Many vacation rental owners will find this scenario familiar: they excitedly upload their property to VRBO and eagerly await the bookings to pour in, only to hear…nothing.
This will have you thinking, what separates the booked-out vacation rental properties from those that can’t gain any traction? The answer might surprise you, but it all comes down to one thing: photos.
Humans are visual creatures, so dark and blurry images taken from unflattering angles won’t have travelers queuing up to rent that property. Showcase the property’s unique features through crisp, bright, and inviting images, however, and you’ll have them lining up at the front door.
But how exactly can you achieve this without spending a fortune on hiring a professional photographer? The key lies in not just the way you capture your photos, but how you edit them too. Thankfully, BeFunky’s Photo Editor will have you banishing the bland and creating high-quality images that’ll have them clicking ‘book now’. Keep reading to find out how!
Why Are Images So Crucial on VRBO?
A case study by Virtuance Photography & Virtual Tours revealed high-quality photographs can increase a vacation property’s bookings by up to 98%, so it’s certainly an element you want to get right. Here’s the thing though: web specialists believe you only have 5 seconds to capture your audience’s attention and make a great first impression with your vacation rental.
We’ve all heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and this couldn’t be truer when you’re showcasing a vacation rental property. Your photos will be the first thing that a prospective guest will see, so you’ll need to wow them from the very start! It might sound close to impossible, but there are a few ways that you can achieve this.
Firstly, when you create a listing on VRBO, the Listing Quality Scorecard located in your dashboard recommends you upload 24 high-quality photos. Ideally, these photos should measure at least 1920x1080 pixels. VRBO also wants them all to be JPEG format and less than 20MB in size.
Keep in mind that you also want your photos to be in landscape orientation, as many of the devices your audience will be using are optimised to show wider images best (even if it means rotating their phone sideways!). Landscape images also maximise what you can display, allowing potential guests to see more of your property in a single image.
We understand it’s easy to get a little carried away with the camera though. After all, there’s so many things to photograph in a property! Knowing what to capture can be tricky, but if you remember the following golden rules, you’re halfway on the road to success.
The Golden Rules Of VRBO Photography
The first rule is to highlight what makes your vacation rental property so unique. Is it a glittering water view from the kitchen window, or perhaps a quaint garden that’s perfect for a morning coffee? Whatever your one-of-a-kind selling-point is, be sure to capture it fittingly through your photos to showcase on your listing. Now you’re off to a great start!
Secondly, photograph your property in its best light – literally. Shoot during the ‘golden hour’, either an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, as this bounty of natural light will create brighter and warmer photos.
Additionally, you’ll want to add the illusion of greater width and depth to your rooms by photographing them from a corner. This perspective showcases the space from its most flattering angle. Professional real estate photographers have been using this trick for decades!
Listings with a photo of the property’s front exterior also tend to perform better, as they give potential guests a more wholesome idea of the property, along with where it’s situated in relation to its neighbors.
Lastly, don’t forget to capture images that are inviting to your viewers. Think about the scenarios they’d love to be in and communicate these through your photos. For example, a shot of a bubbling spa with a towel perched nearby not only showcases a unique feature of the vacation rental, but also helps the viewer to visualize themselves in this environment. How can they resist?
How BeFunky’s Photo Editor Can Help You Amp-Up the Wow-Factor
Now that you know what photos to take of your vacation rental property, we’re going to teach you how to edit them for maximum results. Uploading high-quality, picture-perfect photos are a huge step in separating the average listings from the awesome ones, so you’ll certainly want to take note!
There are a number of reasons why you’ll need to edit your VRBO images, including having to crop unsightly or distracting features from photos, needing to resize the photo to adhere to the website’s standards, or other issues such as adjusting brightness and sharpness.
Crop and Resize Your Photo
Often, you’ll think you’ve perfectly lined-up a shot in your viewfinder, only to look at it on your computer screen and realise there’s a pair of scruffy sneakers in the corner. Oops! Rather than panicking and planning to re-shoot the image, you can simply use our Crop tool to fix the issue within seconds.
Also, VRBO recommends uploading images measuring at least 1920x1080 pixels, but most cameras don’t capture photos at 16x9. This means no matter how great your photo looks, chances are you’re still going to have to get your crop on.
[su_befunky_protip protiptitle="Quick Tip"]When shooting photos for your VRBO, you should always capture them using the largest setting possible on your camera, then worry about cropping and resizing to a specific size later during the editing process. This will make sure once you resize your images, they lose the least amount of detail as possible! [/su_befunky_protip]
To access the Crop tool, you’ll first need to upload your photo to the Photo Editor. Once uploaded, you can then click the Edit option. Under Essentials, you’ll see Crop, so simply click it to bring up all of your crop options.
There are many Aspect Ratios to choose from, but when it comes to cropping VRBO photos, you’ll want to stick with 16x9. This’ll ensure you get your sizing for the platform just right. If you crop to any other ratio then resize the image to meet VRBO’s standards, your photo will become distorted (and trust us, that’s not a good look!).
Landscape orientation is the most effective for showcasing your vacation rental property, but what happens if you’ve snapped a really great photo in portrait mode that you want to use? Thankfully, you can change the orientation of your crop too – just select Landscape underneath Orientation. Now we’re talkin’!
Once you’re happy with your edits, just click the blue check-mark button. Simple! Now it’s time to resize…
Earlier we mentioned that your VRBO listing’s photos should measure at least 1920x1080 pixels in size. Any smaller than this and they may appear blurry, as the site could stretch the images to fit this resolution. After cropping your image to the 16x9 ratio, resizing to the ideal measurements for VRBO should now be a breeze!
You’ll find the Resize tool in the Edit menu, located underneath the Crop tool in Essentials. You can then enter your desired measurements into the Width and Height section, or use the up and down arrows to adjust.
When Lock Aspect Ratio is checked-on, it alters the height and width in relation to one another, ensuring that your image keeps its proportions. You can also scale your image up or down by adjusting the percentage underneath the X-Scale or Y-Scale sections.
Take Your Images A Step Beyond With Enhance DLX Effects
Want to take your photos to even greater heights? BeFunky’s supreme photo editing tool offers four groundbreaking effects for enhancing your photos in a single click. It’s never been easier to create professional-looking images for ultimate VRBO success!
Are your property photos undersaturated, oversaturated, lacking detail or low-lit? Forget expensive software – there’s now a DLX Effect to fix every one of those issues! These effects are also super easy to locate. In the Photo Editor, you’ll find the Enhance DLX banner at the top of the Edit menu.
The HDR DLX tool is perfect for positively enhancing any photo, as the effect closely examines the light and dark sections of the image to even-out contrast and brightness, while adding additional sharpness for a true masterpiece.
Sharpen DLX, on the other hand, is so intelligent that it can sense the edges in your image, knowing to avoid sharpening near flat areas and very sharp edges. This gives your photo a new level of contrast and clarity that catches the eye, while combatting unwanted graininess and halo effects which are commonly seen when an image is sharpened beyond its capabilities. Thank goodness for that!
Additionally, the Vibrant Colors DLX effect is perfect for making the colors in your photo ‘pop’- without becoming oversaturated of course. Many interior photos often feel flat due to poor lighting and this tool is the perfect way to bring new life to colors that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Other color editing tools bump-up the saturation of the entire image, while this effect knows to only increase the intensity of more muted colors to prevent this dilemma. Colors appear vibrant, yet natural, so you can finally say goodbye to unsightly neon-green gardens.
Lastly, Denoise DLX fixes the unwanted graininess or discoloration experienced when you shoot in a low-lit environment (such as an indoor space) or when you capture a uniform color (like a blue sea). Using a special noise reduction algorithm, it instantly assesses which parts of the image require fixing. Too clever!
Additional Tips For Success
The quality of your photos might play the most vital role in your vacation rental property’s success, but there are also some smaller, yet important, elements that you’ll need to keep in mind.
For example, your title is also one of the very first things someone browsing on VRBO will see, so why not use it to set your property apart and grab their attention? Be sure to mention your property’s unique features within the headline, as well as the property type, and who it is most suited to. For example, “Romantic Spanish villa on the beach w/hot tub - perfect for couples!”.
Additionally, you should never copy the description or title of other properties. Rather than settling for generic, embrace your inner wordsmith and craft a one-of-a-kind description and title that will set your listing apart from the others.
It doesn’t have to be hard. Just focus on what your ideal traveler would want from their holiday, then highlight how your property delivers this. Simple, right?
Forget hiring a real estate photographer – creating eye-catching, high-quality, and inviting images of your vacation rental property is now easier than ever.
While knowing what to photograph plays an important role in creating a successful listing, it’s the editing process of these photos that allows you to take your VRBO property to a whole new (and booked-out) level. Thankfully, BeFunky’s Photo Editor makes this simple with easy-to-use tools and the new groundbreaking Enhance DLX effects. They’re one-click wonders!
Try these for yourself today and see just how much they can boost your VRBO listing’s success!