You already know that photos of your vacation home are important for booking guests: At least 84 percent of travelers go to your website looking for photos of your rooms and facilities.

But have you thought about video?

Video is often seen as photography’s flashy and demanding cousin with expensive tastes — but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Yes, especially when it comes to promoting a business like your vacation rental, a video still needs to look good. However, as frequent YouTube viewers can attest to, a good video doesn’t have to be costly or complex.

How popular is online video these days? There are more than four billion videos watched every day on YouTube, and 72 hours of video uploaded every minute — staggering numbers that make YouTube the second largest site on the web, even if it’s not the only video service available.

You don’t need to reach out to the masses, however; you just need to connect in a meaningful way with the dozens of visitors who may book your vacation rental over the next year or two.

Getting the right information across

Twenty-two percent of travelers visit YouTube for travel info, according to a 2011 survey from YPartnership (now MMGY Global). Video gives you a dynamic way to draw people into what life at your vacation rental is like.

On the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog, blogger and vacation home owner Matt Landau says he turned to video to harness “that unique sense of personality and familial hospitality that we try to impart on our guests.”

It’s qualities like these that can make your home the easy choice when travelers are evaluating a wide selection of options, but they’re hard to capture in still photos.

youtube at a glance

What makes a great video?

Writing for the blog at, Andy Havard of UK-based Skeleton Productions offers five tips for creating effective videos:

  1. The simpler the better
  2. Short and sweet
  3. Get with the times
  4. The big three: Inform, educate, entertain
  5. Remember your audience

1. The simpler the better

Chances are, your vacation rental can “speak for itself”, so try to keep any speaking in your video to a minimum. Whatever you say should add to what the video shows, not distract people from what they’re seeing.

2. Short and sweet

Havard suggests keeping your video between 2-5 minutes — then adds that shorter is always better. Try to balance giving people a great introduction to your property and neighborhood against the fact that people have increasingly short attention spans!

3. Get with the times

Marketing with video is a major growth area, and the Globe & Mail reports that “there will be a steady increase in the number of people viewing video content on computers, tablets and mobile devices in 2013.” This means that there are definitely examples available for you to browse and see what other people are doing.

4. The big three: inform, educate, entertain

Figure out what message you want your video to communicate, and make sure the result is either informative, educational or entertaining. If your video doesn’t do at least one of these three things, it won’t be helpful to you — or, more importantly, your potential guests.

5. Remember your audience

Creating a video is all about your potential guests, and what you can show that will be meaningful to them.

Think about the things that draw people to both the area and your property:

  • Tell the story of your home. Does it have a history? What made you fall in love with it?
  • Show off your space, including any rooms, facilities and outdoor areas.
  • Highlight the features that make it special: Privacy? Proximity to hot tourist spots? Availability of local hosts, like you or your property manager?
  • Introduce the best of the neighborhood, like local cafes, markets, or parks.
  • Remind people about local attractions.

Video is a great way to help promote your vacation rental. Your description and your photos are what will draw people in; adding video to your marketing tools will help bring everything to life.

What are some great, or not-so-great, examples you’ve seen? Share your own videos or others that have caught your attention in the comments section below!