Getting the photo sequencing right in your vacation rental listing is vital.
We've compiled some DOs & DON'Ts for when you decide to take this advice and reorder your listing photos!
But before we get on with that, we wanted to share something that has happened to us. Think about this:
You're going through a poorly sequenced bunch of photos.
While your mind is trying to create a narrative or a map of the property, you're thinking "I just saw a garden and then a kitchen and then the bathroom in the back".
You just don't know what you're looking at. You have lost the thread of "where is this place? How does the space work?"
The out-of-sequence listing photos messed with your thought process, and you can't figure out why you were on this listing at all.
The things of order matters, right? I mean, the order of things matters, right?
If the shower scene in Psycho came first, how scary would it be?
Unless you’re watching a Tarantino film, or Memento, you normally expect movies to proceed in chronological order.
Well, your listing photos should generally proceed in a logical order, too.
Some people will try to tell you that there is one logic for vacation rental photos to rule them all. We think there are at least 3 acceptable models, dependent upon your place, and to some degree, your preference.
Remember... Nobody knows your place like you do... Use it to your advantage! (and by the way, that's one of the reasons why you Shouldn't Hire a Real Estate Photographer for your Vacation Rental Listing).
1. The Tour
Sequence the photos almost like you’re running a filmstrip.
Proceed inside. Take a left.
Continue on a “walk-through” of the home, introducing the best photo for each area first, finishing with a few outdoor and neighborhood scenes at the end.
2. Hit them with your best shot
Who knows how many of your photos they’ll look through, so stack your best ones up front.
In this case, ‘best’ means your primary or most important rooms first (living room, kitchen) and secondary stuff at the end (hallways, bathrooms, etc.).
If you have detail shots of decor or amenities, keep them in their correct rooms. Having a picture of the patio barbecue between the master bedroom and a bathroom isn't a good idea.
Start with your best feature, but THEN proceed in logical fashion on a tour.
Maybe you have an awesome living room bay window.
Start with that shot and then proceed to the room adjacent to it, and so on.
Ideally, each photo gives a hint of what comes next.
1. Switching from indoor to outdoor photos repeatedly
We've seen so many listings that show photos all randomly mixed together... Driveway > Living Room > Garden > Bathroom > Neighborhood Snaps > Kitchen...
2. Jumping between spaces out of order
Photo of the kitchen, then of the living room, back to the kitchen with a different angle, bathroom, back to a different angle of the living room... You get the idea.
3. Misleading sequencing
There are listings out there that lead with a picture of the kitchen, followed by a photo of an en suite bathroom, then show open doors to the balcony and then.... a view of the beach...when in fact, the beach is a fifteen minute drive away and isn't visible from that balcony at all. Not nice.
Related: Top 5 Vacation Rental Photo Mistakes
You want your photo sequence to flow and give the viewer a good sense of how things relate to each other.
Random photos, especially isolated ones with no context, can induce confusion.
What’s the likelihood that confusion or frustration will lead to a booking?
- Brian, Co-Creator, Overlooked 2 Overbooked
Not sure where to get started with your own listing?
We've gathered some basic but all too common listing photo mistakes below. These errors have been shown to alienate viewers so double-check you're not falling for any of them:
Kati and I are huge fans of the 80/20 rule.
An economist named Pareto discovered this interesting mathematical relationship.
It’s the idea that approximately 80% of effects are due to 20% of causes.
And so on. The point is not to quibble over whether it’s exactly 80/20, or 85/15, or 70/30.
In the vacation rental world, it may be even more lopsided than that.
The 80/20 rule can be used to your advantage in SO many ways.
It can make you more efficient. It can make you more money.
It can eliminate hassles.
An example: if there are 100 elements that go into being a great photographer, you only need to learn the most important 20 of them, in order to get 80% of the benefit of learning all 100.
That, in a nutshell, is the theory of our photo course.
To the best of our ability, Kati and I have taken everything that you MIGHT benefit from knowing about photography, and distilled it down to the 20% that you NEED to know.
And luckily, that 20% can be taught in just a few hours.
At that point, we are supremely confident that your photos will stack up favorably against AT LEAST 80% of your competitors (and the top 20% of the rentals are earning almost 80% of the money).
This has massive implications for your business.
Bad photos are the first major potential bottleneck for your business.
If they don’t like your photos, they will never book, stay, or return.
I did a little research.
Turns out, the top 20% of vacation rental hosts ARE making approximately 80% of the revenue in the industry.
Also, a study showed that only about 20% of vacation rental listing photos qualify as “Good”.
We never even consider staying at places with bad photos.
For two reasons:
When I convinced Kati to create a video course, I emphasized it should teach her 80/20 version of vacation rental photography.
It needed to be something that could:
And even though I’m obviously biased, I think the course she created is amazing, for many reasons:
You can preview some of the chapters for free any time, with no enrollment required.
- Brian, Co-Creator, Overlooked 2 Overbooked
Not sure where to get started with your own photos?
We've gathered some simple, condensed tips from our photo course below. Anyone with just a smartphone (and no photo skills!) can begin applying those right away.