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Vacation Rentals - A Booking Boosting Masterclass
By Alan Egan

Want more bookings?

Of course you do.

What if I told you that as a vacation rental owner or manager you are selling the wrong thing in the wrong way? What would you say to that?
Well read on and see how you can easily double bookings…

Marketing is evolving. It’s constantly morphing through technology, platforms and more modern, conceptual thinking but if you look at vacation rental marketing it’s pretty much sat still since the beginning of time.

I wrote about this in an article at the end of last year –
The article was called The Evolution Of The Vacation Rental Marketplace but it could have been called the lack of evolution in the VR marketplace – Not much has changed in the last 10 or 15 years.

We still list what we have to offer as opposed to offering what our guests want and need.

Owners and managers still show little more than real estate images. We aren’t selling real estate, we are selling vacations.

When I published my first vacation rental photographic guides, back in 2011, I said that

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Potential guests don’t want to see photos of your rental – They want to imagine themselves on vacation”[/pullquote]
It's a no brainer

It’s a no brainer

This premise is the major key to success in this business – In 2004 I stopped showing real estate photos of the properties I was advertising and instead started showing photos of how the properties are used – I doubled my bookings.

But still, next to no one in this business does this, yet it’s a no brainer.

Learning from others…

Maybe owners and managers don’t get the concept, so to show how other businesses have put this into practice let’s look at the automotive industry.

Like the vacation rental world, they have a lot of near identical products, they have a lot of competition and they have been in business for a long time. They too have made marketing “errors” but the difference with the car industry is that their marketing has evolved.

They learned from their mistakes. Big time.

So lets look at some examples and see what we can learn from these companies.

How car adverts were back in the early days…

In this 1950’s advert for the VW Beetle there’s an image of the product, a bit of a description and a few key amenities are listed (does that ring any bells?).
That’s how most car ads were back then.

It’s old school and looks massively dated. Just like 99% of vacation rental listings and websites still are.

Here’s an Audi 100L advert from the 1970’s


Pretty much the same thing – A brief description and a few facts – That’s it, no more, no less.

Let’s zip forward in time to see how VW and Audi have evolved…

Here’s an up to date VW poster. See how things have changed.


They hardly even show the car. In fact from the main image you can’t even tell which car it is other than the VW on the steering wheel.

And here’s an up to date Audi ad…


These newer adverts don’t just show the car, instead they show what the car is used for.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]There’s a big lesson to be learned here.[/pullquote]

Bear in mind these companies have an advertising budget of millions and they have huge marketing teams consisting of some of the smartest sales people in the business. They don’t go around guessing as to what may sell. They draft concepts, they pre test adverts on small selected groups of the public and then they go with what works.

It doesn’t stop with print either. It’s even more apparent with video (or film as it was back then).

Here’s what Volkswagen were putting out in the 60’s…

Here’s a current VW ad…

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Once again they have flipped their purpose. They are promoting what you can experience from buying their products as opposed to solely displaying those same products.[/pullquote]

Have a look at the car ads next time the commercials come on.

So how can you put this advertising theory into practice with your vacation rental marketing images?
Well you need to convey a vacation feeling through your website and listing photographs as opposed to uploading, dull, real estate images.
This is very easy to do and starts with taking photos under clear blue skies with the windows and doors of the property open. This simple, no cost technique, shows that the house is in use instead of just showing the house.
Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 09.55.33
The easiest way to convey a vacation feeling is with some simple staging with a few holiday associated props.
The larger photo below shows a table set as if guests are using the terrace and you can see that I have added a couple of half drunk glasses of beer and a bottle of gin (the glass contains water and a slice of lemon – no point wasting good gin)! I also added a bottle of suntan cream and a magazine.
In one of the other photos I’ve just added a beach towel, a cool box, and a beach ball . These break up the boring foreground and once again reinforce what the property is used for.
Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 10.03.39

In summery

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]If you want more bookings try experimenting with props and staging in order to convey a sense of vacation. Stand back and try to identify if your images get across a vacation feel or whether they look like your run of the mill estate agent photos.[/pullquote]
The vacation rental photography and staging bible
The two pages of example photos above are taken from The Vacation Rental Photography and Staging Bible – The book contains a 100 pages similar to those above.
Download your copy today and take your marketing to a new level.

Vacation rental marketing guy Alan Egan

Alan Egan is teaching owners and managers how to market their vacation rental homes in new and dynamic ways with the creation of destination based websites and the innovative use of social media.

 See what he’s up to and join other owners that are taking the responsibility for their own marketing athttp://bookingsplus4g.com
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