Marketing Your Vacation Rental

5 Tips to Capture “The Big Picture” When Advertising Your Rental Property

Written by Becky Fischer
4.6/5 - (11 votes)

Updated August 2023

We are constantly encouraging homeowners to improve their pictures. Pictures are not only the first impression of a property listing, but according to vacationers, the most important impression. As testimonials and data suggest, better pictures lead to more bookings. 

Here are 5 suggestions for taking bright and inviting pictures to better market your home: 

1. Think summer, even in November

Turn on the lights. So simple and so effective. Suddenly a room looks and feels brighter. Please do not take pictures at night or when it is snowing. Buy some fresh and summery-looking flowers. 

Kitchen – Proper lighting

Kitchen – Poor Lighting

2. Find a focal point in the room.

It is best to have a pretty picture of part of the room than a picture of door jams with all of the room. Try not to get too much of the ceiling in the picture. Use captions to provide details about the room — the TV, bedroom location and bed sizes, kitchen appliances, etc. And I don’t mean to sound bossy but tidy up first! Even consider setting the table for a meal. Invite the vacationer to envision themselves on their vacation in your homeAs Ansel Adams said, “Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.” 

Table set

Table not set

3. Be sure to photograph the master bedroom, living room, and kitchen.

The person paying the rent is probably the person sleeping in the master bedroom, so be nice to them. Show them a lovely picture of their bedroom. And make the bed, for crying out loud! No mattress cover shots. People choose vacation rentals over hotels for many reasons, but one is for the convenience of a kitchen. Arrange some lemons, limes, or apples in a bowl, and make your kitchen look clutterfree and lovely. 

4. Show the closest beach!

Whether your rental is on the beach or inland, vacationers come to the Cape and Islands to be on the beach! Take a blue-sky, beach grass picture focusing on the scenery and not people. Show a sunny beach (not at sunset!) that isn’t super crowded. Don’t have the perfect shot? Ask us. We have a repertoire of gorgeous beach pictures of most Cape and Islands beaches that we can share with you!

5. Hire yours truly.

Does it all sound too time-consuming or complicated? Have WeNeedaVacation stage and photograph your home. I have photographed more than 600 homes on our site with tremendous success. Here is a recent testimonial I received from a homeowner in Orleans: 

“The pictures were wonderful!  You really captured the look I was hoping to achieve. Thanks again for a beautiful job!”

Framed, proper lighting, crisp

Unframed, over-exposed, grainy

Learn more about our services

The key is to put yourself in the shoes of a vacationer who is planning a trip to the Cape or Islands from out of state. Which pictures would inspire you to inquire about the home and possibly mail a stranger a rental check? Also, look at the other rental homes listed in your town – how are they presented? And finally, don’t neglect the terrific marketing value of the picture captions! A well-chosen adjective or a descriptive phrase “with sliders to back deck and yard,” for example, can provide a significant psychological impact on the viewer. 

How are your pictures helping the marketing success of your vacation rental listing? 

About the author

Becky Fischer

Becky Fischer - I have worked for since 2003 and have lived in Brewster with my husband and three children since 2006. I grew up outside of Boston, spent summer vacations on Nantucket, and was married in Orleans. My favorite activities on the Cape are walking on the CCRT, deep breaths at the beach, oystering, yoga classes, and working with my community to support the schools and local events. Wearing several hats at work, I offer photography and video services to homeowners, work closely with the Chambers of Commerce, promote the site through social media, and distribute thousands of buckets, frisbees and lawn signs! You should see my garage! Email Becky