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Lodging Update December 31st, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 12/31/17 Topics: Comments:

Almost every day, a vacation rental or hotel blog admonishes property owners and managers to invest in professional photography.

We heartily agree, but we say phooey on pseudo professional photographers!

The proliferation of cameras has bred an ever larger list of "professional" photographers who are simply not what they say they are. This is because photography has changed radically. Only professionals who have mastered High Dynamic Range (HDR), web-optimized photography, 360-degree panoramas and 3D virtual tours are truly pros.

Joseph, Jonathan, Noel, and John - our Signatours Photo Team experts - have revolutionized the use of this new technology a decade ago. We have been investing in it ever since. Most recently, we have added superb 3D walk-through tours, since 3D virtual tour equipment has improved their unwavering quality standards.

If your property manager doesn't comprehend how critical photos are or isn't willing to dish out the high cost of superior photography, you have the wrong manager. They are cutting your income and you may not even know it.

If they were musicians, you would notice they are playing off key. If they were baseball players, you would see they are throwing screwballs. If they were politicians - well, you would agree that are bumbling bureaucrats at best.

So this month, the attached Update Letter offers a basic primer on how HDR photos are crafted and how they will make you far more income. Call today to get your photos fixed!


The term "High Definition" may apply to your television but "High Dynamic Range" photography refers to a technological process so powerful that it has been patented by Adobe Software. It's so powerful that our company committed to the cost and quality over a decade ago.

Only one in every ten thousand amateur photographers (even one in a thousand paid professionals) can master HDR imagery.

Our goals are to produce architectural photographs that accurately replicate what the human eye sees as much as possible. The problem with shooting interior spaces is that the range of light and contrast in a room varies from very dark (a corner), to diffused light (a ceiling), to very bright (a window).

All digital cameras require the photographer to adjust aperture (F-stops), shutter speed and ISO (light sensitivity) to achieve a properly exposed photo. There are 22 'F-stops' (and even more shutter speed and ISO options) a camera has to adjust for a proper exposure.

For a hundred years, photographers have tried to replicate what the human eye sees, sometimes using odd and time-consuming techniques. It was said that Ansel Adams - a dedicated outdoorsman who was famous for his stunning Yosemite National Park photos - spent more time in the darkroom than he spent shooting.

HDR photography is not for the unskilled or lazy because it requires patience and the fine hand of an artist. Up to 16 images are required for every single final photo. Each image is shot in a "Raw" format in order to stuff every pixel of possible light (or dark) into the file.

The resulting large files are uploaded to overlay each other in a super-powered computer, where they can be examined to find the best exposure for every inch of the room. This is to get that dark corner lit up or to see detail out of a window. The photographer then must tone each image to match what type of light it was shot in. The whole process takes 15 to 45 minutes per image. Pesky problems, like blinds, that are composed of very dark and very light components must be manually adjusted.

In the end, the photos are truly dense in pixels and hence the description "High Dynamic Range". The massive file sizes must be visually recalibrated to reduce the size and improve website loading speed. The end result is what we call the "Perfect Touch".

The difference between Michaelangelo and his contemporaries wasn't his paints or brushes, but that Michaelangelo had the artist's touch. So does our Signatour photo staff.

Putting inaccurate and embarrassing photos on websites indicates to consumers that the property is not of the highest caliber. If your manager does not comprehend this simple premise, ask yourself what other mistakes is your manager making?

On the other hand, Signatour photos tell guests that a property is well cared for by diligent people who understand quality. This results in more bookings, higher rates and greater income for every property we manage.

Is it time to upgrade your property with photos that show it in the best light?

Read more

Author: Wm. May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0588 – 12/31/17
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. –

Lodging Update November 30th, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 11/30/17 Topics: Advertising, Dynamic Pricing, Housekeeping, Vacation Rentals Comments:

Many of our day-to-day services for property owners are hidden, but essential. Take for example - a day in the life of the reservation staff. Here is a peek. Read more

Lodging Update October 31st, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 10/31/17 Topics: Comments:

Here are some of the things we provide to offer the most comprehensive service in the vacation rental industry. We do them all because, well they are all required to provide the very best management services. No one else can match all of these. Read more

Lodging Update September 30th, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 09/30/17 Topics: Comments:

Many of our day-to-day services for property owners are hidden, but essential. Take for example - a day in the life of the reservation staff. Here is a peek. Read more

Lodging Update August 31st, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 08/31/17 Topics: Comments:

Many of our day-to-day services for property owners are hidden, but essential. Take for example - a day in the life of the reservation staff. Here is a peek. Read more

Lodging Update July 31st, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 07/31/17 Topics: Comments:

No other lodging manager can claim to be as fully advertising tech-enabled as we are. That is how we produce the highest net income for owners. That means putting properties on hundreds of websites, referred to as Online Travel Agencies (OTA's), using the secret technology we developed in ways no one else can match. Here are just a few: Read more

Lodging Update June 30th, 2016

By Wm. May
Published: 06/30/17 Topics: Comments:

Our JOB #1 is to provide clean, comfortable safe accommodations. Housekeepers, maintenance people and property managers are on the front line 7 days a week making that happen. Read more

Lodging Update June 30, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 06/30/17 Topics: Comments:

To continue with this months theme of funny, ha ha, have fun summer, here are a few wry comments that keep us bustling during the high seasons. Read more

Lodging Update May 31st, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 05/31/17 Topics: Comments:

Lodging is one of the industries most affected by the dominance of the Internet. Here are things you may not know about lodging today. Read more

Lodging Update April 30th, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 04/30/17 Topics: Comments:

This month let us burst some bubbles, dispel some myths and have some fun. The list is surprising long and we can only cover a few. The answers are sometimes just plain unexpected. Read more

Lodging Update March 31st, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 03/31/17 Topics: Comments:

What have we done for you lately? It’s a fair question for any lodging manager. Of course doing everything well is the entire job in a nut shell. But this is a nutty business and sitting on our laurels is not enough. Read more

Lodging Update February 28th, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 02/28/17 Topics: Comments:

Cleaning full sized homes is far more complicated than simple hotel type rooms. They are much bigger, have more bathrooms, more beds, patios or yards, and those pesky kitchens. Read more

Lodging Update January 31st, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 01/31/17 Topics: Comments:

Research - Everyone knows vacation rental income is growing rapidly and much faster than lodging in general. One research company says vacation rentals generated 3.36 million revenue in 2017 and will grow at 7% for years to come. Giant companies all want a piece of the "Specialty Lodging" market. Read more

DETAILS: We work to keep this information up to date, but details do change from time to time based on circumstances, often on short notice, and sometimes beyond our control. To verify any answer or other information you may need, please call or email us anytime. Allow a reasonable amount of time for response. Only legitimate inquiries will be answered.