Travel writing clichés are not a new topic for us. In fact, we’ve written about them several times before. But so endemic are clichés in hotel and travel content that, despite our previous efforts, we feel we have only just begun to scratch the surface. Every day, hotel websites and blogs regurgitate yet even more trite travel expressions that, for one reason or another, grind our gears.
Clichés dilute the impact of written content, making it sound flat and stale. Your hotel’s copy, whether on the website, blog or brochure, is meant to engage and attract potential customers, not send them into a coma. In our previous articles, we highlighted 20 unoriginal and tired travel clichés. This time around, we’ve rounded up a whole new batch of offenders.
A term liberally applied to boutique hotels, B&Bs and small historic hotels of all varieties, this once-lovely word has become dulled by overuse. When it comes to alternatives (attractive, old-fashioned, picturesque), pickings are slim. But before you settle for ‘quaint’, take a moment to reflect and see if you can find more concrete terms to convey what you want to say about the hotel at hand. Describing it as a ‘thatched-roof inn with a roaring Victorian fireplace’ will paint a clearer picture than ‘quaint’ ever could.
Does every beach have to be pristine? Firstly, it isn’t always accurate: many stretches described as such on hotel websites are, in reality, far from unspoilt. Even if the beach in question is genuinely immaculate, this word sounds like marketing speak and won’t ring true with readers. Please, no more.
From dining Meccas to surfing Meccas, Meccas are everywhere in the travel and hospitality industries. With so many mentions, it’s easy to forget that Mecca is actually a real place and not just a time-worn cliché. Unless you’re writing about Saudi Arabia’s historic city, or its incredible annual hajj, we think Mecca is best left out.
This one reads like an order and no one likes being bossed about. Besides, what you consider a ‘must-see’ might not necessarily line up with the reader’s idea of a good time. If you insist on using ‘must-see’, do so sparingly and save it only for the places or activities that come really highly recommended.
5. Off the beaten track/path
The mother of all travel writing clichés, this expression is used willy-nilly in hotel blogs, brochures and websites. Here’s the kicker: there is no such thing as off the beaten path – no matter how far from the regular tourist haunts you may roam, you can be sure someone else got there before you.
It is the job of a hotel marketer to promote not just the hotel property, but also the destination in which it is located. If you feel your hotel is situated in a somewhat undervalued destination, you might find yourself typing the word ‘undiscovered’. But before you do, remember you are no explorer. Now that Earth is fully mapped, it’s extremely unlikely that we can make any genuine discoveries. Here’s our rule of thumb: if people live there and/or know about where the hotel is located (which is almost everywhere), it can’t be ‘undiscovered’.
Oasis is used in a metaphorical sense by hotel marketers to describe a refuge or place of relief. It’s not a charmless metaphor, just one that has worn thin. A good metaphor should resonate with the audience, but this word will not. Relentless repetition has eroded its impact and the chances of it making an impression on the reader are minimal.