Curb appeal: it’s the attractiveness of a building (such as your hotel) as viewed from the street—the curb, if you will. And digital curb appeal? The attractiveness of a business (again, let’s say your hotel) as seen online. But what actually constitutes a hotel’s digital curb appeal? In a word: images.
So listen up, because I’m going to give you the lowdown on how to make your digital curb appeal more appealing.
What’s digital curb appeal got to do with running a hotel, you ask? A lot: Now more than ever, how successful your hotel’s online presence is at generating bookings depends on the quality of its content.
Content, by the way, is anything and everything that explains, describes, or showcases your hotel to potential guests. Hotel descriptions and amenity listings are a big part of this. What stands out most though are your hotel images.
There’s a little secret, a marketing tip, that chains such as Marriott and Raffles and select independent properties including Hermitage Bay and Havana San Antonio are in on. But since they’re not about to come knocking on your door to share it with you, I’m going to, here.
Powerful visuals win bookings
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, Jamie, I know: hotel profiles need to have a picture of the hotel on them.”
Let’s take a step back and really think about this for a minute.
You have a website, an online hotel profile, and a social media account or two. You’ve got a picture of your hotel on each. Maybe you’ve even started paying for a digital hotel marketing solution.
So where are the bookings? You’re using a reputable booking engine. Your availability is up to date. Your rates are accurate and attractive.
You’ve even renovated recently—said, goodbye, 1990s linens, and all.
So what gives?
Your photos . . . how do I put this delicately . . . your photos might need a little work.
The one of the hallway. The off-center shot of the room number. The yellowed image of a croissant at the breakfast bar. The small, pixelated picture of the front lobby. And that scan of a 35 mm…
I could go on and on.
Sure, they aren’t all bad. But they aren’t all good either.
And that’s the problem.
Don’t believe me? Open up some new tabs in your browser. I’ll wait for you…
Now, enter your hotel’s name on:
- Your default search engine
- The hotel metasearch site you’ve signed up for
- The OTA websites that you pay commissions to
- The social media sites on which you have business pages
See what I’m talking about now?
Think about how your hotel photos really look
Chains and luxury hotels know the value of great photography when it comes to converting lookers into bookers.
These establishments also understand their customers. They recognise that a lot of travellers want to see breakfast included. They know that their guests want access to reliable Wi-Fi. They know people look for spas, pools, beaches, and hot tubs.
Seasoned, successful hotel managers also know their properties like the back of their hand. They know how their rooms look, they know what amenities are available and what services are on offer.
So they show potential guests exactly what they’ve got.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Makes sense, right?
But what might come as a surprise is that a low-quality image does more harm than good.
These hotels know it. Now you do too.
Some local independent hotels already get this
If you’re not one of them, learn from them. Get having a top-notch hotel profile down to a fine art. Showcase your property with images that speak directly to your audience.
Are you a family-friendly hotel? A romantic getaway spot? How about an off-the-beaten-path stop for Millennials in search of adventure?
Take a look at the images your guests share with the world while on vacation (Instagram is a great research tool for this, by the way).
The kinds of images your customers take and post are the kinds of images they want to see. And what they take pictures of—the pool, the meal at the restaurant, the shabby-chic decor—is what they’re looking for in a hotel.
Show them you’ve got just the place for them with your own images.
But don’t stop there.
Make sure your hotel photographs are high quality. A resolution of 2000 pixels wide is best. Craft a story through your visuals. Reveal the room one image at a time. Focus only on the relevant attributes—so not the door number or looming hallway.
Keep images consistent in style. Make sure your hotel photography is clear of dated filters or artistic edits.
This is what takes a hotel profile and official hotel website from that’s an option to that’s where I want to be.
The chains and the luxury and design hotels use such hotel images and build such profiles for a good reason. They generate bookings.
A lot of bookings.
Go through all of your digital hotel images
Start by removing the ones that don’t show your hotel at its best.
Still not sure which hotel images to keep and which to ditch?
Each hotel image should make travellers want to see the next one, and the next one, until they feel the need to book with you.
If your hotel images aren’t accomplishing this, then you’re missing out on bookings. It’s as simple as that.
Don’t panic. A good eye takes time to hone and an appealing library of hotel photos takes time to curate. Even some of the bigger establishments publish less-than-fetching photos sometimes.
But many others have used these tips to create killer content that gets rooms filled and influencers talking.
And when you do follow the above suggestions, all of your hotel’s online imagery will start to work together, and benefit your property by fostering a digital curb appeal that leaves your competition in the dust.