Marketing We all know how important photos are to capture interest in our vacation rental properties, and that time taken over setting up and staging a photo shoot can pay dividends in enquiries. Since many listing sites have restrictions over the amount of images that can be posted, it’s worth looking at some alternatives to post additional pictures such as Flickr, Pinterest, a Facebook page or better still, a website with a good gallery option. This gives the opportunity to add plenty of ‘mood’ images that create desire and anticipation. · Photograph a fireplace that is lit. If your place rents in the winter or cooler seasons, showing potential guests a shot of the open fireplace or woodstove with a nice fire going will draw their interest as they imagine themselves coming in after a day in the snow and warming up. · Include a photo of a pet at pet-friendly properties Pet owners need to feel welcome and not just tolerated. If you include a picture of your own dog snoozing on the dock or (like mine here) being more active, they may choose your place over another that has no pet images. · Lay up the dining table for a meal before taking the picture This is just so much nicer than a bare table. Stage a breakfast bar with a couple of settings of orange juice, a basket of croissants, and a steaming pot of coffee. A patio table looks great set for an al fresco meal and the main dining area could be laid for a celebration meal such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, or a romantic Valentines meal in a smaller place. · Show activities on the water such as a kayaker or canoeist or someone fishing off a dock These are great mood images that depict activities your guests can take part in. Use only those watercraft that you include with your property or they can rent nearby. · A hot tub with the lid off and jets running looks better than one with a closed lid Many guests may have never used a hot tub so showing how it looks with the jets going creates so much more anticipation than a box with a cover. Capture some of the surrounding area too. · If you have a sand beach, make a sand castle and put a pail and spade next to it This sets the scene for families with young children and images like this have great appeal. It may take a bit of work to set it if you haven’t got a spare small person around to help you out, get your own inner child out and have some fun! · Set up a sunset mood shot Sunsets photographs are pretty but overused, so ring the changes and set up a scene with someone sitting on a dock with a glass of wine, looking out over the water or countryside. Remember – If you use people in any of your pictures you should get their permission to use the images.