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According to research conducted by Princeton psychologists, you only have one-tenth of a second to make a great first impression.

The same rule applies when it comes to travelers looking at your website or property listing.

If the photos of your vacation rental don’t successfully capture their attention in that fraction of a second, they will move on.

At Evolve, we work with homeowners to build fully optimized listings for booking sites like VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, and TripAdvisor. We’ve partnered with thousands of homeowners who have properties of all sizes across North America, and we know first-hand how great of an impact photos can have on the success of a vacation rental.

In fact, professional photographs can help you double your bookings.

The pictures of your property can – and will – make or break your listing. Read on to find out why.

Good vacation rental photos build traveler trust

The old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words is true. In fact, you could even write twice that many words describing your home in great detail, but travelers are unlikely to take your word for it if there aren’t photos to back your claims.

Photos breed confidence. They show travelers that your home is as good as you say it is.

What that cliché fails to capture is that there’s a powerful difference between a picture that’s just OK and one that’s great. OK photos prove your vacation rental exists. Great photos go beyond that and help guests picture themselves in your property.

Professional pictures reveal whether your home is warm and inviting, or cool and modern. They establish that your home is actually spacious and has a lot of natural light. They capture the beach views you can see through the dining room windows, which you mention in your property description.

At Evolve, we call this, as advertised”.

An “as advertised” home lives up to the claims the homeowner makes about the size, space, furnishings, amenities, and location. There’s no better way to show that a property has everything you say it does than with high-quality photographs.

High-quality photos make your vacation rental look even better

If you’re looking to book either the property on the right or the property on the left, which one would get your business?

The photo on the left was taken with professional camera equipment by a photographer. The one on the right was snapped by the homeowners. There’s nothing wrong with the photo on the right, per se. But it’s not as crisp, it’s not as warm, and it makes the living room look outdated.

Or consider the photos below. The top and bottom images were captured with the same camera equipment, using roughly the same angle. As you can see, the one on the bottom undoubtedly makes the room look more attractive.

What’s the main difference between the two? The lighting.

While the first photo fails to capture the texture of the light fixtures, the second clearly shows that – as well as the high-end details in the custom cabinetry and the views out of the living room windows. It makes the room richer and more inviting.

The second picture was taken by someone with experience with real estate or architectural photography who knows how to control glare and adjust lighting to avoid dark shadows. It’s this attention to detail that gives the pictures of your property an ultra-polished look.

Put simply: great photos capture the details that make your rental property stand out. They show the special touches that will make guests want to book your property over another in your area. They give guests a clear idea of not just the look, but the feel, of your rental.

Great photos prove you’re a professional

High-quality photographs of your rental property don’t only create a more enticing image of your home, they say something about you as the property owner. They say that you’re invested in the rental and that you’re dedicated to creating an amazing experience for your guests – starting with the very first impression they have of your property.

When guests see immaculate photos of your home, they will understand a few things immediately:

  • You take pristine care of your vacation home
  • You have welcoming spaces and nice furniture
  • Your home is spotless and ready for guests

Not to mention that the nicer your property looks, the higher you set the bar for good guest behavior. When guests can see that you keep your vacation rental well-organized and clean, they have a better idea of how they’re expected to leave it at the end of their stay.

Consider the reverse: if your photographs are grainy or dark, guests may think your home is not cared for as well. They may not have as clear of a picture (pun intended) of how the property will look when they arrive, or how it should look when they check out.

Your photos speak volumes about how you handle your vacation rental business and how you expect your guests to treat it in return.

Bottom line: Better pictures give you a competitive advantage

High-quality photos are exactly what you need to differentiate your vacation rental from competitors and secure more bookings. They make the kind of first impression that stops travelers in their tracks and convince them to book right then and there – without considering any other properties in your area.

That’s why at Evolve, we schedule a free photoshoot for every homeowner we work with. Having great photos is truly a game changer in your ability to attract guests, generate bookings and make your vacation rental profitable.


About the Author:

Lauren Kaye is the Content Marketing Manager at Evolve Vacation Rental Network, a vacation rental management service. Evolve is transforming vacation rental management by offering lower fees, more flexibility, and better results. For even more tips on how to manage, market, and maintain your rental property, visit their blog.

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Why Good Vacation Rental Photos Make or Break Booking Opportunities
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