People looking for a vacation rental are people with an agenda. Short on patience, intent on skimming, rather than diving deep, they don’t go to a listing site to window shop vacation properties. They are driving 90 miles per hour looking at photo after photo after photo……..
Trying to find something halfway attractive. It’s not easy, believe me! I’ve been there more times than I like to remember!
And the average attention span of a typical browser is 8 seconds.
That’s 8 seconds to grab their attention!
It’s an absolute truth that cannot be ignored in the vacation rental business. More listings are added to the listing sites every day and it becomes harder and harder to be noticed by potential guests. Even if you’re paying to be at the top.
So what can you do as a vacation rental owner to not only catch potential guests’ attention, but give them their heart’s desire in less time than it takes to finish reading this sentence?
I’m about to reveal an incredibly effective and powerful design tip that stops people’s attention without fail.
And weirdly, it has to do with a field of wildflowers.
Field of wildflowers? Huh? What does that have to do with designing a vacation rental, you wonder?
Before I explain, take 15 seconds and look at the photos below. Throw in some special effects, such as a soft breeze and the warm sun against your face as you look at them.
Wow! Wow. Crazy beautiful, right? How do you feel? I’m guessing pretty good, maybe inspired? Positive? Wildflowers are instant happiness boosters.
Yes, I said instant.
And anything that immediately boosts mood should get your attention in designing your vacation rental. Happiness boosters mean people stop and pay attention. They want to soak up some of the good vibes.
What if I told you it’s possible to bring the mood boosting visual impact of a field of wildflowers into your vacation retreat?
Imagine how popular your holiday home would be if it filled people with a similar sense of wonder? Wouldn’t that be great? It would stop potential guests in their tracks. No more 90 miles per hour browsing. Destination found. Who wants to leave a field of wildflowers?
So how do you translate such a stunning natural landscape into a vacation rental? And more importantly, why?
Let’s address the why first. Because truly great vacation rental design is most successful when you understand why it impacts people.
Once you understand why, you will immediately want to take action. And quickly.
There is a hard-wired physical reason our bodies and brains respond to green fields of wildflowers; it has everything to do with our earliest human experiences. When we lived as hunter-gatherers, we associated such beautifully colorful places with food and water.
Brightly colored plants – orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, red, turquoise – meant water; enough to produce flowers. Water, in turn, meant grazing animals. Grazing animals, in turn, meant good hunting ahead and plenty of rich protein for the tribe.
Likewise, flowers grew in spring and summer and meant warm months of hunting and gathering ahead, as well as a break from the continual worry of finding shelter from harsh weather. It meant longer days, more activity like mating, hunting, dancing, socializing and ceremonial events.
People felt optimistic.
My big, fat point here is that a field of wildflowers meant people felt happy. And we still feel happy and safe when we look at them. Didn’t you feel pretty upbeat just a minute ago when you were looking at those flowering beauties?
So the way we see beauty isn’t merely an “eye in the beholder” thing; it’s a core part of our human nature with deep ancestral origins. See the late Dennis Dutton’s TED talk on the subject. It’s worth it, especially if you’re a vacation rental owner. And it you’re a beauty nerd like me, read his book The Art Instinct, for an even deeper exploration of the topic.
So enough academics. Practically speaking, how do you translate a field of wildflowers – vibrant skies, trees, shrubs, flowers, clouds – into your vacation rental?
It’s actually not terribly hard to do. It’s a four step formula.
The Field of Wildflowers Color Technique
Start by tweaking your vision into seeing the indoor and outdoor spaces in your vacation rental as “natural landscapes,” instead of merely rooms or outdoor areas.
Find photographs of colorful spring landscapes that inspire you. Then, envision the same color scheme built into your interior and exterior spaces.
Let’s look at some vacation rentals that remind us of fields of wildflowers before we get into the how-to’s. These rentals are wildly successful. They book up. One of the main reasons is their color schemes are doing three essential things:
They demand attention, create desire and compel action.
Reservations are not an issue.
Let’s take a look…
The Real Thing
The vivacious greens, pinks, blues, greens and oranges, in the London vacation house above, mimic the prairie wildflowers above. At the same time, see how those same colors don’t overwhelm the room? It’s the same in natural settings.
The Field of Wildflowers Technique is not about dominating a room with psychedelics, but contrasting occasional shots of color with calming ones, such as beige and browns (mirroring dried grasses or soil), blues and greys (colors of the sky), greens (trees and shrubs) and whites (fluffy, billowing clouds). A little color goes a long way.
The patio color scheme follows the same principles (and is in the same rental).
The Real Thing
Here’s another example in an Irish vacation rental:
The Real Thing
The Real Thing
How to Do It
Step 1: Create the “Sky”
People of all cultures and geographies universally love mostly clear skies with occasional fluffy clouds. It doesn’t matter if it’s morning, afternoon or evening; the fact they are mostly clear, with big puffs of fluffy, white, billowing clouds seems to please everyone. They calm people, bring them into the present, make them momentarily forget about their to-do lists.
The dominant color backdrop in your vacation rental will be the colors found in these favored skies. It is the first step in the Field of Wildflowers Color Technique. It is the peaceful element in your rooms.
Pay attention to that last adjective – peaceful.
Your guests yearn for a place to unwind and relax. They want to feel peaceful. They are looking to forget about their chores and work life. Give them some gorgeous sky and they will love you!
Here’s what you do:
A. Start by imagining some of the best skies in your life.
Maybe the sunset on an afternoon when you were falling in love, or the early dawn of a hiking trip with friends comes to mind when you think of spectacular skies. Or looking out the window at an approaching storm cloud while a hearth side fire crackled in the background. Alternatively, go outside and look at the sky now. Maybe you’re lucky and it’s gorgeous outside. Lie on your back, soak up those colors. Notice how calm you start to feel! If it’s winter when you’re reading this, look at some of your favorite photos to visualize. Skies come in many shades depending on the weather and time of day – blue, pink, light grey, yellow, violet.
B. Choose the “atmosphere” elements.
The atmosphere is the part of the sky between the clouds. It can be pale blue, grey, silver, lilac, a whisper of yellow or pink at sunset.
Paint is extremely effective at creating the “atmosphere” element.
Pick out pale, airy paints with a matte finish; summer and spring skies reflect so much light that you have to stay with light colors. They are most like the sky.
Choose a color that makes you feel serene and content. Then paint the walls of your space with it.
Here are some possible “atmosphere” paint options:
E. Choose the “cloud” colored elements.
The most logical and easiest approach is to paint the ceiling a “cloud like” white to contrast with the “atmosphere” color on the walls. Because our eyes are naturally drawn upwards towards the clouds when we are outside, likewise, the same is true in interior spaces. When we look at a matte white ceiling, it evokes a similar peaceful feeling.
The white ceiling method is not the only way to do it however.
If you want, you can paint your walls cloud white and then bring in another “atmosphere” color somewhere else, perhaps on a beam, wall tile, in a painting, on the ceiling (great for ceilings that are too cavernous and high), or in one wallpapered wall. Some people prefer the cloud color as the dominant one. It doesn’t really matter. There are no absolutes. Be creative!
Here are three whites that work beautifully:
D. Make sure your “sky” or “cloud” colors (or a combination of both) make up 40-50% of the room.
You want to make these the dominant backdrop colors against which you will contrast your “leaves, earth and wildflower” elements.
Step 2: Create the “Greenery”
Green is an essential part of any beautiful spring or summer landscape. It is the vitality component to the Field of Wildflowers Technique. The color green is associated with life, hope, sustenance and renewal. And your guests seek these feelings on vacation.
They want to wake up and feel more alive.
Here’s how you make that happen for them:
A. Pick out some green (or partly green) furniture and accessories – a sofa, some pillows, the zigzag patterns of a sofa throw, a painting – and put them in the rooms of your vacation rental. There are tons of possibilities.
Feel like painting your chest of drawers a Kelly green? Go for it! How about a sofa throw? A stack of green books? An actual potted plant? The list is endless.
Here’s some inspiration:
B. The Real Deal: Put some real flowers or sprigs of leaves in a fetching vase or jar.
An authentic dose of nature is a surefire way to please potential and real guests. There is a lot of research on the psychological impact of flowers and greenery (and someday soon I’ll write an article on it). People’s endorphin levels rise at the mere sight of real flowers and green leaves.
By the way, I’m talking about the real thing, not artificial flowers or greenery. There is a vibrancy to real plants that artificial plants and flowers, no matter how realistic they look, do not have.
And let’s face it: 99% of fake flowers and plants are tacky.
Step 3: Create the “Earth”
Most of us won’t have to add anything here. Why? Most vacation rentals are overwhelmed with earth colors already. We are generally earth tone dominant.
It’s the reason I’m writing this blog post to begin with.
I’m talking about our beiges, tans, wheat, browns.
You find them in wood (ceilings, doors, floors and furniture), metals (brass or bronze) neutral upholstery, tile floors, cabinets, stone countertops and fabrics.
I’m not knocking these colors. In fact, they are an essential to the Field of Wildflowers Color Technique.
We need them. They ground us. Bring us down to earth.
We must keep them to a minimum. If you overwhelm a room with earth tones, it’s equivalent to sending this landscape message to your potential guests:
Not exactly a Scenic Overlook.
So enough said. You already have the earth components in place, right?
Let’s move on….
Step 4: Create the “Wildflowers”
Wildflowers tend to come in primary and secondary colors, like red, blue, yellow, orange, pink and violet. These colors are electrifying. They energize us. They make us feel positive and “up for anything.”
Think about that for a second. Wouldn’t you want to feel this way on vacation? Happy, positive, energized?
And if you saw these bright, vibrant colors when you were clicking through a bunch of earth-tone dominant vacation rentals (that make you feel like you’re in the desert with no water), wouldn’t you click away at those photos?
So, don’t hold back. Animate your guests and potential guests with energizing colors. Get them out of that plowed field we saw earlier.
How to do it:
This is the fun part! No inhibitions allowed! You have already created a gorgeous, peaceful “sky” and some vibrant “greenery;” your “earth” components are present.
There is only one more thing to do. It’s time for the “wildflowers.”
Go for those hot pinks you’ve always coveted or Chinese red! Sprinkle in some yellows, oranges, Mediterranean blues and violets. Armchairs, sofas, headboards, painted furniture, pillows, bedspreads, blankets, rugs, artwork, lampshades, books, wallpaper, decorative objects all work. You name it.
Just make sure the colors are exciting. The colors should make you happy, positive, energized. That’s the point.
No drab colors allowed.
Here’s some inspiration:
TO FINISH UP…
Check out the gorgeous room below for an illustration of all four elements – sky, greenery, earth and wildflowers – creating The Field of Wildflowers Color Technique.
The Field of Wildflowers Color Technique is not the only color method out there. In fact, with time, I’ll do more articles on the use of color, but it is the one color scheme, that if you read no other post on color – ever – will be more than sufficient in making your vacation rental’s color palette stand out brilliantly.
And once you start standing out, getting potential guests to pay attention to your lovely abode will be effortless. People will actually want to click-through your photos, even share them on Pinterest or other social media sites.
Now get to work! :)
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. If any of you have any color related questions about your own vacation rentals, please post your question, along with a link to your home stay, and I’ll do my best to address them. I love helping my subscribers!