Think back to the last major purchase you made. Perhaps it was a camera or new mobile. Maybe even a motor-car. Whatever it was, I bet you didn’t buy it without seeing what it looks like first. Chances are also pretty good that the product with the better images held your attention most, perhaps even in the final stages of the buying process.
So why should it be any different when it comes to travellers searching for their next hotel stay?
And it isn’t. In fact, next to location and price, photos play the third largest role in the traveller’s lodging purchase.
If your hotel boasts unique features, stunning architecture or simply modern suites, then you already have an advantage over many other properties. Now it’s time to do your hotel justice and show this to potential guests with hi-res pictures. Don’t limit these to your website alone either. Share these images prominently on your metasearch profile.
To help you get perfect hotel photos, we’ve prepared five easy tips. You don’t need to be a professional photographer nor do you have to shell out a lot of pounds. Instead, sit back and think like the average traveller and keep these words of wisdom in mind.
#1 First impressions count
Be booked not overlooked. Choose an appealing main image that sells your hotel’s unique features. Be it a beautiful rolling English lawn, an outdoor activity center or exceptional architecture: you need to highlight your best feature. Use this one image to bait travellers and get them wanting more.
#2 Consider your preferred traveller when choosing photos
Imagine what might attract a variety of guests to your hotel, and show the amenities that appeal to that traveller’s needs. To do this you have to think like a parent, a corporate executive or a newlywed, for example, instead of a hotel manager.
A family with kids will most likely be looking for the convenience of recreational or communal areas; where the children can play whilst the adults relax nearby. Alternatively, a business traveller will be more likely interested in seeing the room features, Wi-Fi or bar where they will spend more time. Different again is the needs of a couple. Couples on a romantic trip may be looking for a room exuding intimacy. A photo of a fireplace, or an inviting bathtub might just do the trick.
Each feature of your hotel attracts a different audience. Keep this in mind when selecting images.
#3 Variety counts
Adding at least 20 high-quality images (min. 2,000 pixels in width) to your online profile gives the traveller a clear depiction of your hotel. One photo may only speak to a particular traveller. Why limit your customer base? Instead, take a variety of images to illustrate the facilities and atmosphere. Aim to capture the features that make your property unique.
#4 Add seasonal images
Show your seasonal offerings to attract travellers throughout the year. Tempt guests during the Christmas season with your cosy hearth in the lobby area, or with a refreshing swimming pool for the warmer climates. Even a simple image of an outdoor lounge chair and refreshing drink on the adjacent patio table will do. You don’t need fancy amenities to attract visitors. Instead, make the most of what you already have and select photos that exude certain feelings.
By doing this you play on both the rationale and emotional needs of potential guests. In doing so, you make yourself appealing to most travellers, most of the time.
#5 Be critical in your selection
It’s important to create an accurate impression of your hotel to set the proper expectations.
If you are choosing to take photos without a professional photographer, these additional suggestions will help guide you:
- Tidy the area that you wish to photograph by removing all unnecessary clutter
- Remember light is key; use a balance of natural and artificial light if possible
- For outdoor images, take pictures during the golden hour as the sun rises or sets
- Take high-resolution photos of approximately 2000 pixels each
- Limit artistic effects as they will only distort expectations
- Don’t use a lens to make the room seem larger, it can be perceived as too unrealistic
- Keep angle in mind: shooting from the top-down makes the subject appear smaller and the reverse angle makes it appear larger
- Don’t overlay text in post-production
- Don’t create your own image collages
Photos play a crucial role (next to price and location) in the hotel booking process. Each image should reinforce the traveller’s desire to book. Help your future guests make an informed decision that won’t leave them disappointed. Attract new viewers to your website and metasearch profile by standing out with clean, accurate and hi-res imagery of your property’s best assets.