Your hotel’s website is search engine optimized and ranking number one on Google for your most competitive keywords; the website is enhanced with incredibly riveting content; the hotel’s pay-per-click program is performing exceptionally well; hotel review sites are filled with positive comments glorifying your hotel’s service; and the property is engaging with the community on major social media channels. In short, your hotel is an online marketing pro. But why isn’t it bringing in more reservations through these online channels? Maybe it’s time to take a look at the hotel’s photos.
Travelers Searching Online for Hotel Photos
A major source of all hotel reservations results from online channels. Travelers search and compare hotels online before making a reservation. Studies show the top two main factors in the decision process are reviews and photos. People look online for visuals of what will be offered at the hotel. Beyond the textual content, photos create the first impression of the hotel for travelers. Professional photos accurately depicting the hotel’s exterior, lobby, guestrooms, restaurants, recreational areas, local attractions and other features the hotel may offer can make all the difference.
Even the number of photos a hotel offers can influence the searcher. The more high quality photos the better. Additional photos keep potential guests engaged with the hotel online. Twenty photos are recommended, and according to Brian Payea from TripAdvisor, hotels with over twenty photos see travelers 150% more engaged with the online listing. As sites realize how important photos play in the booking process more attention has been given to photo opportunities. The VFM Leonardo VScape tool increased the number of photos from 20 to 50, and Google Places now allows 10 photos instead of 5 to be added to the page. Trends prove the more photos a hotel displays the greater the engagement and reservations made through the hotel’s online channels.
Don’t Forget About Hotel Photography on Other Travel Sites
Loading new and improved photography to the hotel’s website isn’t the final step. Hotel photos need to be monitored across all travel sites. Travelers search and review hotel photos on third party travel sites, review sites and social media. On these supporting sites it is important to verify all photos are up to date and match the imagery presented on the hotel’s official website. Any old and unprofessional photos can hinder the hotel’s conversions by diverting searchers away from the page and to other hotel listings with better photography and more pictures to browse through. Some sites like TripAdvisor even allow guest photos to be posted. While these are not professional photographs, they are visual reviews of the hotel and should be monitored as a part of the hotel’s reputation management strategy.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
Hotel photography can convey a thousand words about your hotel. Supplement your online marketing plan with professional photos and numerous images of room types and public areas in the hotel. The imagery presented online is the first tour guests will take of your hotel. Guests are looking to place themselves walking through the lavish and welcoming entrance, relaxing in warm and comforting guestrooms, socializing in the beautifully decorated common areas, taking a dip in the large, clear blue pool and finding entertainment at nearby local attractions. Make sure your hotel photography is enticing and not distracting the traveler with outdated styles, poor lighting and blurry images. Make a professional photography shoot fit the hotel’s budget to further enhance your online marketing efforts. The online marketing initiatives you are employing create the traffic and attention your hotel needs; now show off your hotel through proper and stunning imagery and convert searches to more bookings.
Thinking your hotel needs some updated photography? Here at Blue Magnet Interactive we partner with Ira Wexler, an excellent hotel photographer who has worked with a variety of hotel brands across the country. Regardless of who takes your hotel’s photography, make sure that they have experience conducting professional photo shoots. Nothing screams Bates Motel quite like an amateur Polaroid of your hotel gift shop. Spend the extra cash to make sure the photos are done right. Your revenue manager will thank you in the end!