The Verified text dilemma

In the last months I have come to learn how it feels to be a censor.

The  Managers go out in the wild to visit the houses and apartments and come back home with some pictures and impressions.
Then they write the Verification text to publish it for the world to see.

We do this because we think that:

  • The Owner’s description is not objective. It tells you the nice aspects and hides the bad ones. It’s, understandably, “brochure text” and it normally sounds like: “this beautiful and recently renovated apartment will be your home away from home”. There is never any reference to the broken door or smelly bathroom. So, the informative value is usually quite low and it’s no wonder that they are not read by most guests. It’s often just bla bla bla: noise in the page.
  • The Guests’ Reviews are very subjective.
    The same house can be “clean” or “filthy” for different persons.
    The reviews need to be interpreted by the users and this can be very time consuming and frustrating.
    I want to reserve an apartment for 3 nights, not analyze texts written by people I don’t know.
    Plus they can be fake.
    P.S.: We don’t have them yet but planned them for this year.

So, there’s a gap and we try to fill it with the Manager’s Verifications.
But we need to learn how to really write them.

Here’s where my censorship powers come into play.

The Manager-Owner love may spoil it all

What normally happens is more than understandable:
the Manager goes on a visit, the Owner welcomes her/him, offers a coffee, they chat, see the house, become acquainted.
It’s a friendly time and I always enjoy this when I do it.

Then the Manager goes home and writes: “this beautiful and recently renovated apartment will be your home away from home”.
And this is where the whole visit becomes a huge waste of time for everybody.

So I come in, remove the text and this conversation follows:

– Me: “no, this is completely useless for the guest. Have you noticed any negative aspects?”
– Manager: “shall I write some bad things about the place?! This is a business partner, we can’t do that.”
– Me: “well, we  have to. This is a third-party assessment, not a sales pitch.”
– Manager: “but he was nice to me. He even gave me a cookie with the coffee”
– Me: “have  you been corrupted by a cookie?”
– Manager: “it… had… real butter”.
– “What about the guests?”
– “I have no emotional attachments to the guests. I never see them. They are just emails to me”

Ok, that’s a joke of course, but it shows how the fact that we met the Owners personally, makes it hard to “stab them in the back” by leaving bad reviews.

So, let me explain:

No bad reviews, just bad aspects

It’s not about bad reviews.

If the places are bad, we simply don’t list them.
On the other hand, if they make it in to the system it means their value is right.
They may even not be very nice but if the price is right, they’re in.

If the Owners are not happy with the Verified text, they can  leave.
We prefer 100 real listings than 100.000 misleading ones.
We are making a selection and we can do it because we are local.

It’s all about bad aspects. Every place has them so there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Even the most beautiful and perfect accommodation in the world has some.
If you write that a place has not bad aspects, the guests, will probably not believe it.
Are you sure nothing can be improved?

Guests are our friends

If we just write the nice aspects the text is completely worthless.
Guests assume we are lying. Everybody is lying in the internet. So we have to try hard to prove them that we are on their side: we will tell them the truth.

Let’s not forget that guests do not want a perfect place. They just don’t want to be lied to.
We owe them that, because ALL the money in this business comes from them.

Actually, writing the bad aspects can even help the Owners.
They may sell their rentals from their websites saying “look in Adormo, there’s an objective Verification of my apartment, if you don’t believe me, you may want to believe them”.

And if we manage to write really good Verifications, the word will spread and this will be the key to our success, no Adwords involved.

There’s a lot more to be said and we are still learning how to write them well but we’ll become good, no matter how hard it will be.

Here’s what we learned so far:

  • Guests don’t read, they scan. So remove all the noise and get to the point.
  • Write the Verification as if you were describing the place to a friend.
  • Always start from the bad aspects. So the guest sees this is not “brochure text” and will keep reading.
  • Write them the same day of the visit, don’t wait. If the experience is still fresh in your mind it will feel more real.
  • Give details: “there was some dust in the drawers” works better than “the kitchen was clean enough”.
  • Don’t be formal. Be direct. Guests don’t have time for formalities.
  • Writing is a hard job. If you can’t manage to write something good, don’t. The system will show “I have visited this accommodation” which is better than a bad text.
If you are an Owner and reading this, I hope it helps you understand why we’re opening all the drawers and checking under the bed.
Please forgive us, we’re trying to give the Guests what they deserve: the truth.



2 thoughts on “The Verified text dilemma”

    1. they are planned as said in the article: “P.S.: We don’t have them yet but planned them for this year.”
      Do you mean something specific by “connected”?

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