Marketing There’s no arguing that quality photos can deliver conversions. It just makes so much sense to spend time on staging a room before taking the picture that will convince a site visitor to book your place rather than the competition. Whereas taking decent images was only in the realm of professional photographers ten years ago, there’s no excuse now with the quality of images available from even the lower to mid-range cameras. So why are we still seeing: 1 Rumpled bedding showing one flat pillow on each side. Even worse is the aged comforter that has clearly seen better days. Guests are looking for stylish bedrooms of the sort they would expect to find in boutique hotels. It’s not expensive to create a great looking bedroom – you can see some ideas on my Pinterest page. 2 Bathrooms showing toilets with the seat up Come on folks…we all know what a toilet looks like. Taking a good photo in a bathroom can be tricky but if there’s no way of keeping the porcelain out of the shot, at least put the seat down. Nor does anyone want to see the owner’s toothbrush, shaving equipment and pill bottles in a photo of a vacation rental bathroom – who would? Not only should bathroom counters be entirely cleared of personal items but they should be removed from bathroom cabinets prior to a rental too. 3 Cluttered kitchens with dishes in a drainer on a countertop This includes magnets and business cards on the fridge; stuff on top of cabinets and a mess of small appliances, containers of utensils and general clutter on the countertops. Clearing the kitchen surfaces is one of the first tasks a stager will suggest to create a feeling of space, and it really appeals to your potential rental guests. Add a focal piece such as a vase of flowers or bowl of fruit and perhaps a polished stainless steel coffee maker as the only visible appliance, and you have an elegant kitchen to display. 4 Bare walls and generally sparse décor Where there’s little in the way of artwork on the walls or decorative pieces on shelves or tables, a room can look stark and unwelcoming. Guests are looking for space where they can feel comfortable with their families as they enjoy time together so it’s important to capture an ambience that is portrayed through the images. 5 Old throws and blankets Even if there is sentimental value in Grandma’s old throw that’s been on the back of the sofa for years, it doesn’t look good on a vacation rental listing. Our guest demographic is changing worldwide – they are no longer looking for a camping experience with a roof – guests have higher expectations and are demanding quality furniture and furnishings, stylish décor and higher standards across the board. 6 Notes, magnets and ugly signs Back to the kitchen and bathroom for this blooper. A well- presented Guest Guide is the place for information guests need to read, not in post-it notes stuck to the fridge or handwritten signs on the bathroom wall. If they appear in your photos it gives a less than professional look. Even worse is the photograph is of the sign over the toilet that encourages leaving it to mellow if it’s yellow . 7 Outdoor patio shots with moldy plastic chairs Photographs of junky outdoor furniture, stained plastic tables with patio umbrellas folded down and rusty barbecues are not appealing. Potential guests want to imagine themselves relaxing outside – making it look entirely unattractive won’t convert lookers to bookers. Photos taken on a sunny day with a well-staged patio table are so much better. 8 Fireplaces with smoke-stained surround Winter guests will be drawn to a great fireplace photo but it must reach visitors to the listing in the right way. A bare hearth with a smoke- stained brick or stone surround can make a room look cold and uninviting. A lit fire with an attractive surround creates an attractive and ambient image. 9 Non-matching bed side tables with non-matching lamps Yard sale and home cast-offs are just fine for a property that is used by the owners and their friends but once it becomes listed as a vacation or cottage rental, it’s time to upgrade the furniture and furnishings. The word ‘eclectic’ used in a listing generally means there has been little thought to the overall décor and ambience so if you are using it, perhaps it’s time to take a long hard look at how the property is being presented and perceived.