If you want to get the most out of your property, using a professional photographer is the best choice. However, you can take good photos by taking into account the following guidelines and tips.
Set your prices
Carry out market research to establish a competitive price within your area, from similar properties.
Set a price per night based on what you think is fair or based just on what you want to earn monthly.
Hire a professional photographer to highlight the qualities of your property and make your listing much more attractive, with at least 25 pictures.
Take 10 photos with your mobile, without paying attention to the light and the staging of the photograph, and neglecting the details.
Keep your availability calendar up to date entering each reservation and blocking the desired dates in real time. If possible you should use iCal to automatically synchronsize your calendar.
Cancel new reservations because another guest already booked those dates.
Write descriptive titles that include the main characteristics of your property, capacity and location.
Use generic titles which don’t stand out against other properties. Fill the description up with meaningless adjectives.
Request reviews of your property after each stay: together with the photos, reviews are the best way to attract guests when booking a vacation property.
Do not worry about what your guests think, believing that there will always be more waiting to book your property.
List property on as many vacation rental websites as possible to maximise your distribution and increase exposure.
List your property on B.com or on Airbnb only.
Do your photos transmit the idea of “vacation rental” when you look at them?
The photos that do not convey this concept, do not convert even closely to those that do. If your property does not look like a rental property in the pictures, people will not be so willing to rent it.
Do the following mental exercise: go through all of your photographs one by one and ask yourself if the photo you are looking at is a vacation rental property or a property for sale. The photos that look like rentals seem to have a higher conversion rate than those that have photos that look like properties for sale. This is due to an unconscious factor in which we see the photo and picture ourselves within that context, enjoying that scene (belongs to the “Dream stage” of booking a holiday, according to Google).
The users do not want to see photos of your property, but instead photos in which they can imagine themselves enjoying their holidays.
Make your potential guests yearn to be on your property. Find out what those who are looking for properties like yours, dream about. It could be a particular product or anything you can add into the photograph scene that makes users imagine themselves enjoying the property. It could be a glass of juice on a table, fruit, suntan lotion, a pair of skis or a ball in the pool.
Here are some tips to get more clicks on the photos of your rentals.
1. Photos with bright and clear colours stand out over photos with opaque and dark colours: This is related to how the brain processes visual information and subliminally highlights those elements that are brighter than the rest.
2. The skies must always be blue in the photos: No one wants to imagine enjoying their holiday home on a dull, cloudy day.
3. The water in the pools must be in motion: This makes the image look more alive, the pool is more tempting and again the person who is viewing the picture can imagine themselves in the scene, enjoying the water. So before taking the picture of the pool shake your hand in the water and give that “electrifying” effect.
4. When you take photos of the property, make sure that all the windows and doors are open: They will transmit a welcome message, and will bring freshness and life to the house. Again it is easier to imagine inside the house or entering it with all the doors and windows open than to do with all of them closed.
5. Use flowers in your outdoor images: Flowers as a foreground in an outdoor image guide the view towards the main image.
6. Put suntan lotion on your photos as part of the scene: Tanning lotions shout “Holidays”, and if the bottles are orange in color, the effect on the minds of viewers is even better.
7. Place alcoholic beverages on the tables: Bottles of wine, gin, half full glasses of alcoholic beverages invite you to relax and enjoy. You do not need to use real alcohol in the glasses or the most expensive wine. You can always fill the glasses with water (gin), and bring one bottle of cheap wine to fill the glasses and another bottle of expensive wine to place on the table.
8. Cut flowers and use them in vases or on beds and / or pillows: this gives freshness to the scene and concentrates the view with this symbol that communicates “happiness”.
9. Orange juice: The orange juice, by its tone and its meaning of freshness, catches the eye and gives life to the photographs. They can be used in various scenes (dining room, breakfast, next to the swimming pool, etc).
10. Painting: Painting a coloured wall in a room is inexpensive and has a high impact on getting more clicks. It gives warmth and creates atmosphere in the scene.
11. Fruits: Fruits just like the orange juice, give a lot of colour to the scene and attract the eye subliminally to the image. Use apples, grapes, oranges, pineapples, any fruit will do and especially watermelon attracts the eye with great results.
12. Use bright colour elements in the scenes of your photographs: One or two brightly coloured towels can attract the view to the image and generate more clicks on it.
13. Children’s inflatables: Usually the guests leave them in the rental houses so you should not even have to invest in them. They attract the view and create a blissful point in the photographs along with swimming pools.
14. Hammocks: The hammocks are an element that reflect a high level of happiness and longing for relaxation screaming “holidays”.
15. Terraces and outdoor meals: This is one of the ideal situations in which people want to see themselves in their holiday home, breakfast in the sun, snacks at sunset.
16. Parasols: There are plenty of bright colours and their great association to holidays. These are perfect to include in the scene, just make sure they are open.
Make all the tables in your photographs represent a scene, use products to recreate that holiday longing atmosphere in each one of them. The products give colour, shape and meaning to the photographs. And best of all is that the photos that follow these tips generate more clicks and more bookings!
Blink. The power of thinking without thinking – 2006 – Malcolm Gladwell
Subliminal Persuasion: Influence & Marketing Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know – 2008 Dave Lakhani.
A special thanks to Alan Egan for his talk on photography, and who originally collected this information for his presentation at the VRMA European Conference in March 2017.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
The high quality photos we show to our clients play an important role and it is proven that having high quality photos is the main component that directly influences the conversion rate.
Low quality images compared to a limited image gallery transmits lack of professionalism. If a potential client searches for a property and the client is asked to choose between one of the following two photos – which one do you think they would choose?
We would agree that the second image reflects the property better than the first image. If you were looking for accommodation, how would you like the pictures to be?
The images are the first thing that a client sees and based on that they can choose to know more about the property or completely discard it. You might have an excellent property, but if the image quality and quantity are not high, this could affect your conversion rate.
Below is an infographic of why visual content is so important. If you want to see the complete infographic you can do so here
The main objective of a Quality program is to improve the quality of a web content and sales channels online. It is an ambitious and fundamental objective for the sales success.
Our content is our main asset because it is our only way to attract customers to our properties. Speaking of the traditional trade “location” is one of the keys to success. The location is so important that it determines the prices of the rent and sales as well as influence the planning of our cities. If we look at the online model, it doesn’t matter where the business is located – the product can be sold anywhere in the world.
Everywhere in the world? That sounds great! However, it also means that you have competitors anywhere in the world. In every opportunity there is also a risk. As the vacation rental business is a global business, the competition is also global both relating to destination as well as the number of competitors. Moreover, in recent years various new models based on rental of accommodation have appeared.
The quality of the content is one of the key elements in a business. If we dig a little deeper one has to wonder why customers choose some properties over other properties. To answer this it is necessary to analyze the behaviour of our customers. So we’ve studied the process and followed a potential customer from connecting to our website until he decides to make a reservation. So we have come to the conclusion that the customer chooses a property if they have three key features (not the property but what you see on our website):
The introduction to the property is the images. The number of the images, the quality and let’s say your way artistic sense in how you present the property are all fundamental when the customer has to decide between one property or another. Customers imagine their holidays looking at pictures of our website. It is very difficult to determine whether a property is attractive or not as both personal preferences and more cultural issues are subjective, but there some basic rules to adhere to; look for a good lighting and angle. Unfortunately it is very difficult to assign a value to the artistic composition of a photo automatically. So we have given a score of 80% in relation to the number of pictures and their size in our quality system. If we make a correlation between the number of bookings and the number of images we see that the top 10 properties with most bookings all have more than 20 images.
Once we have caught the customer’s attention with the image, we now have to convince with words. This is the reason why it is important to review the descriptions of the properties. The client must understand what they can expect when spending their holiday in the property. It is not enough to make a list of the amenities of the property. We must seize the descriptions of the properties to sell their strengths and experiences that can be lived in the area. We all want to enjoy holidays. As it happens with the images, evaluating the quality of a description based on your writing style or your persuasion skills is practically impossible. But we can determine that the descriptions have a minimum of words. Descriptions with more than 200 words are our goal. Moreover, having descriptions in the native language of the clients have shown to be more efficient.
We have reached the point where the customer is convinced that he or she wants to spend their holiday in a given property, but begins to wonder if everything he or she has seen and read so far is as good as it looks. If the property has good reviews the possibility of new bookings increases exponentially. The 5 properties that was booked more in 2015 had more than one good review on our website. It is very important that the properties have good references from other guests.
There are many examples where a good property is poorly described in the content (few photos, fast and badly written descriptions leading to lack of bookings and reviews). The goal we have to have in mind when we register a property is to sell an experience. To do this we must pay attention to images, descriptions and reviews.
There are also other factors such as price, availability and the reliability of the information but they are all indirect factors and we will discuss this in a future post.
Three easy tricks to improve the Quality Score of your Holiday House:
1. Add 1 or 2 pictures to the properties that are in the limit.
If you have a property with 14 pictures you can increase its quality score significantly by adding one or two pictures more. Also If you have a property with 19 pictures, you could achieve a perfect score by adding one or two pictures more.
2. Add some sentences to your description if under 200 words.
If you have a property with a description between 189-199, you can increase the quality score of the description by adding one or two sentences.
3. Remove pictures with low resolution
For example if you have 15 pictures on a property listing, but 3 of the pictures have extremely low resolution, they will drag the quality score of the property down. Try to remove these pictures and preferably add new ones with higher resolution.