May 26, 2021

Turning Vacation Rental Lookers into Bookers

Photography Best Practices That Turn Lookers into Bookers

Capturing a potential guest’s attention is becoming more and more challenging as the vacation rental industry grows. And in the era of the social media scroll, property managers are looking for more effective ways to grab a user’s attention and get them to book. 

High-quality vacation rental photography is quickly becoming one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd. But even the scale of vacation rental photography is changing. Once upon a time, professional photography was reserved for premium properties. Virtual tours were used sparingly. But in today’s market, having great vacation rental property photos in addition to virtual tours is quickly becoming a necessity.

Even when real-world challenges such as weather, property availability, and cost get in the way, getting professional property photos done is well worth the effort. And there’s data to back this claim up. High-quality, professional vacation rental photography can double conversions and increase revenue up to 67 percent.* 

Here are a few other reasons professional photography can increase interest in your properties—and how to keep your listings looking their best all year long. 

Good Photos Mean Great Brand Presence

Property managers like you have a lot on their plates (especially these days), so it’s easy to forget that every single online property listing is a reflection of the overall vacation rental brand. Suppose your vacation rental company has a theme or leans on a particular value proposition, such as a unique amenity on-site or the surrounding landscape. In that case, photography can be the best way to showcase it.  Using photos to tell that story consistently across all your properties shows an overall investment in the company. Because no matter where or when that future guest is looking, they will see a consistent brand that is appealing and attractive.

In addition, every quality photo shows how well your company takes care of its properties and its guests, from the grandest beach house to the quaintest condo. A property with low prices and low-quality photos is not very enticing to potential guests. 

Vacation rental photography can inform a homeowner’s experience, as well. If you reserve the best photos for premiere properties and use sub-par photography for the rest, it sends a message to homeowners that you may not care about their property, and they might take their business elsewhere.

Virtual Tours Save Guests (and Your Staff) Time 

If a photo is worth a thousand words, then what about a virtual tour? As 3D tours have become more sophisticated and easier to use, they’ve become a popular tool to give guests a taste of what their vacation could be. Adding virtual tours to your vacation rental property photography can be an extra attention-grabber on your site. By one estimate, guests spend an average of 3 to 10 minutes* longer looking at the property listing with a 3D tour than with still shots alone. A high-quality virtual tour that includes sweeping, 360-degree views from the balcony might be what a guest needs to seal the deal. 

Virtual tours also give guests a chance to walk through a property themselves to make strategic decisions about which property fits their needs. Providing guests with this inside look at the property means fewer calls about floor plan and layout to your reservation staff, fewer complaints, and contributes to more five-star reviews because a guest got what they wanted.

Vacation Rental Property Photography Best Practices

Now that you’ve committed to taking high-quality photos for all of your properties, here are a few things to keep in mind. 

  1. Keep Your Property Photos Up to Date

Property photos should be updated every three to five years to account for adjustments—big and small—to the property. 

  1. Invest in a Virtual Tour Platform

Virtual tour technology is constantly changing, and having to update an entire tour to account for a single change is counterproductive. Find a platform that is flexible and allows you to refresh specific rooms when necessary. 

  1. Take More Than You Think You Need 

OTA limitations have changed over the past few years, allowing you to show a more extensive portfolio of vacation rental photography for each property. It’s best to have more than 25 photos, even if the property is on the small side. Consider adding “lifestyle” shots inside the property and amenities or photos of local attractions that are a key driver for your region.  

  1. Show Every Season

More guests are booking vacation rental properties for off-season visits or last minute, which gives you the perfect opportunity to showcase your inventory for each season. Capture the front exterior of the property in the summertime with full-leaf trees and blooming gardens alongside a shot of the property covered in a fluffy layer of snow. It might even inspire a guest to come back again during peak season. 

Investing in high-quality vacation rental photography can have an important impact on brand awareness, guest satisfaction, homeowner retention, and staff resourcing. Taking good visuals for your property page can show your guests just what kind of a vacation they’ll have, making it a little more special and relaxing—for them and for you. 

This post was written by Rebecca Lombardo, friend of Rented and VP Sales and Marketing at Truplace. Rebecca and her team help property managers maximize the value of propery photography and virtual tours. Visit their website to learn more!

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