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Improve Your Pictures on AirBNB and VRBO To Boost Bookings
January 16, 2018
Do you want to boost your bookings for your Orlando vacation rental? The pictures you provide on listing sites like VRBO, AirBNB, and Homeaway are just as important as what you say in your ad. The headline and text of your listing may be the most important factors for luring potential renters to your ad BUT it's the pictures you provide that actually make the final sell! Here are some tips on how to improve your pictures on listing sites like VRBO, AirBNB, and Homeaway.
Clean Your Rental Until It's Spotless and Shiny
This may be an obvious tip to some owners of Orlando vacation rentals. However, if you look through hundreds of listings, you see it is not obvious to all. Further, even those who do make a special to clean their place before they take pictures can still improve their pictures with a few extra efforts.
First, you want to declutter in addition to actual cleaning. Many vacationers are hoping to escape the trappings of their own cluttered homes! Additionally, surveys have shown that clutter is one of the biggest turnoffs to romance and foreplay, so if your place is cluttered, it may not seem like a good place for a romantic getaway.
Second, for the best most inviting pictures possible, everything should quite literally SPARKLE! To achieve this effect, mix one part regular household white vinegar with one part water. Just before you take pictures of your Orlando vacation rental, Wipe down all mirrors and hard surfaces with a clean paper towel doused with this mixture. Then with another clean paper towel, rub these surfaces until there are no streaks and they quite literally sparkle.
Smart Staging Can Boost Bookings
The purpose of staging is to make your Orlando vacation rental seem inviting. You can think of it as setting the stage on the set of a play, which is where the word originates.
Once you have your place all cleaned up and shiny, add some finishing touches to help your potential renters imagine themselves staying in your place. For example, you could place a glass of wine and a fleece throw artistically draped over the arm of the couch by the fireplace.
In the kitchen, you could place a butcher block with some nice cheese and grapes on a platter. On the patio, you may want to place a hot steaming cup of coffee and a newspaper. If you can entice some birds to visit the bird feeder, all the better! Basically, you want a potential renter to imagine what it would be like to have their first cup of coffee on your patio.
Don't Put Yourself or Other People In the Picture
Seeing people in your photos are very distracting to would be renters. It makes it harder for them to imagine themselves and their family enjoying your Orlando vacation rental. So, it's best to avoid this completely. The same goes for pets.
Sometimes people take pictures where they show up in the mirror. This is perhaps the most distracting type of "people shot" because it's unintentional and it activates the natural "voyeuristic" curiosity in those looking at the pictures. Instead of imagining what it would be like to stay in your place, they may instead be trying to figure out who that shadowy person in the mirror is! You may have to change the angle of the shot or put your camera on a tripod to eliminate this problem.
Natural Lighting Versus Artificial Lighting
First and foremost, never put dark pictures on listing sites like VRBO, AirBNB, and Homeaway! It's a turn off! If your pictures are dark, and it's hard to see things, they will not be inviting! You want to give a potential renter a pleasant tour through the pictures, the next best thing to actually physically walking through.
The best lighting by far is natural lighting. No amount of artificial lighting will set your place off better than natural sunlight streaming in through the windows. So, even if it's a pain, and even if you need to retake your pictures several times, you'll want to get the best pictures of each room in the best natural lighting.
For some rooms, the best natural lighting may occur in the early morning. For other rooms, it may occur in the mid afternoon. So, to get the best set of pictures under natural lighting, you may not be able to take them all in one shooting. You may also need to first scout the best times of day for each room. You may even need to wait for a partly overcast day to have the room flooded with bright natural light but no glare, i.e. to capture that perfect magical moment!
Should You Hire a Professional Photographer?
Even if you are on a tight budget, hiring a professional photographer to take professional pictures of your Orlando rental may in the long run be a big bang for your buck. You can think about it by asking yourself this question, "How many extra bookings would I need to pay for these professional pictures?"
If you decide to use a professional photographer, it's best to find one who has experience taking pictures for real estate ads, or at least experience taking pictures of businesses. Bottom line, you are not looking for a portrait photographer!
To save money, you could also call the local university and ask them to post an ad for a student photographer. Try to find someone who is in their last year of college and does have at least some experience. For a discounted rate, you may get some high quality photos of your Orlando vacation rental, and in exchange, your student photographer may get a great referral and professional photos to add to their portfolio. It's a win win!