Why are photos so important?
You hear all the time that photos of your hotel are key to a successful website, well-performing website. Humans are visual creatures, we often “buy with our eyes”, especially when it comes to booking a hotel room. Your potential guests want to see where they will be staying: what does the room look like, are there any special features in the room, does it have a view, is there a fancy clawfoot bath, and what else do you offer that they can’t read about in a text description? Guests heavily rely on the photos you provide on your website because in most cases, they haven’t seen your property in real life. Quality photos sell rooms. Imagine seeing a small, dark photo of something you are considering purchasing online. Another online shop carries a similar item but the difference is that their photos are bright, large and show you exactly what you’ll be getting. Where would you buy based on those photos? Naturally, we’re bound to drift towards those bright and clearer photos of the product.
In a case study reported on Tnooz, a Florida property saw a 136% sales volume increase after uploading high-resolution photos to their website. The average size of their photos at the beginning was 800x600 pixels, while the new photos were 4000x3000. Their booking conversion increased simply by adding quality, high resolution photos to their website. In another study by Optimics, it was proven that properties with 100+ photos on their websites have a 238% greater chance of receiving a booking. Now 100 photos may sound like a lot. The key is uploading quality photos that show off your property in the best light possible.
What photos should you show?
Guests not only want to see your rooms they also want to see the rest of your property! When thinking about what photos to showcase, specifically on your homepage slideshow, let’s start with an exterior shot, one that is realistic and will give them an idea of what your property is like. Lobby as well as reception and common areas, are good to include as well, these photos will give your guests an idea of what they will see upon arrival and checking in. Do you have a restaurant on the property? Prove it, show photos of it! People love to visualize the kind of foods you may be serving and assess what the restaurant looks like. If you have a bar and serve cocktails - include those as well.
Next up, facilities! Are there any facilities that make your property unique? Do you have a pool, a recreation area, a rooftop deck or a patio that guests like to frequent? Show it! Photos are the best supplement to text, and often convince guests to make that booking right away!
Remember while creating your homepage slideshow, try not to overwhelm the viewer. Try for 4-6 images at maximum, as guests want to be enticed to start clicking through your website. Ensure all of those images are shown in an order that creates a visual story of what they will see upon arriving, checking in and going to their room.
Room Photos: These are some of the most important photos you will add, if you are missing room photos then you are most likely missing out on bookings for those rooms. Some general recommendations include a shot from the door, one photo from the window, one photo of any special details as well as one photo of the bathroom, specifically if it has some worthy features.
If you are selling multiple room types, make sure to have some differentiation in the photos between those rooms so potential guests can see the added value of higher priced rooms.
How to take photos yourself and make them look good!
You may not have time to wait for professional photos, so you can easily take them yourself with your phone, or a DSLR camera. Things that matter when taking photos:
- Resolution: Always make sure to set your image size to the largest settings and highest quality. This will ensure your photos do not appear pixelated. To check for the resolution, at which your photos are being taken, open your camera app, click on settings and look for Photo resolution. Ensure you always choose the highest, which will allow for much better photos being recorded.
- HDR: Most phones today offer that option, HDR allows your phone to process your photos to get more details from bright and dark areas in the photo. This setting should be found in your Camera Setting while the camera app is open. HDR photos will have finer details and will be sharper.
- Lighting: Natural light is always the best light, make sure the blinds & curtains are open, this will lighten up the room in a comfortable natural way. If at all possible, stay away from using flash, but if you must, try bouncing it off the ceiling as it will lighten up the room evenly.
- Styling: This is key! Before taking photos to ensure the sheets are straightened out, the coffee table isn’t messy, and the TV is turned off. Adding small touches such as a vase with fresh flowers can make a huge difference.
- Rule of Thirds: One of the most famous principles of photography; the idea is to divide your image into thirds both horizontally and vertically, so you get 9 equal parts. Studies show that human eyes follow the lines of intersection. Place the most important things of your image in those imaginary lines and it will create a balanced picture that the eye follows naturally.
- Contrast: Each smartphone has an easy tool to adjust light/dark contrast. If your image or parts of it look too dark, simply touch your screen and your phone will adjust making those dark areas much brighter.