Is Professional Photography For My Airbnb Really Worth It?

September 5, 2019

Spoiler: Yes.

Creating an Airbnb listing and taking some photos is the easy bit. Getting the absolute most from your property though? That takes a little more time and effort.

We can all agree that professionally taken photographs look better than iPhone snaps. But sourcing a professional, liaising with an agency, and booking a shoot is a hassle. So long as guests can see you've got an oven... that's all that matters, right? Isn't paying a professional just an unnecessary luxury?

The answer is a resounding no. Professional photography is essential.

The Comparison

Imagine you're a potential guest. Now consider the following two listings carefully - I have some questions for you..

First, this family home:

  1. Would you stay at this property?
  2. If so, how much would you pay?

Now take a look at this listing:

  1. What about this one? Would you book this property?
  2. How much would you spend?
  3. Which property do you prefer?

You'd pay more for the second property, right? We all would surely?

Take a closer look. The two listings are for the same property.

No surprises then that photography can earn you more. I hear you though - that was just one, carefully selected example wasn't it? Doesn't prove anything. What we need here is some science.

Coming right up.

The Experiment

Our data team have measured the performance of 10 different properties across the last two years. Performance has been split into three components:

  • Occupancy.
  • Average daily rate (ADR).
  • Overall earnings.

We selected listings that had been live for one year without professional photos, and then for the following year with pro snaps. Below are our results.


  • The bars in blue represent the average occupancy rate (%) across the year for the properties before professional photography.
  • The bars in red represent the average occupancy rate (%) across the year for the properties after professional photography.
  • Taking an average across all of the properties, there was an 18.7% increase in occupancy - that is huge!

Average Daily Rate

But occupancy alone doesn't mean very much. If you halve your price then the occupancy will naturally shoot up.

More useful to consider is the average daily rate. Below, consider the uptick in earnings before and after professional photography:

  • The bars in blue represent the average daily rate paid by guests for the properties before professional photography.
  • The bars in red represent the average daily rate paid by guests for the properties after professional photography.
  • All of our properties received a boost. The average increase in daily rate was a massive 16.4%!

So there's more bookings coming in, and more money being earned for each reservation. But what does that mean in real terms?


Whilst people host on Airbnb for a variety of reasons, making a bit of extra cash is normally high on the agenda.

So let's get to the heart of the issue. Will professional photography earn you more money?

  • Once again, the blue bars are before professional photography and the red bars are after.
  • On average, the earnings were an astounding 73.8% higher after photography.
  • In cash? An average of £2,341 extra in the pocket. Not bad for a small investment...!

A Wise Investment

Our properties received significantly more bookings, even at an increased rate.


Because professional photography justifies a higher price.

A gallery full of dimly lit, blurry photos suggests no time or care has been taken with your listing. Guests think their stay might suffer from the same lack of attention.

Professional photography, on the other hand, suggests a professional service - from the housekeeping to check-in and communication.

And with guests spending just 5 seconds considering a listing, you need to grab attention as quickly as you can! There's no better way to do this than professional photos.

It can be a hassle organising professional photography. Luckily, Houst can take care of it all for you.

After an initial onboarding meeting - and once the first clean has taken place - we'll schedule a professional photographer for your home. This is FREE for our full-time hosts, and just £99 for those with less availability. There's no need for you to be present (unless you'd like to be!) and we'll take care of the selection, editing, and upload.

Want to see some our work? Here's some examples:

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