If you’ve ever looked for or researched holiday destinations online then you will already be more than familiar with some of these travel writing clichés.
Using tired tropes is a sure-fire way to turn off your audience and result in your product becoming just another holiday destination that blends in with the rest.
1. Cliché words and phrases
Using clichéd language is certainly one of the most common misdeeds. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a travel or holiday website with no repetition or a cliché in sight. However, overuse can come off as stilted, and there are some phrases we think are best to avoid all together.
The most simple way to manage this is to curate a list of banned phrases. Even a simple whiteboard with a constantly updated list, accessible to all writers and editors, could do the trick. Some examples you can start with include, ‘white sandy beaches’, ‘unspoilt scenery’, ‘off the beaten track’, ‘clear blue water’, and ‘something for everyone’. These stock phrases are almost guaranteed to make your readers’ eyes glaze over and then click away.
It’s important that your content reflects your brand’s voice, so think about channelling it every time you sit down to write, until it becomes second nature.
Exaggerating descriptions of holiday destinations is another frequently found misstep in travel writing. These inflated descriptions may sound great and encourage bookings, but ultimately misrepresent the location and could – at best – leave you with a very dissatisfied customer and poor reviews. If you have a social media presence (which you certainly should), don’t be surprised if unhappy holidaymakers leave comments warning others of the overzealous claims.
As a general rule, reserve words like ‘breathtaking’, ‘magnificent’, ‘awe-inspiring’ and ‘stunning’ for attractions comparable to the wonders of the world, not a standard family beach. Also, never describe a hotel as ‘five star’ unless it’s officially got a 5* rating.
In the same vein, don’t feel the need to declare every feature as the ‘best’, ‘most’ or ‘top’. Making recurrent, overly-bold, superlative claims can desensitise your reader, and has been shown to stop them taking your claims seriously. If thought to be misleading, your positive descriptions could potentially get you in trouble with the ASA
3. Including exhausted attractions
This cliché can be a hard one to avoid, due to the sheer mass of travel content available online. If for example, you’re promoting Paris, it may serve you better not to waste too many words talking about the Eiffel Tower. Whilst it’s probably best not to ignore it entirely, chances are your reader has already seen several similar pages that didn’t fulfil their needs and already know all about it.
Describing it at length will not enrich their user experience. It may be more beneficial for you and for your potential customer if you inform them of an overlooked area of Paris they may be currently unaware of.
4. Broad, sweeping generalisations
Vague, generalised descriptions may require less research and be quicker to write, but they can make content sound cold and impersonal, diluting your brand.
Modern consumers require a personal touch and are not impressed by unimaginative or stereotypical descriptions. Some of the travel writing pitfalls include describing a spot a ‘hidden gem’ or ‘historical treasure’ with no context or factual details.
Anything on the page that could apply to a range of other destinations should be avoided. Examples of this include, ‘you’ll find a roster of activities available’ or ‘there is a range of restaurants and bars nearby.’ Including specific details of exactly what the reader will want to know will be far more beneficial to the reader.
Moreover, the details you include in your location-specific content could be exactly what the user was looking for to confirm their choice, and this may be the difference between a user leaving or converting.
By avoiding these travel writing clichés, you can ensure your content stands out from your competitors.
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