The links to third-party products and services on this page are affiliate links, meaning that BiggerPockets may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase.
When you list your vacation rental property on the various marketplace websites (Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey), you need to describe the property thoroughly using text, but also share several photos. Most of these marketplace websites also allow you to add video tours as well.
In order to give your property its best advantage, it is a good idea to share both photos and videos.
Because they are “stills,” your potential guests can view photos easily and get a good idea of what individual portions of the property look like without having to pay a great deal of attention.
A video — or videos — helps them to immerse themselves in the home and get the “full impact” without necessarily noticing every detail. Thus, videos and photographs complement each other.
Download Your FREE Tenant Screening Guide!
Hey there! Screening tenants can be a tricky business, and this critical step can be the difference between profits and disaster. To help you with your real estate investing journey, feel free to download BiggerPockets’ complimentary Tenant Screening Guide and get the information you need to find great tenants.
5 Photo and Video Tips to Showcase Your Vacation Rental Property
1. Prepare interior and exterior of house for photos and video.
Before you start taking photos, go through your entire house and do some cleaning. Polish the furniture, vacuum the carpets, spackle and paint any stains on the walls, clean the windows and so on.
Then go outside and make sure you mow the lawn, weed the flowerbeds, and clean the deck(s) of any debris.
Walk around the exterior and exterior of the home with a very critical eye to see if there is anything that is out of place or jarring. Then, have someone else do this walkthrough separately and see if they come up with more details of things that need to be fixed.
You want your vacation rental property to be inviting. To that end, while decorations and knickknacks on walls, coffee tables and other surfaces are perfectly fine, you do not want to have extremely fragile items that can be broken should one walk by with a loose-sleeved shirt that could potentially wreak havoc.
Choose wall hangings that are beautiful in a traditional way — flowers, landscapes, seascapes and so on — rather than those with religious or violent overtones.
Put clothing away (if you are offering a room in an apartment or house, rather than the whole house)!
2. Use a tripod.
If you are going to take the photos or videos yourself, be sure to use a tripod. Every single photo you take should be crystal clear, with no blurring of any kind. The same holds true for video.
Today’s smart phones have cameras that for some purposes can actually rival the quality of DSLR cameras. The latest iPhone, for example, has a camera that can actually produce video in K4 (a technology so new that YouTube and other video sharing sites aren’t yet able to display that format in all its glory!).
3. Compose each photo or video like a work of art.
Look into your viewfinder for several seconds as you compose the photo. Since you’ve got the camera on a tripod, you can take your time and not be afraid that your arms or hands will get tired!
You want to show as much of the room as possible (using a wide angle lens if you have one or a panorama setting). You will be able to crop out anything extraneous using your Paint or other graphic editing program, but you may as well try to eliminate all distractions from the very beginning if possible.
4. Invest in a GoPro or other video-specific camera.
A GoPro camera or other similar camera is ideal for doing walk-arounds and walk-throughs of the property. You don’t want the video to be shaky or blurry. It must present the viewer with crystal clear images of all aspects of the property, from the exterior to the interior.
5. Edit videos carefully.
Depending on when you purchased your computer, you should have a free program called MovieMaker that allows you to edit footage together, as well as add captions and music. If you don’t have that program, you can purchase a program called PowerDirector from Amazon inexpensively — and there are other programs out there, of course, at varying price levels depending on the features you want.
6. Use fades.
Whether you are going from photo to photo, as in a slideshow, or from video to video, use a fade to ease the transition from one element to another.
A fade is the simplest and easiest transition and does not take the viewer’s attention away from the content of the video. Other animated transitions can do this and should be avoided.
7. Be chronological.
Whatever elements of the home you are showing, be chronological with them. If you’re sharing photos or videos of both the interior and exterior of the home, then show only one shot of the exterior first — the front door. Then enter the home and show all of the interior-related images. Finally, return to the outside and show the exterior of the house from all four sides.
If you’re just showing the outside, start with the front door and then walk around the building in an orderly fashion from left to right or right to left. Don’t switch from front to back, then left to right!
And if you’re just showing the interior, start just as the potential guest would enter the front door, then show all of the ground floor, then second floor if there is one, and then the furnished basement or utility room.
8. Consider a voice-over.
A friendly voice talking about each aspect of the home as it appears in photos or video can be a selling point. If there’s a lake or garden visible from inside the house, show a photo or video of it from the inside and extoll the view. Perhaps share a story of sitting on the couch with your partner, noting how romantic the view is and so on.
9. Always use music.
Whether you use a voice-over or not, your video should always be accompanied by soft, comforting music — typically classical rather than rock and roll.
10. Consider including people when appropriate.
Typically, photos and videos of the home do not included people — you want guests to focus on the property..
But sharing photos of people enjoying a barbecue (to show how much room there is for people around a wet-bar or picnic table), reclining on a deck, canoeing on the adjacent lake or biking on bikes you provide can help seal the deal.
Make a separate video that includes people and title it appropriately. You’ll want something something like “Guests enjoying this lovely getaway.”
By using creative videos, you can help potential guests decide that yours is the property they want to rent.
Any tips you’d add to the above list?
Let me know your questions and comments below!