The Perfect Owner Profile
We’ve been told not to judge a book by its cover, but as humans, it’s just how we’re hardwired.
We’re all being judged and judging others daily-Don’t you think? That’s just how the world works.
The question today is, how are you being perceived as a host?
Nowadays, many vacation rental websites provide a section where you can upload a personal photo and share more about yourself, the host, and your vacation rental business.
But are you maximizing this social marketing opportunity? Are you connecting with potential guests?
Don’t make the mistake of others, and leave your profile photo blank!
You’ve seen them before, they look something like this-
This is not a good look! It comes off as if you’re hiding something or you lack confidence in yourself, your product, or service. At best, you look lazy.
Failing to post a photo of yourself is essentially giving travelers a reason not to trust you.
You want to maximize your marketing investments from each vacation rental listing website, right?
Then you’ve got to make people feel like you’re approachable, friendly AND willing to help.
That’s something the shadowy figure above won’t do for you.
A photo of your dog, the beach or even a photo of your vacation home won’t help either.
Increase Inquiries – Improve Conversions
A cleverly-crafted owner biography will aid you in your quest to transform more website visitors into inquiries!
When you make yourself appear approachable, friendly and helpful online, people will reach out to you and ask questions more often.
However, choosing the right photo of yourself is paramount to getting more people to inquire.
If you’ve posted a profile photo of yourself, kudos to you! But what if your profile photo isn’t portraying the best image of you or brand?
In 40 milliseconds, we’re able to draw conclusions about people based on a photo (Psycholical Science Study)
What will people think of your profile at first glance? The research I’m sharing might make you take a second look at your profile photos. I did!
I’m sharing advice, graphics, and a tool that uses artificial intelligence to help you perfect your profile photo.
These tips can be applied on social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, on listing sites, and even on your personal vacation rental website.
I know some owners are reluctant to post photos of themselves online so I’m going to drive home the importance of proper profile photos for those who are still on the fence.
Sell Yourself First
At BreakAway Vacation Rentals, we promote owners and rental brands alongside the properties they rent.
We believe the host is just as important as the property a traveler is renting.
That’s one reason why BreakAway VR provides a dedicated owner page to help share more about you.
It’s sales 101 – you have to sell yourself first.
Really, nothing has changed in the world of selling.
Some people argue that technology has reduced the need for selling, but I disagree.
Much like Match.com has changed the world of dating and how people find compatible partners, selling has gone digital.
Now while the format of selling has changed, the art of selling remains intact.
And it’s important that we take the same traditional selling techniques we’ve used for years, and translate them online.
So remember, sell yourself first before thinking of how to “sell” your vacation rental.
Now, let’s get into how you can start creating an almost perfect owner profile!
How To Capture The Perfect Profile Photo
Your profile photo is, arguably, the most important piece to your owner profile. Let’s talk about it.
1: Focus On Your Face
If you’re going to be successful at selling, you must create emotional connections with buyers.
Our facial expressions speak a universal language that instantly send emotional signals to other people.
Is your photo sending mixed signals?
If you know what to look for, you’re better equipped to get the right shot.
A few of the areas of the face that have the biggest impact of emotional signalling are the eyes, mouth and jaw.
Let’s start with the eyes…
2: Try Squinching
A squinch is a very slight squint of the eyes. A squinch can make you look more confident, competent, influential and increases your likability.
In a poll, the photo on the left was perceived as being more uncertain and vulnerable. The idea is that wide eyes make you appear more fearful and less confident.
3: Don’t Obstruct Your Eyes!
It was found that your eyes should always be unobstructed. People who wore sunglasses and hats received a lower approachability score so avoid casting shadows over your eyes.
The images below are from some fascinating research conducted by the Department of Psychology at University of York.
The study examined 1000 images of facial expressions and rated them by their emotional signals from left to right, least to greatest.
4: Smile With Teeth
How can you be perceived as approachable? Show more teeth! As the diagram above illustrates, smile but not with a closed or a half smile. The study revealed that the more teeth you show, the more approachable you’re perceived.
5: Try Smizing
The term ‘smizing’ was coined by super model Tyra Banks. Basically, what you want to do is make your smile extend up to your eyes!
6: Raising Eyebrows
While not as important as some of the other features but worth noting is the appearance of “youthfulness.” The shape and height of your eyebrows make a difference. It may be worth trying to raise their appearance a bit.
7: Accentuate Your Jawline
When taking a photo, accentuate your jawline. A defined jawline can help you be perceived as authoritative and competent.
8: Face The Light
Facing the light can help make your eyes, jawline and smile more visible. The source of light should be directly in front of you.
9: Go Asymmetrical
Guy Kawasaki, a renowned social media expert, shared that you can make your profile more intersting and engaging by not putting your face in the center. He uses the rule of thirds.
Create imaginary lines on the photo and place one eye on the line/intersection. This is believed to be how the eyes naturally engage with photos.
Using contrasting colors, whether in your wardrobe or as the backdrop of a photo, can help draw attention to your social profile.
Colors can also help to radiate personality and can share insight on the type of personality you have and your mood.
Headshots Are Not So Hot!
Did you know close up photos of the face and full body shots receive lower scores? The best ratings were from head and shoulder and head to torso shots.
If you use a photo from your torso up, consider the positioning of your hands and arms. One trick to appear more confident is to take up more space like by putting your hands on your hip. You can find more information about what your body language says here.
Your posture can tell people alot about you. As you see from the image of Guy Kawasaki, he is leaning in and has his head tilted, which is both welcoming and warm.
I’ve shared what to try, now here is what I’m daring you to do!
Go to Photo Feeler. It’s a photo grading website that is “part people and part artificial intelligence.”
Once you take a few shots, upload them to Photo Feeler and let the algorithums and community judge your photo in a more private, and less egotistical way.
This tool will help you hone in on the emotions you want people to feel about you, your business and your story!
Photo Feeler is a free tool, but does offer a paid option. Photo Feeler analyzes and rates your photo based on categories of trustworthiness, intelligence, influence, the fun factor and more.
This is better than using Facebook or asking a group of friends, because lets face it, friends are less likely to tell you the ugly truth and they also don’t have data.
Strangers and machines will give you better transparency and accuracy.
You can’t help but feel different about your photo after reviewing the results from the crowd and computers.
So I dare you to try it! It may open your eyes to how you’re being perceived. In business, perception is everything.
Things To Consider
There are times when you’ll want to convey different emotions. For example, on Linkedin you may want to use a more authorative photo, but on Facebook you could use something more playful. So consider what you want to share with people in different settings.
Try a professional photographer who can help you create captivating, highly-engaging photos for your owner page, social profiles, blogs and other areas where you can humanize your brand.
Experts also suggest keeping everyone else out of your profile photo so that means no pets, spouses or children.
On the other hand, for your owner page or on your personal website’s about us page you can break some of the rules and use a family photo or show the team behind the business.
These tips are guidlines but not absolutes. The point is to reference them, but don’t inhibit your creativity especially if you’re a “rebel” brand. Just always make sure the image you want to potray compliments your mission and goals as a company.
Thoughts? Please share your comments below!