Investing in professional, high-quality images play an integral role in providing your prospective guests with a positive user experience and will support your call for them to book their stay at your property. The importance of grabbing your website visitors attention is crucial and leveraging outstanding images will encourage visitors to stay on your website and learn more about your hotel.
In roughly 0.05 seconds, a user will form their opinion about your hotel’s website and make the decision to stay and browse around or leave. Given the incredibly short time period you have to make a solid impression on your website visitors, it is critical that the visual components of your website convey a strong, positive message. Consider your own experience searching for information online. How often have you come across a business that had a website with not enough information or product images? If a website lacks information and images, does it have an impact on your opinion of that brand? Your website is a sales tool. Displaying professional photos of your hotel will provide website visitors the opportunity to fully understand your hotel and its offerings when they are in the decision making process to book their stay.
Travelers expect to have a clear understanding of what their room will look like and the type of property they will be staying at. High-quality images will support your hotel in setting guest expectations and communicating the various amenities and features available. According to a survey conducted by PWC, nearly every industry saw a potential price bump for providing a positive customer experience, and hotels could expect an average 14% price premium for providing customers with great customer service. The customer experience you provide your guests begins long before they arrive to your property. In fact, it even begins before they book their stay with you. You have the power to make a lasting impression and provide outstanding customer service to guests directly from your website. Your online presence is a tool and, when utilized properly, will capture your ideal guests. By leveraging professional photography across your website you will quickly communicate the customer experience your hotel provides.
Last year, we developed a step-by-step guide to better hotel photography and outlined exactly how you can achieve impressive, high-quality photos that can easily be implemented across your website and other digital properties. While the initial investment can feel a little daunting, the long-term return for having professional photos available to you to use justifies the cost. Let’s examine why investing in professional photography is so important and how it can impact your bottom line.
Take your guests on a visual journey.
Goal: Strive to provide prospective guests with a visual experience that encourages them to book their stays.
Guests should experience the hotel before they commit to booking a stay. Your photos should generate excitement about your property and showcase all of your key features and amenities. An important part of the “dream” phase of the travel journey is when prospective guests imagine themselves traveling to various destinations. These prospective guests should be able to imagine themselves staying at your hotel and your photos should enhance the “dream” state of their travel planning. Authentic images, not stock photos, support this goal and are the ideal option for your website. This is why planning your photo shoot is critical. Not only will you want excellent interior and exterior shots of your hotel, but you will also want to capture details so you can showcase images for various landing pages on your website.
The Cambria New Orleans Downtown Warehouse District hotel has done an excellent job of leveraging their professional images across their website. The images above appear on corresponding landing pages and convey the true spirit and personality of the hotel. With the unique style of the property, guests will be intrigued when they visit the website as they enter the “dreamer” stage of travel planning.
Professional photos should clearly communicate your brand.
Goal: Leverage high-quality images to support your brand message on your website to drive sales.
With the support of a sound SEO strategy and a good website design, your professional photos should convey a visual message that is in-line with your brand identity. Prospective guests should visit your website and immediately understand your property and on-site experience. Aside from hotel stays, consider the value of your event and catering business. These types of sales heavily rely on your brand authority and professional expertise, and those elements can be supported through good photography. When event planners and brides visit your website, they should be able to picture their event being hosted on-property. If they are not able to visualize their event in your space, then they may not initiate the next steps in the sales process. Think about how your photos help you sell your event space and services. Your photos need to showcase your event space capabilities as well as the types of events that can be held on-property. Ultimately, your photos should communicate the compelling reason for an event planner to submit an RFP.
Outshine your competitors with beautiful photos.
Goal: Use your photos to further differentiate your hotel from competitors.
The online space is increasingly competitive for hotels and your competitors are always seeking opportunities to set themselves apart and break through the noise. Evaluating the online presence of your competitors is that you can do it quickly and easily right from your office. Examine their websites, social media channels, Google Business Listings, TripAdvisor pages, and other OTAs. How do your images compare to theirs? Use good photography to highlight the key features and amenities that you have to offer, ideally ones that your key competitors do not offer or do not currently showcase online. At a minimum, the photography you display on your website should be on par with your competition; however, you should strive to have higher quality and more robust photos that provide a visual comparison that clearly illustrates that your property is superior.
High-quality photos can be implemented in your content marketing strategy.
Goal: Support your content marketing strategy with high-quality images.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Implementing a content marketing strategy will allow your hotel to have a streamlined approach for promoting the property which, ultimately, should lead to increased sales, cost savings, and customer loyalty. The following content marketing components are most relevant to hotels:
- Social Media
- Paid Media Campaigns
- Email Marketing
- Traditional Marketing Materials
- Third-party Websites and OTAs
Content marketing strategies are the future of marketing. They allow you to be versatile in the mediums and channels that you select and address your customers by presenting them with a solution. Developing a content marketing strategy will be incredibly difficult to accomplish without the aid of strong photos. Investing in a photoshoot now will provide you with high-quality photos that you can use for several years through various components of your content marketing strategy.
Investing in good photography will set you up for long-term success.
A solid SEO strategy and beautiful web design will help your property, but without exceptional photography, your property is not reaching full potential. By investing in professional photos your hotel will capture prospective guests, enhance your brand identity, be able to set yourself apart from your competitors and support your content marketing strategy. Need assistance in updating your digital marketing strategy in order to capture more bookings? Our team can help!