Guest post by design specialist Jo Alcorn for CanadaStays & Duuo

Are you getting enough bookings for your vacation rental property? Giving your listing (and space) a mini makeover can increase interest in your property and generate more bookings. I recently spent an afternoon making over a vacation rental property to do just that.

Here are my easy, low cost tips to enhance any vacation rental property in a few easy steps.

Individualized Charm:  This will set you apart and let guests get a sense of who you are. To make guests feel special, try including a welcome note with personal recommendations on where to go and what to eat.  Also, leaving instructions around the house on how to use appliances or where to find certain things in the home will make it easier for guests to navigate and it’s a simple way to connect and create memorable moments.

Minimal Look, Maximum Return: While you want to make the space feel homey, you also want to make sure it feels clean, tidy and uncluttered. This way your rooms will always look put together and travellers won’t feel like they are intruding on your personal space.

Vacation rental staging - living room (before)
Vacation rental staging - living room (after)







In the living room, I added accent pillows to give the living room a pop of colour, making it look warm and welcoming. The coffee table additions invite guests to feel at home, with board games, candles and books. Even with these additions, the space still  looks tidy and clutter-free.

Got Décor?: When it comes to vacation rentals, travellers look for the coziness and comfort of a real home and not a sterile hotel room. You want your pictures to bring that feeling to life, so why not add accent pillows that give the space a pop of colour, or some simple artwork that showcases your personality.

How not to photograph your vacation rental (bedroom)










In this studio space, the living area also turns into the bedroom, so I wanted to make sure that while it’s the same space, there is an individualized look and feel when converted from living to bedroom. Styling the bed and adding a few personal touches makes the room look more spacious.

Ready, Set, Click: A picture is worth a thousand words and it’s the number one  thing that entices a potential guest to book a vacation rental property. That’s why the quality of the photo is as important as the staging. You don’t need to be a professional photographer to snap a strong photo. Just stick to these tips:

  • Shoot with a real camera, not your phone, to get better quality photos
  • Take photos when natural lighting is at its best – this creates a warmness to the images and showcases your home in the best possible way
  • Save images in high-resolution so you get the best quality photos that showcase your home just as you intended
  • Your first image sparks interest, so choose it wisely – that hero image can make all the difference of someone clicking on your property or not
How not to photography your vacation rental kitchen
Great photo of vacation rental kitchen








How not to photograph vacation rental office space
Great photo of work space in vacation rental








The lighting in the before images was dark and made the space look small. By utilizing the afternoon light, the space looks more inviting, open and even bigger!  

Keepin’ it Fresh: The bathroom is probably the most personal space in the house and one of the hardest to make look inviting, especially in a small space, but there are simple tricks to make people say ‘wow’ when they scroll to the bathroom shot. I suggest you:

  • Use natural lighting to make the space look open and inviting
  • Keep the space decluttered so it looks clean
  • Keep the shower curtain closed, the garbage bin out of sight and bathroom products tucked away
  • Add a few finishing touches like colourful towels and plants to make the space feel homey, yet elegant –  these require minimal maintenance but give that hotel clean feeling

How not to photography vacation rental bathroom

Great photo of vacation rental bathroom










This was my favourite room to makeover. The natural light, accessories and finishing touches opened the space and made it inviting.   

Hook People with Words: The description you create is almost as important as the photos. Not only does the description allow you to show off your personality, but it allows you to bring your space to life in a way photos cannot. Be concise and make sure your photos match your description; don’t talk about the spacious bedroom on the second floor if you don’t have accompanying imagery.  

Protect your Home: Now that you have the tips you need to create a sought-after vacation rental property, make sure it’s protected when you’re not around. Check your home insurance policy – if it doesn’t clearly state that short-term rental activity is permitted, you may not be covered for short-term rental related losses.

That’s why I always recommend getting your own insurance as an added layer of protection. Duuo is an on-demand insurance service that allows you to pay only for the nights you want short-term rental coverage. It’s designed specifically to protect short-term rental hosts and their homes regardless of the listing platform. To learn more about how you can protect your rental, visit


About Jo Alcorn:

Jo Alcorn's tips on how to enhance your property

Jo Alcorn is a celebrity interior and home product designer, expert instructor, corporate ambassador and TV personality.  To learn more about her line, visit Follow her on twitter at @Jo_Alcorn.

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