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The importance of professional photography for your short-term rentals

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Travel is about more than the destination — it’s about the experience

During the global pandemic, we all realized the viability of remote work. Many industries came to understand that they didn’t need their workforce to commute to a physical building every day because their employees were not only as productive, but sometimes even more productive working from home. In fact, in September of 2022, Airbnb changed their policy to allow employees to “live and work anywhere.”

This change in expectations has not only resulted in more people traveling and renting short-term properties, but potential rental owners saw the opportunity to get into this booming business — and they haven’t hesitated to jump in on the action. This means people have more lodging options than ever for their travels — whether that entails a vacation, a business trip, or simply needing an affordable place to stay for a night.

Here’s the bottom line: Airbnb, VRBO, and other short-term rental companies are seeing a lot of competition, but there is a way to get a step up.

Professional photography is the fastest way to stand out from the herd and boost your number of bookings. The internet allows people to get quick insight into everything they’re looking to spend money on, and short-term rentals are no different. Photos are the first thing future guests are going to see and a lot hinges on this first impression. Hiring a professional photographer will show potential renters your space in the best possible light — quite literally!

Of course, photos aren’t the only thing people are looking at — price, amenities, and location all play factors in their ultimate decision, but a picture allows your future guests to place themselves in your property. This is really what it comes down to: do your photos showcase the emotional journey your customers see themselves on?

Professional photographers take years of experience and skill to shoot your space in a way that elicits an emotional response, ultimately turning someone’s travel search into a solid booking for you. Rentals, unlike a permanent home, offer a wholly unique experience. Your guests are not meant to leave a piece of themselves behind, but rather, they gain something from their trip. That’s why every detail matters so much — you’re catering to their experience.

Before your photographer arrives, follow these simple steps to prepare for the shoot:

Minimize and clean

  • Declutter, declutter, declutter. Sure, you want your listing to have personality, but you don’t want it to be crowded and disheveled, let alone have dirty dishes or laundry out in the open. Less is definitely more when it comes to these photos.

Stage and decorate

  • The fastest way to breathe that life into your property is to use decorations. Don’t go overboard and make it look like your local sports bar, but a decorative vase here and a chic painting there will go a long way. These details provide a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Map out your selling points

  • Is your property on the beach with easy access to the water? Does it have a fireplace that renters love to use on a chilly winter night? What about the bathroom — is there a jet tub? Whatever your main selling point is, make sure you capture it in your photos. Pro tip: take the first two steps here and work them around your centerpiece to make it pop.

Once your space is prepped and ready to go, an experienced photographer can make it shine even more. They’ll take lots of photos that you can then pare down, but a good rule of thumb is to include more than you think you need.

Other benefits of hiring a professional include their top-of-the-line equipment and photo editing tools. Not only will you get crisp, well-lit photos, but they’ll also polish them afterward to make your property look its absolute best. Then, you’ll be saving time and money because a professional photographer can deliver great looking pictures in a fraction of the time it would take you to attempt to capture your own images.

Adding to all this, don’t forget to get exterior photos of your property. Guests who are traveling from out of town aren’t coming to spend a nice weekend inside your rental property. They want to experience all your city has to offer, so including photos of the outdoor space, or even some nearby attractions will help sway potential guests your way.

And because Red Hog Media is local to those areas, they can help suggest good attractions to include in your set of photos to make an even larger impact with potential renters. From start to finish, they have the experience to walk you through each step in this process and turn your gorgeous space into multiple bookings.

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