Thursday, July 23, 2009

Good Pictures Equal More Bookings

Posting good pictures of your property on is the single most important thing you can do to ensure you are maximizing your bookings. Which property would you book? The one on the top or the one on the bottom?

I think the answer is clear. They are both pictures of very nice modern kitchens but the picture on the top is so poorly lit that it is impossible to tell that it has spectacular cabinets and brand new stainless steel appliances. So it should come as no surprise to the property owner on top that the property below gets close to four times as much traffic and 5 times the bookings.

If you really want to make sure the job is done right we recommend hiring a professional, and we are happy to help you find just the right one. If this is something you are interested in please comment on this blog post and we will be sure to contact you right away. If you want to do it yourself we have provided some tips here to help you be successful.

  1. Lighting. Choose well-lit, clear photographs taken on a sunny day. Early mornings before sunrise and late afternoons tend to be the best for taking photographs. The best rule of thumb to follow is to have the sun behind you at all times. If your home or the room you are photographing faces West, the sun will be at your back in the mornings. If it faces East, the sun will be at your back in the evenings. Avoid photos with too much light or too little light, which is also a common mistake.
  2. Recency. Photos should not be more than two or three years old. Avoid uploading photos that show a date stamp. When you select your photos, you don't want to have to continually update those pictures because your date stamp is giving away the age of the photo.
  3. Variety. Include both exterior and interior shots of your property. Travelers want to get a sense of the size and style of your home. Include the main living room, kitchen, and all bedrooms. That's right - if you have a 5 bedroom home, 5 of your photos should be of the bedrooms. Site visitors want to see accurate representations of your property. That being said, it's probably not necessary to include a photograph of your bathroom unless it is spectacular. A toilet is pretty much a toilet everywhere. Along those lines, avoid filling space with generic nature photos. Try to feature some aspect of your actual home in each photo.
  4. Staging. Help the travelers imagine what it will feel like to stay in your home. Instead of showing a bare table and chairs, add a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers. You might even set the table with place settings and wine. Sofas and other seating areas can be spruced up with throw pillows and blankets. Lamps tend to photograph better when they are turned on. However, always be sure to turn televisions off.
  5. Framing. Consider what is in the frame of your shot. When choosing exterior photos, stay away from the ones that have cars in the frame as they can distract from the actual home. When selecting your bedroom shots, try to select photos that show the entire bed.
  6. Format. A standard landscape/horizontal format fits best.
  7. Pixels. Upload 640 pixel x 480 pixel digital originals for best results. 400 pixel x 300 pixel photos are minimum requirements.
  8. Digital Images. Use JPEG digital image format ONLY. If you don't have a digital camera, borrow one from a friend or hire a professional photographer. You don't want to use low-resolution or scanned photos that don't do your home justice.
  9. Camera Settings. Use medium to high quality settings on your digital camera. Don't over-compress your photos.
  10. Eliminate Clutter. Don't you dare take pictures with dirty dishes on the counter or your tennis racket laid out on the dinner table. Be sure to take an extra 15 minutes to tidy up and make sure you eliminate clutter.

I promise you if you follow these guidelines you will see your booking increase dramatically. If you have any other tricks or suggestions please share them with us by commenting on this blog.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 Text Message Inquiries*

Away from home but want to keep up with inquiries about your property? Sign up for The Text Service and never be left in the dark!

Enter your mobile phone number and carrier for each of your properties at the dashboard page, and you can get instantaneous updates when someone inquires about your property (see picture below)!

One of the most important things you can do as a property owner to increase your bookings is to respond promptly to inquiries. People are busier and busier these days and they want results fast. Be the first to respond and greatly increase your chances of earning their business.

Be sure to leave comments on the blog to let us know what you think about this new feature and if there are anyways we can improve our service.


*Standard Rates Apply