Get Your Guest House ‘Gram-Ready!

After years of listening to envious friends and family saying that your house is picture perfect and has a stunning location that should be earning you an income, you have decided to heed their advice and are ready to tackle the world of guesthouses and Airbnb by advertising your home on the Internet. But, where do you start?

It’s time to get out your camera (or your phone), get snapping, posting online and then waiting for the guests, and extra money to come rolling in. Sounds easy, right? But, selling on the web means taking on thousands of people whose homes also look picture perfect. So, your photography and styling skills will be tested.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Lighting and brightness sells. Get curtains and blinds out of the way and let light flood into the rooms. Supplementing natural light by switching on lamps and bedside lights will create that ‘Insta-perfect’ natural filter that emphasise a room’s best features.
  • Make the most of the space you have. A dining room table always looks better when dressed with flowers on it in an attractive vase.  A ‘dead’ corner becomes a feature when it contains an occasional table, and flowers or ornament. This doesn’t have to be a temporary change for your photo opportunity – choose a look that you can pull off before guests arrive.
  • Stains, scratches and shoddy paintwork are taboo.  A stained carpet, badly scratched table, water stains and poor paintwork says you don’t care. The question a potential guest may ask is, what else is dirty or uncared for in this house? Shy away from showing these off and get them fixed before your guests arrive.
  • Clutter is a turn-off. A room full of personal mementoes, ornaments, books or too much furniture can be claustrophobic. Clear out clutter, clean up spaces and let your rooms shine.
  • Look out for items that could ruin the picture. Scan a room carefully before taking a picture. Remove anything that strikes an off note - i.e. leaving a broom or vacuum cleaner visible ruins an otherwise perfect photograph.
  • Try and create a unique setting that your guests can enjoy and even want to share. Putting a personal stamp on your home with some original interior decorating (such as a unique wall hanging, vintage armchair or striking artwork) will make it stand out from the crowd.
  • Use a single format when taking pictures. Decide whether to use a portrait or landscape layout and stick with it! On a site, this makes images easier to flip through. Remember that Instagram uses the square format, so have a look at the channel that you’ll be adding photos to before committing.
  • Watch your perspective. Using the wrong angle when taking a photograph can distort a room’s proportions. Pointing the camera slightly downwards towards the floor and focusing a metre or so away usually delivers the best results. Get up onto that chair!

Once the bookings start pouring in, don’t forget hat having guests come to stay means that there will be an increased risk and increased responsibility - and this means taking care of insurance and liability! Give your insurer a call to understand exactly what your business insurance policy covers.

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