Driving Direct Bookings: Are Hotel Images More Important Than Guest Reviews?

If a traveller has any suspicion about the quality or authenticity of your hotel, it’s very unlikely they’ll book with you.

A lack of published reviews and a lack of photos are two of the biggest red flags for guests when browsing hotels. To someone viewing a hotel on the Internet, the absence of reviews or images may indicate to them that the hotel is hiding something -perhaps evidence of poor quality service, dirty interiors, or misleading location information.

TripAdvisor reports that 53% of their users won’t book a hotel without seeing reviews first and the importance of managing online reviews is often spoken about as a major point for hotels to focus on. The more hotels respond, the better their average rating. Hotels that respond more than 65% of the time have an average rating of four stars on a scale of one to five.

The presence of good quality images could be even more important.

TripAdvisor published findings stating that when compared to hotels without photos, hotels with at least one photo saw a 138% increase in travel engagement. On top of that, hotels with at least one photo are 225% more likely to receive a booking enquiry. If just one photo can make this much difference, think of the statistics if your hotel develops a strategic plan for your property photography.

During the browsing stage people generally fixate on the hotel name, images, price, and location. This means you have a chance to wow them with photos before they read any reviews.

The methods you use to display your hotel images also makes a big difference to the decision-making process of guests who may book at your hotel.

The do’s and dont´s of hotel imagery

Expedia also performed a study to investigate the way users view and react to hotel images on the Internet.

Using Electromyography, a process that uses electrodes to measure facial and emotional reactions, Expedia identified the types of photos most likely to encourage bookings online.

The ultimate finding was that it’s all about the view, with things outside the hotel often being as important as what’s inside.

Here are the best ways to approach your hotel imagery:

  • Capture a pleasing vista The majority of images that extracted positive emotions from consumers were bedrooms with window views, a pleasant vista, and natural light. The photos helped create an instant reaction between the consumer and the hotel. Positive feelings were also exhibited when customers saw something interesting outside of the hotel like a beach, city, or landmark.

  • Display unique and attractive features If your hotel has any unique features put them front and centre in your photography to delight the eyes of online shoppers. This way the potential guest will be immediately drawn to your hotel.

  • Don’t meddle with perspective, balance, and distortion By far the most popular images were those that also looked authentic. Photos that looked skewed or altered drew suspicion from shoppers because they create unrealistic representations of the property. Hotels should instead keep it simple and try not to show too much in a single shot.

  • Keep images clean and crisp Neatness and precision were the qualities that garnered the best responses to hotel room images, along with light and space. Negative opinions focused on messiness and clutter, clashing colours, odd angles, or missing features such as bathroom or wardrobe.

With eye-catching imagery and unrelenting dedication to quality, it’s clear you use imagery as a powerful boost to your bookings.

Making the effort to give travellers an accurate but pleasant view of your hotel will be worth it and you should see the results reflected in your revenue.

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