Vacation rental travelers are extremely visual. After all, they select a holiday home based on your listing. High-quality photos are simply the way to their heart and therefore is a property’s most valuable marketing asset. Great photos capture details that make your rental property stand out.
Here’s the brutal truth — you don’t have the only great property in your market. Hence, exceptional photography is your best option for differentiating your property, from your competition and luckily for you, the least expensive option too.
Often, the difference between a “regular photo” and an “exceptional photo” is fairly subtle to the average person, and most people wouldn’t be able to explain why they think one picture is better than the other.
But they can feel the difference.
A picture that creates the feeling “wow! I want to be there!” is what keeps people engaged as they swipe.
They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”. This is particularly true when it comes to real estate and vacation rental properties. The pictures you use in your vacation rental listing is pretty much the very first impression you create on any potential guest. In fact, you could write twice as many words describing your home in great detail, but travelers (especially millennials) are unlikely to take your word for it, if there aren’t great photos to back your claims. The images you use depict what guests can expect for the money they will be paying.
Regardless of your property being an apartment, a room, a house, or any other type of accommodation, if you want to perform well on Airbnb.com or any other vacation rental platform, be very intentional about the pictures you choose to feature. For instance, if you have a Miami property with a pool, show the pool in your primary photo. If you have a spacious living area and usually host large groups of people, you’ll want that to be your primary photo.
Every month, millions of potential clients and guests browse accommodations and book vacation rentals and yours is only one among the many. Quality real estate photos will drastically help booking conversion rates, obviously creating a HUGE boost in revenue potential. It can also help increase the average daily rate (ADR) without affecting the booking conversion rate.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the truth is that listing photos is at the top of the sales funnel of a vacation rental business. If not enough potential clients or guests click on your primary photo, it’s nearly impossible to create enough sales at the other end.
The most important thing in Real Estate Photography for Vacation Rental Business is the quality of the photos you present. Recently, Airbnb claimed that photo listings with professional-level photographs earn 40% more sales than those without. The study identified 12 separate parameters of Airbnb listing photos that could be optimized, including brightness, composition, and image clarity. When each parameter was assessed in terms of how many extra nights of a booking might be gained from optimization, the dramatic results showed that 72% of the half-million photos analyzed were characterized as “low-quality”. More importantly, that if all 12 parameters were optimized, a rental could potentially book an extra 60+ nights per year!
As a host using this vacation rental platform, you will find plenty of help on Airbnb Photography Service on how to work this. But let’s dive right into how this article will help you to capture quality real estate photos to promote your vacation rental.
The key to doing anything right is being prepared.
Do not rush! Start by learning every nuance of the house, paying attention to every detail.
Walk around the house and yard, and make a few shots. Take 2-3 pictures of each room. Do not forget to take 1-3 photos of the backyard and 1-2 photos of the facade of the house.
Then examine these shots very attentively to identify features that should be considered when taking professional photos. This will help you identify details that seem imperceptible at first glance but have great importance. This will also give you time to correct any imperfections.
Before taking any pictures, it is essential to do a deep clean in your property, including all surfaces, floors, kitchen appliances, replacing towels and bedsheets, etc. Remove any fallen leaves or branches from outdoor areas, trim bushes, and mow the lawn. Don’t forget to clean any exterior furniture too.
Find more detailed instructions on how to clean your vacation rental property on vacation rental cleaning tips and tricks.
Choosing the right time is very important for real estate photography, as good weather greatly impacts the interior of your property as the sun will highlight the furniture and make the rooms naturally brighter. One important trick is that the sun should be behind the house to get really good lighting in this position.
If your rental is in a location where there’s snow, such as a cabin, use this to your advantage! Wait for snow to pile up outside and go go go! It’s a perfect way to sell that cozy and snowy experience visitors so long for.
Take advantage of lighting to make your photos look not only professional but also bright. Make sure the lighting is even and consistent throughout the rooms. For best results, take photos during daytime with as much natural light as possible. It will make your photos as realistic as possible, and the clients will see how the house actually looks.
Turning the lights on and off, you can achieve different effects. It all depends on your goals. For example, the additional light will give some warmth and coziness to your pictures. However, you should remember that such photos require light temperature correction during further photo editing.
If you’ve included fairy lights in one of your rooms, wait till it gets darker, turn off all the lights and take the photo with just the fairy lights on. It will make your rental look charming and magical.
Bonus Tip: Be careful to avoid reflections from windows and mirrors, and make sure you don’t get included in the photo yourself! Avoid using a flash, which will interfere with natural lighting.
It’s a definite advantage to use a good quality camera with high definition when taking photos of your property, which will prevent photos from being pixelated when listing on your vacation rental website or other OTAs.
You can use a tripod to avoid blurry photos and test out the different settings on your camera for the ultimate results.
High-resolution cameras have specific settings that enable you to shoot indoors, as with shutter speed and aperture, you can control the lighting straight away. What’s more, these cameras have optical zoom lenses that are super easy to use.
Guests will want to know exactly where they will be staying, so you need to show your visitors that your home is as good as you say it is. By taking multiple photos of the same room at different angles, you can showcase everything in your rental.
Turn it into a full-blown photoshoot. You can then look back and select the best photos to portray your business. This way, you’ll save time in retaking them.
If your vacation rental includes a swimming pool, you can even take photos of the pool underwater with a GoPro.
Boast your property all year round according to the most popular and important holidays. For Christmas, take photos of your festive décor – preferably showing sofas with heaps of blankets and a small gift such as a cocoa basket. Don’t forget to include the Christmas tree and snow if you have any!
This will bring you more bookings in the long run, as guests searching early in the spring will see a photo of Christmas in your vacation rental. They will remember it and come back to book it closer to the time. Use the same technique for Valentine’s Day, 4th July, and Thanksgiving accordingly.
You could also take photos according to the seasons. For example, during the fall or winter, think of outdoor images that show fall leaves or a light dusting of snow. In the interior, highlight a cozy log fire, spice-scented candles, and a selection of board games and books. For summer, focus on the backyard with its plants, flowers, trees. Include the barbecue, outdoor table, chairs, sofas, and any other outdoor amenities that you may offer.
Make sure your photos feature and highlight amenities that you provide at your vacation rental. Make this a great opportunity to display what you have from a pool to a water kettle to absolutely anything that you think will help your guests to enjoy their holiday.
Do not include images of anything that you don't offer as this will be misleading.
Emotion sells. If your photos do not elicit emotion and invite a guest to the experience of your property, then try again.
You will need a “hero” shot- an image that makes the guest say, “I want to be there right now”. These are the photographs that transmit a peaceful night’s sleep, a dreamy evening by the fireplace, or an exhilarating swim in the pool.
Once you’ve got your photos, it’s time to get editing. The best way to start is to adjust the brightness according to the lighting, tone down the shadows, and increase the highlights slightly. Play around and see what works for you. You can always just go with auto-enhance which does all the work for you.
Remember to stay consistent with the editing, meaning you shouldn’t edit a photo completely differently from another. The same goes for the saturation – don’t go overboard! It may very well result in the photos looking unnatural and fake.
It’s advised to avoid putting on filters too, as you need to portray the property as naturally as possible. It may actually backfire and look like you’re trying to hide something!
Have the maximum amount of pictures possible on your vacation rental website and other listing sites and ensure that the images are professional and display all amenities included in the home. The more, the better! Go a step further and upload them to your vacation rental instagram for even better results.
Scroll through your current photo gallery every now and then and ask yourself if your vacation rental photos are still an accurate representation of your property? If you’ve added any upgrades, amenities, or even changed the color scheme of one of your key rooms, it’s time to add the photos to match. Don’t forget to update your photos and listing descriptions regularly to reflect these benefits to potential renters.
To sum up, it’s no secret that vacation rental photography can double your bookings if done correctly. Great photos go beyond that and help guests picture themselves living out the experience.So don’t forget to take advantage of this opportunity.