What If Listing Photos Have a Sequence?
No, my friend, not the file number sequence that your camera assigns to each photo as you click the shutter button.
Something a little more subconscious, yet intentional…an order of photos that takes the traveler by hand, leading them through an exclusive tour of your vacation rental.
Have you thought about this? The sequence in which the photos appear in your vacation rental listing?
If you are serious about your vacation rental property and your guests, you have already invested, or have planned to invest, in beautiful images of your property.
You may have hired a professional photographer or used my eBook to create images that evoke an emotional response to the possibility of a wonderful experience at your place.
But are you presenting those marketing images in the best way possible?
After choosing your lead photo, do you arrange the photos in any particular order? Or do you just upload the photos from your computer and be finished with the task?
The sequence in which you present the photos of your vacation rental property is one of those listing tweaks that are not glaringly obvious, yet it will give your listing an edge.
When marketing, the presentation makes a difference. Consider what other businesses do:
Jeweler – Places a black cloth under a piece of jewelry when she presents it to you. The black makes the precious stones and metal appear even shinier while blocking out distractions of other pieces, helping you to focus on the desired piece.
Clothing store – Dresses mannequins in full outfits, including accessories. This helps you to visualize how pieces will look on a person, versus you merely holding up a piece of clothing that is drooping on a hanger.
Furniture store – Displays groupings of furniture as a room, including artwork, lamps, candles, and magazines. This creates a sense of how the furniture could look in your house instead of you relying on your own imagination if you only saw a multitude of rows of couches.
How should you order the photos in your listing then?
First, begin with the same lead photo as your thumbnail. This creates continuity in your listing.
If a traveler sees your thumbnail photo of a gorgeous sunrise from your back deck and proceeds to click on it to see your listing, he expects to immediately see a larger view of the gorgeous sunrise…not a photo of your kitchen.
Seeing the first image in a listing that is different than the thumbnail photo has a high probability to result in a confused traveler who wonders if he is even looking at the listing he thought he had clicked on.
Thumbnail photo and lead photo should equal continuity, not confusion.
After your lead photo, simply take the traveler on a tour of your property. Keep the images grouped together by room, and lead people through them, using images that include parts of another room as a segue to the next room.
For example, my own vacation rental listings begin with photos of the front porch after my lead photo and go in this general order, depending on how many photos I can show in my listing:
Great room with dining area included
Dining area with kitchen in the background
View from the deck
Master bedroom with bath included
Bedroom 2 with bath included
Why do I not place my exterior photo after my lead photo in this example? Simply because I don’t think my exterior is a big draw to my guests. They are more interested in the interior of my property, so I place the exterior photos at the end.
When should you use the exterior photo at the beginning versus the end? When your exterior is amazing.
Also, keep in mind that the exact sequence of your photos will also depend on your location and your ideal guest.
If your backyard is a beach, follow your lead with a couple of your very best beach photos. If your property is set up for a romantic weekend, follow your lead with photos of the master bedroom.
Put the most important part of your property first, and then hold the traveler’s hand as you give her a personal tour.
My ideal guest is a large family or group of friends wanting to spend quality time together. I know that a large seating area for them to gather is very important to my guests when they are searching for a property, so I follow my lead photo with my great room.
The lead photo grabs attention. The next photos create excitement. The remaining photos are a support to verify that your property is the one the traveler wants.
Don’t leave the sequence of your images to the order of your file numbers. Decide yourself on the best presentation of your photos and guide the traveler through a personal tour of your vacation rental property!
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