The Importance of High Quality Photography in the Vacation Rental Industry

High Quality Photography

If a picture says a 1,000 words, surely your current marketing photographs say a lot about your vacation rental. Do they spark imagination and inspire click-throughs…or are they a little lacking in luster? Almost everything online demands photos these days, especially where purchases are concerned. Really, when was the last time you bought an item online without first seeing it? Exactly! Guests looking for vacation rentals feel the same and make the decision to book or not to book with your property photos in mind. How important is high quality photography in the vacation rental industry? Very.

Suppose you took the photos yourself on your phone without proper edits. Sure, your property may book. But how many more stays and how much more money could you acquire with high quality photography on your side? Quite a good bit actually. In fact, it’s the photos that really capture the attention of potential guests, so if they’re poor quality, it’s likely your occupancy is the same. The good news is there’s a simple solution — spruce up the place, snap professional photos, edit and display them honestly, and welcome new guests to your beautiful property.

Good Enough…Isn’t Good

Believe that photos showing what your property offers despite their level of quality is good enough to persuade potential guests to book? Think again. Snapping photos on your smartphone with filters and assumed good angles tends to produce subpar results. You need to be competitive in the ever-growing vacation rental market, and it starts with top notch photos.

People are looking for places to stay that will enhance their vacation experience. No matter how great your property amenities and description, mediocre photos present substandard stays that knock your property out of the running. In fact, you may be surprised by how many vacation rentals of lesser value than your property have higher occupancy simply because the owners invested in high quality photos that allow guests to easily visualize a beautiful vacation. Ultimately, poor quality photos are losing you opportunities to host guests…which means you’re missing out on potential profits.’ve decided to upgrade your vacation rental property’s marketing photos...GREAT! What’s the next step? You can “leave the driving to us” and allow our team to arrange all of the details, lighting, staging and editing; or you can potentially do it yourself!

You Can Hire Professionals

Show off your property properly with hired professionals that know how to capture the best shots to encourage click-throughs. Professional photography for vacation rentals is an investment that’s more than worth it, typically raking in much more than it costs within a short span of time. Indeed, you may even be able to raise your rates (reasonably) with so many new guests wishing to stay!

With high quality vacation rental photography, you can help guests envision their getaway, which is why hiring the right photographer is super important. Be sure they have experience with shooting vacation rentals as these photos reflect you as the owner, so you want to know they’ll turn out great.

Worried about making the right choice? Owners who partner with Cabins for YOU — a leader in vacation rental management — will automatically be set up with a brand new photoshoot by our skilled photographer with expert edits by our on-staff Design & Media Coordinator. Not to mention, we offer Matterport services that allow guests to virtually enter your property before booking!

What about flyover (aka drone) shots? These are awesome additions to your vacation rental portfolio. Yes, it may cost a little more. However, these images are eye-catching and will more than pay for themselves in impulsive reservations. We vote yes for sure!


You Can Do It Yourself

Listen, if you’ve had experience with photography and really believe you’re up to the challenge of shooting your own vacation rental, then more power to you! While it’s not our first recommendation, we’re happy to lend a few helpful pointers with our vacation rental photography tips to help you get it right the first time.

Make the Most of YOUR Vacation Rental Photoshoot
  • Schedule the shoot on a nice day, preferably sunny, as this can affect the mood of browsing guests. Rainy and cloudy photos can cause sad or dreary feelings, while bright and crisp photos can bring about happiness and warmth. Which do you think inspires people to book?
  • Does your property shine during certain seasons? Perhaps it’s surrounded by colorful hues in fall or snow capped peaks in winter. Definitely pop in a few shots from your vacation rental’s most appealing seasons.
  • Highlight key amenities, like a hot tub or private theater, without glazing over the simple things guests expect and appreciate, such as laundry units or a full kitchen.
  • Decorate for the seasons? Be sure to grab a few shots to showcase online. Guests love seeing Christmas decor and other holiday decorations because it makes the space feel more homelike. Not to mention, some guests will book a property because they decorate!
  • Staging is a must! Use what your property offers so guests will know what to expect. For example, set the dining table with the home’s dishes or set up a provided board game. Other props that guests will most likely bring, like a laptop, books, or food, are okay too.
  • Take calculated shots from the best angles (basically, keep the camera about waist high) so guests can fully immerse themselves in your rental before clicking book. Snapping photos from above your head, way down low, or with a twist are huge no-nos. Make sure to use the right camera setting to ensure the pictures are the right size and format for website and digital marketing use!
  • Approve the photos as you go — don’t just snap and hope! Check them, fix what you can like fluffing pillows or straightening a picture, and reshoot while you’re there in the moment. It will save you much time and more patience in the long run!

Be Honest

No matter who snaps or edits the photos, they need to present honestly to guests to build trust and foster repeat stays. One of the worst things when booking a property is arriving to realize it’s nothing like the photos… On the other hand, it’s amazing when you get exactly what you paid for and maybe a few happy surprises.

An easy comparison is online shopping. You see a bright blue sweatshirt, order it, and get more excited each day as it ships to you. When it finally arrives, you open the box to find the bright blue was actually a dull navy…and the sweatshirt isn’t as lush as it looked in the photo. Are you going to buy from the company again? We bet not. It’s the same for vacationers, if not more so. They scour the internet to find the perfect fit for their stay, and when they land on yours, it’s imperative they know exactly what they are getting. If one thing leads to negative reviews, it’s certainly misleading advertisement.

Now, what about the opposite scenario? The bright blue is even more beautiful in person, and the sweatshirt is pleasantly plush to the touch. Next time you’re in the market, you’ll probably go with the same company. People who book your property by way of honest photos that deliver what they’ve been looking forward to enjoying are sure to garner positive word of mouth, reviews, and repeat stays. Honesty really is the best policy, especially in the vacation rental market.

Is editing photos dishonest? That all depends. Are you adding a mountain view where there isn’t one or ambience with a lit fireplace and images on the TVs? Are you cropping out items completely or enhancing what’s best and leaving the rest? Guests are trying to imagine their stay, and it’s perfectly alright to help them along with proper edits. However, don’t get carried away and showcase a property that clearly isn’t yours…

Photoshoot Preparations

When prepping for your vacation rental’s photoshoot, it’s important to give yourself proper time to do so. Guests will be zooming in on the photos to really see what they’re getting, so leave nothing to chance. If you want these photos to last a good while, then taking the right steps is imperative.

  1. Deep clean your property and keep it tidy.
  2. Take this opportunity to reimagine and redecorate.
  3. Make the exterior shine with refinished decking, updated furniture, etc.
  4. Ensure the spaces are bright with all the lights on, curtains drawn, and blinds open or up.
  5. Stage to perfection by setting out usable items in the home and hiding things like remotes in drawers.

Note: Our Design and Media Coordinator can edit in or out what you can’t stage, like lighting the firepits or cleaning up water spots from a recent rain.

How Often Should YOU Reshoot?

Awesome, you now have high quality photos ready to advertise your property to the fullest! But…how long will they last? Reshooting your property really depends on changes and updates made to the home after the original shoot. However, with general wear, tear, and fading, we recommend scheduling a reshoot for your property at least every 3 years. Camera resolutions are always improving, and photo quality follows suit. Plus, if you’re updating your property accordingly, then your property should need new photos.

Whether you’re looking to increase occupancy or raise rates reasonably, high quality vacation rental photography is the way to go — and Cabins for YOU can help! Reach out to your personal owner representative today at 1.800.684.7865 or shoot us an inquiry online to get started.