We’ve already covered how vacation rental managers could use AI-generated text to create more enticing listing descriptions, respond to reviews faster, or write about wide-ranging blog topics. Today, let’s have a look at simple tools that let you leverage AI to create photos of vacation rental homes that do not exist. Wait, what for? An obvious misuse of this technology is populating fake listings with photos of buildings, interiors, bedroom details, or swimming pools that do not exist. We’ll show how you can create your great photos out of nothing, from Bali villas to Gatlinburg cabins. By playing with these tools, you’ll be able educate yourself about their power and potential dangers to our industry.
Yet, there are also positive reasons for you to start using AI-generated photos in your vacation rental management business. For instance, they’re cheaper and faster than hiring a photographer. They can be used to illustrate blogs without showing a real place (no privacy issue, no copyright, no asking an owner for permission). When you use AI, the resulting photos do not come out of the ether: They rely on patterns of what a “beachfront villa in Hilton Head” looks like, according to hundreds of photos on which artificial intelligence has been trained. Discover the patterns for your types of properties and see why someone could easily be fooled into believing that they are looking at a real place.
What are AI-generated vacation rental photos and why should you use them
AI-generated vacation rental photos are pictures that have been made by a computer. There are a few different ways to create them, but the most common is to use an algorithm that can generate images based on textual descriptions.
To create an image, a user will enter prompts such as “vacation rental with a view of the ocean” or “luxury vacation rental with a hot tub.” The AI will then generate an image based on the prompts. Prompts can be refined, for example, to add “two bedrooms” or “on the beach.”
Here are some examples that we created in a few minutes, using Jasper.ai (the same tool we recommend to generate AI-powered blog posts and listings descriptions) and Craiyon. Other tools such as DALL-E and Midjourney are also powerful but require you joined a waitlist.
Let’s first take an example with a few images created for a non-existing cabin in Gatlinburg, a mountain town in eastern Tennessee, in the US. Here are three images created by Jasper:
Prompt: “gatlinburg cabin interiors, photo, bright, highly-detailed”
prompt: “gatlinburg cabin view, photo, bright”
prompt: “gatlinburg cabin hot tub, photo, bright”
As I know the Bali and St Barths vacation rental markets pretty well, I was curious to see whether I would “feel” like the photos were from there.
Prompt: “Bali villa, photo, bright”
From the orange pillows to the thatched roofs in shape of a Balinese “bale”, from the lush tropical forest to the turquoise color of the pools”, it feels like Bali.
Prompt: “Saint Barthelemy villa interiors, photo, bright”
Perfect choice for the color of the sand. I can also see a few Caribbean carpentry works here and there. The nature is a bit too lush for St Barths, but you get how hilly it is. And the omnipresent white sofas.
Prompt: ski chalets in the alps, at sunset, interiors, ultra-realistic
If you need fake vintage photos for a blog post: “vacation rental home, Florida, year 1955”
For Star Wars fans: “vacation rental home on Tatooine, photorealistic, sunset views”
AI-generated vs AI-enhanced listing images
So, what exactly is an AI-generated photo? Simply put, it’s a computer-generated image that looks realistic enough to pass for a real photo. For many years, AI-generated photos were used primarily for research purposes. However, in recent years there has been a surge in the use of AI-generated photos for commercial purposes.
Note that we are talking here about generating property photos from nothing (well, from data models, as you will see below). AI can also be used to improve the look of real listing photos. For instance, a company called Let’s Enhance uses AI to improve real estate listing photos. You may want to look at such as a tool for your actual vacation rental listings. AI and machine learning can also help sort out and label photos. This is how Airbnb looks at property photos to decide to which Airbnb Category they belong.
How do AI-generated vacation rental photos work
Feel free to skip this part if it is too technical. Yet, it can help you understand why AI “knows” that to fool you into believing that you are looking at the photos of a real Bali villa, it needs to show you images with a lof dark wood, lush plants, a swimming pool, and orange pillows on sofas.
To generate an AI-generated vacation rental photo, you use a computer program that can create images from scratch. There are several different ways to do this, but the most popular method is to use a neural network.
A neural network is a type of artificial intelligence that is designed to mimic the way the human brain works. Neural networks are made up of a series of interconnected nodes, or neurons, that can learn to recognize patterns.
When you show a neural network a series of images, it will try to find patterns in the data. For example, if you showed a neural network a series of photos of vacation rental listings, it would learn to recognize features such as bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.
The same goes with the decoration style of property: AI can start recognizing the decoration patterns that go with the interiors of a Bali villa, a treehouse in Canada, a ski chalet in the Alps, or a luxury penthouse in New York. Believe it or not, properties are not so original that you cannot derive patterns from their location, property type, or luxury level.
Once a neural network has learned to recognize these patterns, it can then generate new images based on what it has learned. This is how AI-generated vacation rental photos can be created to look very similar to what you see in your own market. Using patterns, AI can guess what a bathroom in a beach villa in Florida should look like.
Here are examples of patterns in photos that AI can notice and regurgitate when creating fake listing photos: Orange pillows in a Bali villa, a blue swimming pool in Greece, and a thatched roof hut in Thailand. These patterns can be used to create AI-generated photos that look realistic enough to fool people into thinking they are real photos of vacation rentals.
Prompt: A pool in an apartment complex in Benidorm, Spain
Why you should use AI-generated vacation rental photos
There are many reasons to start using AI-generated vacation rental photos. To begin with, they can save you from copyright issues. As we all know, using copyrighted images without permission can lead to some nasty consequences. However, with AI-generated photos, this is not a problem. This is because the images are completely original and are not based on any real-world location.
Imagine you need to use, for a brochure or PDF, the photo of a property that could look like it is from your area, but you do not want to go through the hassle of negotiating with a photographer and a property owner to use actual photos, you may have a solution. Fire up your favorite AI tool, enter a prompt, generate a few photos, and pick the one you prefer. No copyright.
Now, it is not true for all software-created images. You need to read their terms and conditions first. For instance, you may be able to use the photo as you wish, but it may be under creative commons, meaning that anyone else can use it too. For the moment, you cannot copy-write an AI-generated image.
In addition, AI-generated photos can be used to illustrate blogs without showing a real place. This is a great way to get your point across without compromising your privacy or revealing sensitive information. If the blog of your vacation rental management company also covers topics that a bit more abstract, such as revenue management, privacy, marketing, then you may use an AI tool to create original images that fit your text.
When AI creates photos of places, it looks at patterns it has seen before. This helps it create realistic-looking images that can be used for things like vacation rental listings or blog posts. For example, if you were to ask Jasper.ai to create an image of a beach house, it would first look at images of beaches and houses. It would then try to recreate these images by combining the patterns it has seen.
Fake: The non-existing team of a vacation rental management company
How to create an AI-generated photo for your Airbnb listing
Let’s take the example of Jasper, our favorite AI tool. You can either go free flow and enter prompts as you see fit. Or you can follow their step-by-step instructions that guide you to refine prompts.
Example with Jasper’s freeform prompt tool:
Example with Jasper’s guided prompt tool:
As you can see, AI-generated photos can be used to create realistic and eye-catching listings for vacation rentals.
The dangers of using AI-generated vacation rental photos
As AI-generated vacation rental photos become more popular, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of using them. One of the main dangers is that it’s easy to create fake listings with AI-generated photos. This can scam innocent travelers and cause them to lose money.
Scammers could go to Airbnb, create a listing, and add beautiful-looking fake photos of a place that does not exist and yet fit perfectly how a traveler would image a cabin in Gatlinburg, a studio in Paris, a villa in Bali, or a ski chalet in the Alps.
The scammers would then wait for someone to book the rental, and once they do, they would send them a message saying that the rental is unavailable and offer to refund their money. However, the refund never comes because the listing was never real in the first place.
So while AI-generated vacation rental photos can be helpful in some ways, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of using them as well.