a) ‘hidden’ and (b) a ‘gem’? The fact you host guests who manage to locate your hotel without much trouble should tell you that the phrase may not apply. And even if it does fulfil both of these criteria, the two words are so tired and trite they barely register with readers. Find another way to say precisely what you mean.
3. A rich heritage
The problem with this phrase is that it comes across as lazy. A ‘rich heritage’ is vague, simplistic and, considering the subjective nature of each word, applicable to almost anywhere. Even if you don’t want to delve into the nitty-gritty historical details of the local area, you can still use more specifics to conjure up stronger images. For example, Manchester can be described as having ‘a cityscape assembled by industry’ while San Sebastian is a place where ‘fine dining is a birthright’.
4. Something for everyone
Again, this reeks of laziness. Your hotel may have broad appeal, but it will also has a key target demographic, meaning it will naturally appeal most to people with certain interests, of a certain age and with a certain budget. For instance, outdoorsy types might enjoy a hip boutique hotel in London’s Soho but that doesn’t mean they’ll find as much for them there as they might a wilderness resort in Alaska.
If you try to appeal to everyone with sweeping statements, your writing will fail to connect with anyone. Instead, try writing for those most likely to come stay with you, whether that be families or business travellers.
Bustling cities, markets and squares. If it’s crowded and full of activity, bustling is indeed an accurate choice. It’s also prosaic though, and it’s hard to justify using this term. Think of a cleverer way to get your point across. We once described a tourist-filled city square as ‘crammed with camera-clickers’.
6. The next/the new…
The next Brooklyn is Detroit. The next Berlin is Leipzig. The next St. Tropez is Torquay. Comparisons like this are not only confusing, misleading and a little insulting, they’re also simply not true. Every city or area has its own particular, distinct and nuanced identity, and most potential visitors would actually like to know what makes it unique rather than what makes it familiar.
Vibrant is seriously overused. Try picking out more concrete details about what makes the area so vibrant. Is it the diversity of the people, the youthful population or the lightening-speed pace of life? And is vibrant really the best term, when spirited, vivid and dynamic are possibilities?
8. That time forgot
The village that time forgot. The beach that time forgot. The land that time forgot. The city that time forgot. If you’re a regular reader of travel content, it would seem that time has amnesia.
This should be a powerful word used to describe a truly rare quality – a sight or experience that stirs a physical reaction. Unfortunately, decades of overuse have dulled its impact and the adjective is now as stale as 7-day-old bread.
10. Step out of your comfort zone
This implies you know what your guests’ comfort zone is. You don’t.