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Travelers are visual. Not only are they inspired by imagery, travelers use photos at nearly every juncture of a travel decision. While rate may be given as the top decision-making factor for travelers, photos are necessarily the second. If the photos don’t speak to the guest, their consideration stops there.

When it comes to OTA distribution, ensure photos meet the following criteria at a minimum:

•    Large, high-resolution JPG photos. LeisureLink suggests 2048 x 1536, as different channels handle photos differently. Each channel will take a photo, resize it, and put it up as-is, whether it’s pixelated or not. This size ensures that no matter which channel it’s on, it will look good.

•    Double check. Because of the way channels handle photos, it pays to check in on your images to ensure there aren’t any that have been mishandled or are poorly portraying the property.

•    Curb appeal. Be clear about your real estate and what you want a traveler’s first impression to be: the lobby, the view, the pool, outdoor amenities, the rooms?

•    Consistency. More often than not vacation rentals don’t have professional photography to rely on, and most travelers understand this. However, ensure that the photos are of a consistent quality.

•    Avoid overlaying text on images.

•    Do not include photos with people unless a release has been signed.

•    Mix up property and unit photos. Channels prefer to see 10 property photos and at least 5 unit photos for each unit.

•    Consider the audience for each channel. For instance, Booking.com has a substantial European audience, and they appreciate bathroom and television photos.

•    Feature amenities. Ensure anything that sets your property apart from others—kids’ pools, an arcade, spa, cocktail bar, and so forth—is included in the OTA images.

•    If your property has views or a great location, make sure to include images.

•    Highlight the high season. If your destination is a summer destination, avoid relying on winter photos and vice versa. Most travelers will want to see your property in its prime.
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