In this final part of my airbnb and holiday rental tips, let’s look at how to make the most of your holiday rental through professional marketing photographs, dealing with unfavourable reviews and ensuring a fast service turnaround between check-outs and check-ins.
The value of professional photographs
In this image-obsessed online-world, good images are a key marketing tool. It is amazing the difference some expert styling and a professional photographer can make in showing off your property to its best. These images should be updated as improvements are made to the property, in order to make full use of the opportunity and avoid any annoyance by guests on arrival who feel they have been misguided.
I am often asked to recommend a photographer that understands the needs (and budget) of a small business: Jeni Meade works mainly in the South-West of England and is a photographer I use extensively. Check her extensive portfolio of work on: www.jeni-meade-photography.com.
Guesthouse and holiday rental interiors by Catriona Archer / Photography: Jeni Meade
Important things to achieve in photographs include:
- Be sure sheets and pillow cases on the bed are straight and well ironed. Don’t forget to de-clutter! As a professional stylist, I know first-hand the difference a well styled room makes to the final image. Think about where you want the eye to settle within the image, and simplify the styling elsewhere.
- Many consider using a wide lens to photograph a room in order to make it look bigger, but beware not to over-distort the room.
- As a general rule, photographs taken at chest height rather than eye height work better and keep furniture and wall edges as vertical as possible.
- Getting the lighting right is a key element in showing a room off to it’s best.
- An open door leading through into another room often gives a more interesting dimension. It also highlights the overall flow of the interior.
- Add some close-up shots to convey the ambience and mood of the interior.
Keeping a faster service turnaround
- Unless you provide a daily cleaning service, be sure that there are sufficient cleaning supplies at-hand for guests to use in the interim with any mishaps they may have.
- A well styled holiday rental is welcoming but not cluttered: Although some thoughtful accessories are important, avoid too many trinkets and dust-makers. It is useful to remember that not all guests will have the same taste as you, so it is often best to keep the décor relatively generic.
- Be sure to check all drawers and the microwave thoroughly after renters check out… easily forgotten!
- A Cleaning Tick List for general service turnarounds gives peace of mind – be sure this is detailed and include ceiling cobwebs: This is something easily overlooked when cleaning, but glaringly obvious when a guest is lying in bed! A Seasonal Tick List for a more thorough clean (Check the Fire Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector, dusting lampshades and spotlights, deep-cleaning mattresses, pillows and duvets etc.).
- Keep excess bedlinen in or close to the bedroom for ease.
- Replace any kitchenware breakages and check all lightbulbs.
Gaining positive reviews
I hope this three-part article will help you achieve favourable reviews for your holiday rental or guesthouse. No matter how hard we try however, it’s impossible to please everyone all of the time and sometimes the accusation is misdirected. Remember that an unfavourable or lukewarm review is not personal, and often an opportunity to improve the business. Never reply to such reviews in haste – A sincere and considered reply, assuring the guest that their views have been taken onboard and acted upon swiftly helps re-gain their trust. It also assures others reading the review that good customer service is important to your business.
I love browsing through the visitor books – I find it often very insightful on helping future guests on what to do and see in the area. It is after all an essential and inexpensive tool to harness and advertise positive reviews and encourage future guests to offer the same. Be sure to upload a photo of an amusing or impressive review onto any social media platforms you have! It’s a fail-safe way of validating and advertising your business. On this note, may I take this opportunity to wish your business every success!
Interior design and styling by Catriona Archer