Part #3: Staging a home to attract rentals
The process of “staging” a property is common practice in Real Estate to sell a house, but for some reason this does not happen so much in the holiday lettings business.
By failing to take care of the styling and presentation of your holiday let you could be missing out on a vital ingredient in achieving consistent enquiries that can be converted into paying guests.
In the last part of our case study we talked about the House Call and the kinds of things we looked with our client to get his rental up and running.
These included a review of the prices being charged by similar properties and we had decided to take a risk on a high quality high value strategy.
Since our Owner is a professional photographer we had a good chance of having the right photographs to back up our pricing – this was really important as we would be charging more than similar rentals. However, as the decoration & repairs work was ongoing and the owner was actually living in the house, the photos were going to have to be taken as each room was ready.
So long as we could get 10 good photos to start with then we could begin advertising the house with the right “first impression”, then we would add better photos as we went along.
Let’s take a look at what we did:
We wanted to focus on the modern contemporary living space on the ground floor so this was done as soon as the area could be de-cluttered and given a coat of paint. Some of the furniture was moved around to balance the space better.
- The conservatory that lead to the garden was a good selling point, having a cocktail bar and panoramic windows. This space was very photogenic thanks to the lighting and modern furniture. We were able to get some lovely photos both during the daytime, and also just at dusk to show off the lighting.
- The garden was a challenge as a new lawn had been laid and had not yet grown so that delayed matters slightly. With modern software a photographer is able to “add” more grass digitally once there is enough green in the shot to base it on.Digital software like Photoshop can make a yellowing summer lawn can look good as new. But it is very important not to use such technology lightly – for one it is easy to spot a “Shopped” image a mile away, and secondly you have to be sure you are portraying the property accurately & not misleading your guests
- The swimming pool and leisure facilities around a holiday home are very important to guests, so we got photos of these and used some old stock photos that the Owner had too
- The photos of the bedrooms had to be rushed so we could get the house listed. The master bedroom is always the most important bedroom so these photos were necessary to make the listing and did delay things a bit.The Owner wanted to replace carpets with parquet and he ended up having to take the photo before the railings were installed around the terrace which makes it look a bit odd. To stage this room properly I would swap to crisp white bedding and add luxurious cushions to the bed and the reclining chair.
On the shelf I would add some flowers in a vase to add colour and I would then get some different angles of the room.
Now that the house has some bookings, the terrace has had safety railings and a canopy installed so it would also be a good idea to do a separate shoot of the terrace to add value. In this house I would set up the terrace as an adults “chill out” space with some good quality furniture and dress it up with cushions and lamps.
- The guest room photos were taken early on as it was already empty, but again I would prefer to do more with the décor in this room to soften it with cushions, add larger side lamps (more luxurious) and some fresh flowers.In the corner is a small kitchenette so I would also take a different angle so guests can properly see what this is, and then down the line I would maybe replace the wooden drawers with a softer light coloured dresser and side tables.
We have lots of ideas for decorating and staging a property on our Pinterest boards, so feel free to come and take a look.
It is so important to take special care over how you present your holiday home for rent, and it is always a good idea to take photos throughout the season so you can show it off to different markets.
Try and use gaps in bookings to renew photography and showcase something special about the Summer; fun at the pool, the spectacular flowers that only come out in Summer, an evening stroll on the prom. Do the same in the winter such as around Christmas time, and you will always have photos available to update your marketing offers throughout the year.
Early morning/evening can be the best times of day to take exterior photos so it is important to be organised, and remember to get plenty of the local area too.
If you can invest in professional photography and staging then this will certainly help your property to stand out and will be money very well spent – on average it may cost you the price of just one or two weeks bookings, but not only will you have these photos for ever, but you will attract more weeks and be able to charge more for a better “quality” product.
Remember that in todays world of Facebook and Pinterest, gorgeous photos are very much demanded by your online audience and will be shared readily.
For more about photography tips for holiday lets click here and remember that Rental Tonic can organise all your property staging and photography needs too.
So we finally had enough photos to get our house listed in late March and hoped that since there were just a few weeks before a likely first arrival there would soon be some deposits coming in to cover the cost of the remaining work needed.
To find out what happened next for this house you can read the next article here: Holiday Rentals Case Study: Where to advertise a Rental and do sign up to our e-Newsletter to keep up with the latest news about this property.