Vacation rental photography can double your bookings – truth.

But not everyone will make this one change. Bad for them, good for you. If you make this single change yourself, that is.


This single tweak is the one thing that many vacation rental property owners and managers will leave as the very last task to do for their vacation rental property. They will rush through it. They will attempt a DIY without the skill. They will Pinterest fail it.

Your entire business foundation rests heavily on this cornerstone, and yet you most likely are not giving it a smidgen of the attention it deserves.

This single piece in your business is the equivalent to having your property’s lights working, the toilets flushing, and the beds freshly made.

What does it matter, though, if the fairy lights are twinkling above the back deck, the hot water is bubbling in the hot tub, the cozy fireplace is crackling in the great room, or the luxurious bed linens are turned down and waiting for guests in the bedrooms, if a traveler does not even look at your property?

Increase your income with great photos


Focus your attention on the photos of your property and the experience those images tell travelers, and your bookings will multiply. One of my first clients invested $500 in professional photos of his standard four-bedroom property, and the following year his bookings had increased by $20k. I don’t know about you, but I will invest every way I possibly can with a return on investment like that.

Your property images are the doorway that a traveler walks through to become your guest. Create your doorway to be inviting and alluring, beckoning to the weary souls searching for an escape from their daily life.

Because travelers see and process images much faster than words, your images have the power to immediately draw a traveler in or to immediately push them to the next property on the list.

Emotion sells, but facts justify


Emotion sells. If your photos do not elicit emotion and invite a traveler to the experience of your property, then try again.

Now note that not every single one of your photos will be emotional. In fact, most of your images will be factual, and your set of images will work together to sell the experience of your property to the traveler.

You will need a “hero” shot, the image that makes the traveler say, “I want to be there right now”.

You will need some emotional shots, images that convey feelings. These would be images that speak about a delicious night’s sleep, a dreamy evening by the fireplace, or an exhilarating swim in the pool.

And you will need the factual photos. Emotion sells, and facts justify.

The factual photos will show the TVs in the rooms, the sizes and locations of the beds, the appliances in the kitchen, the fence around the swimming pool, and the amount of space for parking.

Here are three ways to renew your focus on one of the most important pieces of your marketing:

1. Hire a professional photographer

Seek out a photographer who ideally has experience shooting interiors, architecture, and marketing. The photographer must understand that you are not marketing a property, but an experience.

This will be an investment that will have an excellent return. Even if you are already fully booked, professional photos will also allow you to raise your rates. Travelers will see that you have invested in your property and will be willing to pay more because your investment shows you care about your guests.

2. Hire an amateur photographer

You may not be ready to invest in a professional photographer, but do not let that stop you from improving your images sooner rather than later. An amateur will most likely still be learning the compositions for a vacation rental and how to communicate effectively with you, so extend the necessary grace as you explain your vision and what you need in your images.

3. Learn the skills yourself

There will be a time for you to hire someone else, but that time may not be today. That does not stop you from bettering your property images right now, though. There are multiple resources available to learn how to use a camera, how to shoot a vacation rental property, and how to post process your images. And all three of those steps are important to the success of your property images.

As a vacation rental industry leader, I write books, give online video courses and in-person workshops specifically focused on vacation rental property photography. For free photography resources and more information, visit my website.

About the Author

Vacation Rental Photography expert Tyann MarcinkAs well as being considered the industry leader in vacation rental photography, Tyann Marcink also has the advantage of the property owner’s viewpoint, as she has two properties in Branson, Missouri and has hosted over 5,000 guests since 2007 with well over 200 online reviews. Follow her adventures, photography tips, and vacation rental insights at

What do you think about this article?

Vacation Rental Photography: Double Your Bookings with a Single Tweak
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  1. John Varnedore Reply

    As a vacation rental owner and a professional photographer I know the huge impact high quality photos and virtual tours can make. You will see a difference with professional type photos whether you hire someone or do it yourself. This can have one of the greatest impact on your listing. However, do not over process in photoshop and be sure it reflects what the property actually looks like.

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