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How great photos can win more bookings on your website

We all understand how important images are when choosing a place to stay when going on a trip or holiday.

But have you got it right on your own website?  Do you know what it takes to use an image that will make the difference between a traveller booking your accommodation or visiting another website?

Hopefully by the end of this blog you’ll have everything you need to start increasing the conversion rate, as we discuss all the tips and tricks to achieving a perfect photo that’s irresistible to guests.

You must get great website photos

The first thing you need to understand is that your website is an extension of your physical property, and you need to treat it as such.  Don’t leave all the wonders of your hotel to be a surprise or up to the imagination of your guests.  You absolutely have to showcase everything amazing you have to offer.

A few reasons why images are so important include:

  • Allowing travellers to quickly learn more about your property, amenities, and destination.
  • Travellers can develop an emotional response and connection – which is super important in getting them over the line. Emotions are a huge driving force for decision making.
  • You can tell a story – just with an image gallery you can create a compelling reason why guests should stay at your property.
  • You can target your ideal audience with specific photos – if your typical guests are families for example, you can use photos that show families in the property or display family-friendly amenities.

More people will view image results of your property on Google than traditional results

What you need to do before taking your pictures 

It’s important to do some pre-planning before taking your photos.

First and foremost – are you going to take them yourself or will you hire a photographer?  Consider both your budget and your goals.  Afterall, there’s more to taking a good photo than simply having a fancy camera.  However you know your property and your destination best, so if you have a good eye it could be worth having a go at it yourself.  Just be sure you do have quality equipment.

Either way, you need to outline what you plan to shoot and when. You want to ensure everything is captured in its best light and that you are obtaining images you know will entice travellers once they see it on your website or social media pages.

It also goes without saying that you need your exterior, rooms, and other interior areas to be looking as good as they can before you photograph them.  Be careful here though.  Don’t be tempted to dress up your rooms un-realistically or fill your hotel with props and extra features you think will make a photo more exciting or appealing.

Guests want to see your property as it will be when they come to stay, so give that to them.

5 best practices for improving your hotel photos

Alright, here we are at the crunch.  Let’s detail some of the best tips you can use to make certain your website images are up to scratch and are convincing travellers to click ‘Book Now’.

1. Impeccable lighting

Lighting is the key to any spectacular photo and it’s something photographers agonise over.  In your case, you may want to be using natural lighting whenever possible to give your property a comforting, authentic feel.  With this in mind, early morning or late afternoon are going to be the way to go. 

When it comes to the interior of your lodging and your rooms themselves, natural lighting might not always be possible if you want to capture the best shot.  So learn how to stage lighting, using lamps, overhead lights or other sources to have everything in frame looking perfect.

2. Spatial awareness

Knowing where to be or where to position the camera when the shutter clicks is crucial to ensuring your rooms look amazing. Generally, you can make rooms look bigger and more inviting by taking photographs from corners or through doorways.  Using a wide angle lens is also beneficial.

It also helps to tidy the room and remove anything that could be seen to clutter up the shot.  Like we said, don’t use any unnecessary props.

3. Know your angles

If you don’t know instinctively what will make your hotel shine, spend some time in the spaces you plan to photograph to get an idea of what angles you should use.  Some believe shooting from high gets the best shot, but setting your camera low, below shoulder height can really make an impact and give your spaces more presence.

4. Go for immediate impact

Try to pick vistas that travellers will instantly react to, and imagine themselves experiencing.  Think about capturing rooms with window views, or putting any of your unique features or amenities front and centre.

Make sure to balance this impact with the need to keep images clean and authentic.  Try not to distort anything or edit them in a way that looks fake.

5. Always include room interiors in your galleries

The room is where guests will spend a large amount of time, so it’s pretty important they know what they’re getting into. 

They want to know where the bed is, what furniture is in the rooms, what colour the walls are, how much space there is to move around, and more. 

Showing inside your rooms in detail also means guests won’t be surprised or disappointed when they arrive, eliminating the chance for a bad review.

More photography tips

Some other factors you should consider when shooting your photos include:

  • Keeping seasons and weather in mind – when does your property truly shine?  This is when you need to do your photoshoots
  • The need for a human presence – This should be viewed on a case by case basis.  Sometimes the need for a human presence is there, to give guests a better idea of how they might enjoy your property, but ultimately it should be spared where possible.
  • Symmetry – Symmetry puts the eye at ease and makes things seem much cleaner and more organised, creating a better impression on people viewing your website
  • Never too many photos – Once, 20-30 photos might have been deemed acceptable.  Today, with such a vibrant online merchandising environment, even small properties should consider having more high quality photos to use in their gallery, on their social media pages, on their booking engine, and third-party booking channels.

Your images must strengthen your business marketing

It’s great to have 50 amazing photos showcasing your property, however if your website isn’t well designed, and you aren’t active on social media, and you aren’t using an online booking engine then they might do nothing to help increase your occupancy.