“When people went on vacation, they shed their home skins, thought they could be a new person.”
― Aimee Friedman, Sea Change
When you’re browsing the net for holiday accommodation, there’s nothing quite as off-putting as a photograph of a dimly lit, outdated, badly decorated, cluttered room. Ugh! Who wants to spend their holidays there?
The whole idea of a holiday, is time away from the daily grind and you’re meant to spend your much needed R & R time in a place that is carefree, fun, bright and airy, just like the beautiful space featured below.
If you have a holiday home or B & B to let and are displaying below average, grotty images of your property on websites like airbnb, lekkeslaap and booking.com, it’s a no brainer that this will seriously affect your bookings no matter how low your rates are.
Here are some tips and tricks on how you can up your game to get more bookings:
Firstly, let’s get real people, if your holiday home or B & B is looking a little tired and grubby you need to be prepared to outlay some cash to bring it up to standard, the good news is it needn’t cost a fortune.
Secondly, hire a decent photographer, she doesn’t need to be Top of the Pops and the best of the best but browse her website to make sure her portfolio of “Interior photography” appeals to you before you book her.
Thirdly, investing in second hand furniture, accessories, art and appliances is perfectly fine as long as they are clean and in good working order. You’d also be amazed what a coat of paint, fresh towels and dishtowels, a few new floor rugs and some pot plants can do to brighten up a space.
Realistically speaking, there’s a limit to what your photographer can do to make your home look amazing and inviting. Of course she can use a wide angle lens, open all the curtains and blinds, photograph from attractive angles, shoot at the right time of day, have reasonable editing skills – all this can be done but if the space is messy, grubby and cluttered she’s going to find it very difficult to make your home look good.
BEFORE THE SHOOT
Preparation is key! Adding a couple of props to set some “scenes” outdoors and indoors can go a long way to making your holiday home look inviting and cosy. A few ideas that come to mind are, an attractive straw sun hat coupled with a bunch of freshly picked flowers, a bar of expensive chocolate alongside a steaming cup of coffee and a fancy magazine, a bottle of wine with 2 glasses, candles, attractive coffee table books, filling a bathtub or jacuzzi with water and flower petals, you get the picture?
If you are a bit hopeless at décor and arranging furniture, get that friend (you know the one who has a knack of decorating a space, we all have one) to help you out. Your holiday home needs to look put together and shouldn’t be a dumping ground for unwanted ornaments, art and furniture.
Another thing that can make or break the look of a room are the casual lamps and light fittings, take a closer look at your lampshades and fittings and see if they need changing. Again, look out for sales or decent second hand fittings that are going for a song because the owners are revamping.
Be careful though not to overdo props. Less is more. Cleanliness and spaces free of clutter are visually appealing. Windows are often forgotten about and it’s too late on the day of the photoshoot to start running around like a headless chicken trying to clean windows.
Here is a checklist to help you get your home ready before the shoot:
Ensure decks and walkways are swept and clean
Have the lawn mowed, bushes trimmed and leaves swept
Ensure there is no clutter in the driveway or garden, this includes cars!
Put garbage cans out of sight
Pack the garden hose and garden tools away
Clean and straighten deck furniture, ensure cushions are clean and matching
Clean pool area and surrounds
Ensure all the exterior lights work
Have external planters with attractive flowers or shrubs on the deck.
Sweep, vacuum and clean all floors
Make sure all rugs and loose mats are clean
Sofas, couches and loose chairs should be freshly vacuumed and free from grubby marks
Clean glass doors and windows
Open blinds and curtains
Remove all visible clutter, this includes cleaning materials
Display a few attractive coffee table books or upmarket magazines
If there is a fireplace: during winter light the fire for ambiance, in summer stack the grate attractively with logs and place 2 or 3 candles in the fireplace or on the brick/tiled surrounds
Declutter the walls in all the rooms! Wall art should be kept to a minimum and should have a similar theme, particularly art that is displayed in the same room
Ensure walls are clean, add a dash of paint if necessary
One or two attractive plants can make all the difference to a room
Knick-knacks should be upmarket, theme related but kept to a minimum
Kitchen and dining room
Remove all visible clutter, ensure counter tops, sink and stove are all sparkling clean
All reflective surfaces should sparkle!
Ensure there is nothing stuck or held on with magnets to the fridge door
Stash small appliances like tin-openers and blenders out of sight
Open shelves should be clear of clutter and only display attractive items
A vase of flowers or fresh fruit in an attractive bowl can be displayed on the dining room table
You could go the extra mile and arrange a tea tray with fresh muffins and an attractive tea set on the kitchen counter or coffee table
Beds should be freshly made with attractive bed linen and plump inviting pillows, white linen is always a winner, add a dash of colour with an attractive throw pillow!
A small bowl of fresh flowers on the bedside table alongside an attractive lamp is a nice addition
Ensure the floors are clean and there is no clutter under the beds
Clear and clean all counters, mirrors and window sills of dirt and clutter
Put the toilet seat and lid down
The bathroom should be sparkling clean, this includes the windows and plugholes
Get rid of all mildew particularly in the shower
Again keep knick knacks and wall art to a minimum.
There should be nothing pinned to or hanging behind the door.
Hang freshly laundered, fluffy colour co-ordinated towels.
Keep in mind too that there is no point in only tarting up your holiday home with accessories, nice furniture, pretty linen and towels, beautiful crockery and plants just for the photo shoot and then you take it all away or return it to the store after the session.
Sure the images will look appealing and you may get bookings but once your guests arrive and realise what they saw on your website is not what they are actually getting, they may be disappointed enough to leave you a bad review.
Reviews are extremely important in the holiday accommodation industry and one bad review can knock your overall rating down to 3 or 4 stars.
There’s no time to lose, so get cracking peeps, zhoosh up your holiday spaces, there’s still a whole lot of summer left!
“When all else fails, take a vacation.”
― Betty Williams
Image credit : moi du toi photography