The art of storytelling in three short steps

The new buzzword for marketing your self-catering property is ‘Storytelling’. Like TripAdvisor publishing guests’ photos and Expedia’s recent marketing campaign (a series of documentary style mini-films telling the stories of ordinary peoples’ extraordinary travel), authenticity in advertising your holiday cottage is essential to building relationships with current and future guests.

Holidaymakers are bombarded with options when it comes to choosing where to book, from castles and stately homes to chocolate box cottages and hobbit holes. But what really matters is who you are, not what you are.

If you can tell your story – why you’re the person to make your guests’ self-catering experience extra special and how time at your property can create brilliant memories for them and their family – then you’re one step closer to securing their booking.

1.  Be true to yourself

You should be living the stories you tell, and telling the stories you live. When you walk down the yard in the morning to feed the chickens as the sun’s coming up, when you’re resting your tired feet after a hard changeover day or sneaking in some reading and a hot chocolate before work starts again, tell the truth! People love real stories and it’s a great way for your market to get to know you. You and your properties’ personalities are your unique features, and that’s what’s going to encourage potential guests to stay at your property over another one. Share your stories and be honest.

2. Show your story, don’t just tell it

A picture tells a thousand words – and today this old adage has never been truer. People process images 60 times faster than they process words, and images make the most compelling content. Your pictures don’t have to be perfect – you’re using them to illustrate your story, not to make a sale. Snap a picture of your early morning chicken feeds, your freshly laid breakfast table, or take short video of the fire crackling on a cold night and post them on Instagram or Facebook to truly show your future guests the magic of your property. You can even add a profile video to your Airbnb listing and a video tour to your HomeAway ad.

3. Listen to the stories people are telling you

Do you ask your guests to review your holiday rental after their stay? Do you have a guest book you can photograph and post on your website or social media? The stories your guests share about your property are all examples of your personality and are about as genuine as you can get. Engage your guests in conversation – ask what the best thing about staying at your self-catering property was. If they agree you could share a photo of them (adding a warm and cosy filter first), with a quote of their best holiday memory. Using your guests’ personal narratives to show the potential of a stay in your accommodation is a sincere way to show what you can offer.