Five minutes with an expert: Alan Egan from Rent More Weeks

Do you ever check out the competition and wonder how they achieve such a professional look? We’ll let you into a secret. It’s all in the staging... 

According to Alan Egan of Rent More Weeks, rental staging and good photography is the key to creating a more appealing presentation for your holiday rental and maximise your booking opportunity. Alan kindly agreed to give us a masterclass on how to give your holiday rental a marketing makeover. 

 

La Caleta holiday rental 

What is rental staging and why is it so important if owners want to maximise their booking potential?

Rental staging is a method of marketing where we add props to dress a scene before taking a photograph.  

It's important because, with some thought, careful planning and execution you can help potential guests to imagine themselves on holiday at your property.  If you achieve this they are more likely to book a holiday with you.  

Much more likely in fact. 

Are there any statistics that demonstrate that rental staging improves bookings? 

Not as such. All I can say is that when I had a listings company I would run split tests where I would rotate between staged photos and non staged photos and the staged photos outsold the non staged ones every time, at every property.  It pays to stage, but don't take my word for it - try it yourself. 

When planning your rental staging, what should owners have in mind?What should be the basis of how they set up their holiday rental?

Malaga country villa rentalThe idea is to make a photo look like guests are already staying at your property, they just got up and walked away before the shot was taken.  

For example, if you have an outdoor table - That's what it is, an outdoor table. But if you set the table with plates, tea cups, croissants, jam and orange juice in glasses it becomes a place for an outdoor breakfast and people can picture themselves sitting at the table starting their day on a perfect note. You need to go from photos of a home to photos of a holiday home.  

Can you give us some tips for staging in older or outdated properties? What small changes can make a holiday rental look more attractive? 

Adding colour is the easiest way to boost curb appeal. Paint the wall behind the bed with a strong colour, add a coloured throw to a sofa, buy new sun lounger cushions or garden umbrellas. Just by adding colour your bookings will increase. 

Have a look at this article on cheap ways to achieve better holiday rental photos

Can you recommend five props for under 50€ that can spruce up a rental property for staging photography? 

For outdoor shots you can't beat an orange bottle of suntan lotion and a brightly coloured paperback book.

These two items sum up most peoples idea of a holiday abroad. Relaxing around the pool, sunbathing and reading the latest best seller. A brightly coloured towel is also a good idea here as it attracts the eye and draws people to the photo. You can see what I mean below where only the props are shown in colour. 

Holiday rental staging

For indoor shots try adding a colourful throw to the bottom third of a bed for added impact.  

A vase of freshly cut flowers always lifts a living room photo and try adding a bowl of fresh fruit to your kitchen photos. Green apples or oranges work best as does half a water melon.  

When it comes to photography for your rental stage. If an owner doesn’t have a budget for professional photography. What simple tips can you offer in terms of taking better photos? 

The best prop of all is a clear blue sky and better still this is free. Don't waste your time shooting outdoor shots on anything other than perfect, clear, days. No one wants cloudy weather when on holiday, so don't show it.

Secondly, keep the camera level. Do not point the camera up or down, just keep it level. This is the main difference between pro shots and those taken by owners.  

Thirdly, when taking indoor photos take these on your knees. There are two reasons for this. Firstly no one wants to see pictures of your ceilings and secondly it removes the temptation to point the camera downwards.

How do you choose the lead image for your holiday rental? Both in terms of the photo content and the final choice image?

The lead image needs to show your best feature. It's that simple.  

If you have a pool lead with your pool. If you have beach frontage show that. If your house is chocolate box cute and covered in Bougainvillea then show that.  So that's your best feature.  

Now stage that feature to make it look as if guests are already using it and enjoying it and away you go. 

If you settle for the pool shot do something like the photo above. If you have beach frontage add a towel and a pair of flippers, snorkel and mask in the foreground. If you have that cute cottage set a table for afternoon tea in the foreground. 

Digital photography is free, so take lots of photos from lots of angles. Weed out the worst then decide on the best. 

Holiday home Competa 

Can you offer us some recommendations on how to present your local area in the best light? What types of images attract guests to your local neighbourhood? 

Once again use blue sky images. List the top 4 or 5 attractions within 50Km and take some photos at these places or get photos from their websites (if you do this, ask their permission).  

If you're not sure on the best places to promote, visit your local tourist office and look through their promotional material for inspiration.  

Lastly take a photo of your favourite nearby restaurant or bar. Prospective guests like a little inside information and guests will eat out and visit a local bar while on holiday so an image like this adds curb appeal and trust. 

How important is seasonal staging and photography for your holiday rental? 

Seasonal staging is very important - If you have a ski chalet then it stands to reason that it's better to show the chalet within a snowy landscape than surrounded with grass.  

Likewise if you are advertising off season winter breaks it pays to introduce photos with a real fire and a glass of steaming mulled wine on the table.  

Once again setting the scene will trigger potential guests imagination and thus trigger bookings.  

If you are trying to attract guests for christmas and new year put up a christmas tree, decorate it, wrap some empty boxes in xmas paper and place these under the tree. Take some photos and lead with the best of these images in autumn.  

Once you have sold your christmas weeks change the photo to one showing springtime, maybe with almond blossom. dog rose or orange trees in blossom. 

Holiday country house Cantabria 

People in photos? Good or bad? 

Simple answer - Good and bad. 

In general bad but in certain areas it's good.  

If you have a Jacuzzi I think it's better to show someone or a couple in the Jacuzzi. Empty Jacuzzi's just look dull.  

If you have a barbecue these too look pretty uninteresting when not in use. The best thing about a BBQ is the social activity around it. Actually have a BBQ. Invite a few friends around and take lots of photos and use one of these images in your portfolio. Kids jumping up and down on a trampoline make a far better advert than an empty trampoline sitting on the lawn. 

 

Alan Egan Rent More Weeks

Alan Egan is an expert in holiday rental marketing and photography. Author of numerous holiday rental marketing guides and the creator of an innovative marketing course for owners called Booking Plus 4G. There are 50 free places on the first course available. For further information, you can also connect with Alan on Google Plus

 

Main image credit: Holiday villa in Adeje Property ID 19760

Outdoor terrace image: Malaga country house holiday rental ID 7075

Seasonal image with fireplace: Holiday country house in Cantabria ID 10818

Swimming pool image: Rural holiday villa in Competa ID 7006

 

Apartment in Adeje

  • 1 bedroom
  • sleeps 4
  • 1 bathroom
  • 1 toilet
  • 38 m² living area
  • 8 m² terrace
  • Shared pool
  • Wi-Fi
  • Terrace furniture

Apartment in Málaga city (Cerrado de Calderon)

(1)
  • 1 bedroom
  • sleeps 4
  • 1 bathroom
  • 90 m² living area
  • 40 m² terrace
  • Wi-Fi
  • Roof terrace
  • Barbecue
  • Lift
Id: 52765 Add to shortlist Remove Remove
£ 380 - 696/week £ 54 - 99/night Show details

Apartment in La Zenia

  • 2 bedrooms
  • sleeps 4
  • 2 bathrooms
  • 2 toilets
  • 75 m² living area
  • 20 m² terrace
  • Shared pool
  • Outside jacuzzi
  • Wi-Fi
Id: 47386 Add to shortlist Remove Remove
£ 407 - 655/week £ 59 - 95/night Show details
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