Everybody knows listing photos are important.

That whole a “picture is worth a thousand words” cliche has been around a long time!

But what is often overlooked is the importance of choosing a perfect thumbnail picture.

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Which one would you choose?

Before you can make a great thumbnail image, you need to have a bunch of great pictures to choose from! So start with a professional looking photograph (we show you how to do that in our definitive guide to AirBnB Photography here).

But which photo do you use for your thumbnail exactly? While many people choose the best picture that they have, this may not always be the optimal strategy.

First, complete a market assessment

What you need to do is review your top competitors, and check out the type of pictures they are using as their thumbnail images. Review our article on AirBnB and VRBO market assessments here.

Now that you have an overview of the market and your competition, you should review your images and try to choose one that stands out! Not only should yours stand out, it ideally should look better.

Second, solidify your listing USP

To help you choose your picture, you should also know what makes your unit different! Just like when you crafted your perfect listing title, it really helps to know your unit’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition). What is the main thing that makes your property different than your competition?

For my unit, I showed off the brand new kitchen with granite countertops and new stainless steel appliance. This is a differentiator because many units are old in Waikiki (built in the 60s and renovated in the 80s is the norm), so this shows well. Mins is the one on the right below…

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 Third, the key for a great Thumbnail is…

The key is, look at the other listings in your area, and come up with something that is different, something that really stands out WHILE showing off your USP and obviously, is a good looking photo.

Some people take a picture of the beach, which I think is disingenuous since these properties are not right on the beach and could lead to bad reviews down the road. So make sure whatever you show will set expectations of your unit correctly.

Also, choosing a photo with bright and engaging colors, something that draws in your guests and makes them want to check out your unit, is your best bet.

Lastly, it is a good to test this out your thumbnail image against several options to see what works best. Try out a couple different versions, and see how your guests respond!