How to Make Your Vacation Rental Look Better in Pictures

Lauren KayeLeave a Comment

How to use Instagram for vacation rental marketing

Have you set up an account for your property on Instagram yet? If you haven’t, don’t worry. There’s still time to catch up – and we think you’ll find that there’s a lot of marketing opportunity out there waiting there for you.

According to the latest stats, 800 million people use Instagram to share more than 95 million photos and videos daily. Travel pictures make up a significant portion of the images on Instagram and users share thousands – if not millions – of pictures of awe-inspiring views, remote destinations, and immaculate accommodations every day.

You may be inclined to shrug off Instagram as just another social media app, but the tourism industry is paying close attention. A National Geographic article revealed that the New Zealand Tourism Board invested in an Instagram marketing campaign that produced a 14 percent increase in tourism – the fastest growth the country had ever seen.

If you’re looking for new marketing strategies for your vacation rental, we highly recommend that you give social media a try! Sites like Instagram are a great way to get photos of your property in front of travelers, grab their attention, and make them want to stay in your home.

Starting an Instagram page for your vacation rental doesn’t have to be all that time consuming or challenging if you already have the right ingredients – cool furniture, a comfortable space, an eye for design. With the right styling, you can set your property up for social media success, and you don’t even have to do the heavy lifting! Guests will naturally take and share the photos of a home that’s been artfully decorated. And the pics offer social proof that your place is as awesome as you say it is.

The first step, of course, is to make sure your property looks amazing in pictures, and we’re here to share some secrets for making your vacation rental more Instagrammable.

1. Declutter

A great Instagram picture doesn’t necessarily have to consist of incredible views or works of art – it could be as simple as a clean, well-kept, and organized space.

Simply designed spaces get a lot of attention on social media these days, and you might find the appearance of your vacation rental is instantly improved when you stash your paperwork, knick-knacks, and mismatched family photo collection in a cabinet.

Decluttering is something we recommend to all of our homeowners, even if they’re not thinking about how to improve their home’s appearance. Guests usually prefer to stay in a place that feels neutral and tidy – not crowded with someone else’s personal items.

2. Brighten Things Up

Lighting plays a huge role in how well your property photographs. It makes your home look spacious, warm, and inviting. Natural light is best because it’s the most flattering way to illuminate a space (the white balance is better) and it creates an image that looks, well, natural.

But if your windows and property placement don’t let a lot of light in, we recommend adding lamps and recessed lighting to brighten up your home.

Outdoor lighting is also a huge hit with guests. A strand of globe lights strung across your patio or tucked along your roof eaves can make your home that much more enticing. It may take a little upfront investment, but guests will love your property and you’ll get great images of your space to use in your marketing.

4. Carve Out Cozy Spaces

Is there an area in your home that begs guests to put their feet up and relax with their laptop or book at the end of a long day? An overstuffed chair next to a window, a window seat at the top of a staircase, a comfortable couch with fluffy blankets and throw pillows in a study. These are some great examples of spaces that people love to take pictures of and share.

If you already have a space like this – great! If you don’t, consider ways that you could rearrange your furniture to create a cozy nook where guests can retreat, relax, and document their stay.

5. Turn Your Bathroom Into a Relaxing Spa

Bathrooms are the perfect spot to up the Instagram ante with some spa-inspired decor! If you invest in some upgrades and amenities, your bathroom might even become the most popular room in your house. People love sharing pictures of impressive bathrooms with indulgent extras like plush terry-cloth robes, clawfoot tubs, and custom tile work.

We suggest creating a spa-like bathroom experience to step up your property’s visual appeal online.

Assuming that a bathroom remodel is out of the budget, you can start with easy upgrades such as oversized white towels, complimentary slippers, pillar candles, pretty plants, luxurious soaps and toiletries, and a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color.

6. Choose design elements wisely

Consistency makes a place a lot more photogenic. It gives your home a distinct “look” that translates well in photos. That’s why people love spaces that are filled with chunky lodge furniture, mid-century modern pieces, or sleek Scandinavian designs.

To make your space picture-perfect, we encourage you to pick a decor theme and stick to it throughout the home – even if your consistent theme is inconsistency. Just be careful when choosing design elements. You’re decorating to optimize visual appeal and cater to guests with all kinds of style preferences – not just your own.

7. Incorporate statement pieces

Statement pieces can be the perfect stand-out elements that tie a room together and make guests want to snap a picture. Some popular choices that we’ve seen:

  • Exposed brick walls
  • Patterned rugs
  • Unique artwork
  • High-end light fixtures
  • Colorful, unique, or out of the ordinary furniture

These will all do the trick to make your home ‘pop’, but it’s important to make sure they complement the rest of the decor in the room. Choose statement pieces that support your overall design aesthetic and create a cohesive, branded look for your property.

8. Create an enviable outdoor space

There’s nothing more captivating than a beautiful outdoor space. Patios with a pair of Adirondack chairs, spacious backyards with lawn games, gardens overflowing with flowers, fire pits encircled by chairs – any kind of an “outdoor oasis” will make your home that much more picturesque.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our post with step-by-step instructions for creating an outdoor oasis for your vacation rental.

9. Decorate with thoughtful details

Candles, trinkets, artwork, and plants are really popular on social media, and they’re great little details to add to the rooms in your house! These decorative elements add a layer of richness to your space, which makes it that much more interesting and unique.

It’s these special touches that give your vacation rental the personality that guests want to experience, and it sets you up for social media success. Two birds, one decorative stone.

Lights. Camera. Bookings?

Now that your vacation home is camera ready, you’re in great shape. But you’ll still have to do a bit more legwork to build a successful social media presence that translates into vacation rental bookings!

First up, start an Instagram account that’s dedicated to your vacation rental business, using a name that’s relevant to your property or location, such as @beechmountainlogcabin, @joshuatreerockviewhouse, or @barretthouseboulder.

Next, get the ball rolling by posting some pictures of your home, the surrounding area, and your favorite local attractions.

Use hashtags like #travel, #travelgram, #vacation, #vacationrentals, #airbnb, #vrbo to get them in front of travelers. Location-based hashtags are also great. Tag the city, state, and nearby attractions in your posts to make sure they reach a wide audience of travelers looking for information about that destination.

You may even want to create a personalized hashtag for your home that visitors can add to their posts when they stay in your home, like #PahtosRetreat or #VisitPahtosRetreat. This creates the polished and professional image that guests expect from a hospitality brand and it also makes it easier for you to see all of the pictures of your property that have been shared! You can click the hashtag to see all of the images that have ever been tagged with that name.

Finally, interact! Talk to your guests. Tell them you have an Instagram account and that you love it when visitors share pictures of their time in your home.  Your welcome book is the perfect place to leave a note about this and let guests know. Then if they do share pictures, like them, leave comments, and reshare them through your account. When travelers see you’re active and engaged on social media, they’re more likely to join in and share images of your home to promote your vacation rental.

On the surface, it sounds like a lot to take on, but chances are it’s not all that different from what you’re already doing.

If you’re on popular listing sites like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO, then you know you need great pictures, you have to optimize your listing to stand out in searches, and you must respond quickly to guests. Those same rules apply to operating an Instagram handle for your property!

Follow these tips to get started with Instagram, and you’ll quickly get up to speed on the latest social media marketing strategies and start to see the benefits of reaching travelers online.

It can be difficult to keep up with all the changes in the vacation rental industry, especially when it comes to marketing. Evolve makes it easy to get ahead on listing sites like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, and TripAdvisor so you can spend more time focusing on building your vacation rental brand. Click here to learn more about Evolve’s services and everything we offer for a low 10% booking fee.