Why Images are Important
Of course, images are integral in this digital age as viewers can easily decide to leave a site if they are not aesthetically intrigued; but it is even more important for hoteliers, as pictures will inevitably determine whether or not a guest books. In fact, it accounts for 60% of this decision. Studies have shown that 97.6% of those who book online will visit the photo gallery sections of websites.
Price tends to be the biggest factor in the booking process, but photographs come soon after in hotel choice. Studies show th bat after travelers have found hotels in their price range via a metasite like TripAdvisor or Expedia, they check 5 websites before making their final choice. This means that the photographs they see on those five websites have the power to drive or deter a booking. Remember, these are the first impressions that you are offering.
The Difficulty of Accuracy
With the high number of hotels in the world (over 700,000) it is extremely difficult for travel sites to keep up when it comes to content and images. Sevket Seyalioglu, co-founder of SwayPay who has built five OTAs from the ground up, has experienced this directly. He states that while you can get good structured data for around 50%, the content of between 30–40% is quite bad. Some travel sites cannot even find the correct location for hotels, much less proper photographs.
- Not Exaggerating Photographs
While it’s natural to assume that exaggerating the room with photographs would be a good idea, it could actually be detrimental.
It is imperative to remember your potential guests are smart people, and they want to be treated as such. If you take a small room and photograph it to make it appear as a banquet hall, they will inevitably feel as if your intent was to trick them. Plus, it is important to remember that they may have visited sites like TripAdvisor — so they may know you are exaggerating the image before they even see it in real life.
If you do post a misleading image, you will be more likely to receive negative reviews. If guests are expecting something far cleaner, larger, or brighter than what they will actually receive, the disappointment they will experience can have damaging effects on your reputation.
With that being said, of course you want to make your hotel look its best. However, you should keep the image within ten percent of reality, so there will not be any significant discrepancies.
2. Not Underselling Your Property
While it is important not to oversell, make sure you are not underselling either. Photographs should capture all the benefits of your hotel, as they play such a big role in a customer’s decision whether to book with you or your competition.
Keep in mind that you have 365 days a year at your property to get those perfect pictures that could make all the difference in your business. Don’t lose out!
3. Involving People
A huge mistake that most hotels make is to post pictures where the property is empty. A photo of the lobby with no one there can imply that the hotel is not well staffed, and that there is no one there to greet them. Instead, you should have models in your picture checking in, enjoying the facilities, or relaxing in the room.
Psychologically, this enables the viewer to imagine what it is like to be there themselves, and even get excited for their vacation.
4. Having the Right Number of Images
So, what is the magic number when it comes to images on your site? TripAdvisor found that travelers become 150% more engaged on listings that have over twenty pictures, compared to those who have fewer.
However, make sure that your photographs are all high-quality and unique instead of adding mediocre pictures for the sake of having more.
5. Showing it All
It does no good to have 30 pictures of the same thing; instead, aim for having a couple great pictures of every aspect of the hotel. Ensure you show the view from the room, the room itself, and the bathroom — but it’s not just the individual room you should show. It’s also important to have the exterior, the surrounding town, and any amenities within the hotel, such as a convention center, recreational area, pool, or restaurant.
Ensure that the collection of your images show off the area, the property, and the services. You can choose which to prioritize in your photographs. If you are a beach-front hotel, you probably want to show off your views. If you have a legendary spa, you will likely want to emphasize your services.
6. Keeping Your Images Up-to-Date Across Platforms
While you might have excellent photographs on your website, that will barely help you if you only have old, lackluster pictures on other platforms like travel sites or social media. Remember that guests can find your hotel from hundreds of different places, so they should all be giving the best impressions.
7. Don’t Forget About Video
While photographs are great ways to draw guests in and give them an initial impression of a hotel, don’t forget about video! It’s a valuable tool that many visitors seek when trying to make that choice of which hotel to stay at. Be sure to include guests enjoying your amenities in these.
A Strong Investment
If you are not confident in your current hotel photographs, consider investing in a professional group that specializes in hotel photography. Given the information about how much of an influence images have, you will likely see a strong increase in bookings if you choose to do so.
Inevitably, businesses want to save money; but the higher quality your images are, the more bookings you can bring in. If you are interested, some of the leading companies are VFM Leonardo, Sumplex, and ICE Portal.
Remember, a picture says a thousand words. To learn more about how to draw in guests, Download Our eBook.