The days of simply selling “product” (rooms or meeting spaces) are long gone. In its place is a requirement for hotel marketers to start selling the experience!
To do that, all of your marketing assets have to be near flawless, especially your hotel images. Don’t shrug off photography as simply being pretty pictures. They carry so much more weight than that.
Your images prepare potential guests for what’s to come. Along with your hotel website design, they convey your experience with a single glance. And now, we have further proof that photography has the power to determine whether you win or lose a booking.
Senior lecturer Stephani K.A. Robson from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and Breffni Noone, associate professor at Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management, tracked eye movements of 32 travelers who had recently booked a hotel room. In their extensive study, they found that consumers thoroughly examined hotel photography – everything from lobby to rooms to outdoor and meeting space, to gauge if the price matched the experience.
The most interesting observation was that images can often change a potential guest’s mind – making them consider a property that before was not in the running or to drop a hotel they were once interested in.
Does your hotel photography make people want to check in or stay out?
Here are four tips to follow:
Skip the Stock Photography.
Your guests aren’t stupid. They will be able to sniff out a stock image immediately from the obvious too-perfect casting (such as an all-blonde family, or all Asian family), cheesy expressions and fashion, and overall cheap feel. Stock photos of any kind will instantly make you and your hotel look lazy, outdated and definitely not a place worth traveling to.
Don’t Settle for a Few Good Shots.
A recent TripAdvisor study found that hotel properties with over 20 photos received 150 percent more engagement. So, don’t simply feature one great shot of your pool, one great shot of your room, etc. Show different angles, views from different sides of the hotel, other amenities – these are all vitally important to conveying your experience to guests searching online.
Invest in an Experienced, Top Notch Hotel or Architectural Photographer.
Photography is a line item you shouldn’t dare skimp on. Too many hotels have tried to go cheap on photography, finding an up-and-comer, ignoring the lack of a hotel portfolio in exchange for hard-to-resist low rates. But resist you must, because potential guests will end up putting a hefty amount of trust on the photography over everything else. We know a hotel owner who hired his own college-aged daughter because she liked photography and “she took great pictures.” True story.
A quality photographer will have previous experience shooting hotel or architectural projects, will bring along an on-location assistant who is also a professional photographer, will go through each room type with you to look at various angles and lighting needs and will spend a considerable amount of time on editing.
If You Have to Question If It’s Time for New Photography, It Probably Is…
In their study, Robson and Noone also found that their subjects were extremely turned off to old images. In their minds, old equals dirty. So, even if your images feature a pristine lobby, an impeccably styled room, and clean, white table clothes in your restaurant– if they’re dated images, potential guests will still get turned off.
Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com