Hotels are more important than ever before. A hotel is one of the first things that a traveller must cross off of their list, as it will be the hub of their holiday. In most cases, a hotel will define the holiday experience.
With the rise in hotel popularity, the market is becoming increasingly more saturated. More and more hotels are popping up, promising to offer the best experiences at the best price – it’s your job as a hotel owner to really stand out.
The thing is: the attention span of your potential customers has reduced to just a flicker. Your hotel website has only a handful of seconds to grab the undivided attention of your clientele, then only a few more to interest them enough to book or enquire.
Did you know that only 20% of visitors to your website read the words? That’s right – it’s the pictures that do the talking.
Hotels absolutely must focus on having the best photographs of their products, rooms and services, yet it’s increasingly common to see lower-quality pictures that don’t sell the hotel.
Browsing through booking sites, there are so many hotels that have old, outdated, unappealing, and even non-professional photos that could actually end up turning people away!
Don’t worry – it’s easy to turn this around and start to immediately see an increase in your conversion rates with high quality, professional pictures.
Here is my hand-made list of the most common problems I see in hotel photographs. Ready to stop losing money on empty rooms? Read on!
- Bad lighting
Lighting is one of the most important things to consider when taking any photograph; that’s why photographers are usually seen carrying lights around! Professional photography lighting is very different to commercial or domestic lights, and are usually designed to bring out the very best qualities of any subject.
So many hotel pictures only make use of the bedroom lights, which often have unsuitable colour temperature (such as yellows and blues) that when mixed, provide less than ideal results.
Lamps are often blown out and draw unnecessary the attention to one spot, which means that viewers aren’t focusing on what you want them to be.
- Non-parallel lines
If the image appears to be distorted in the image, your hotel’s message will not be transmitted to potential guests – it’s important to eliminate these issues early on.
- Untidy areas
Untidy areas are simply ugly. A bed that’s full of wrinkles. Meeting rooms or restaurants with unaligned, messy tables and chairs. Lights that very obviously don’t work.
Untidy rooms will do nothing but show your customers that you don’t really care about them – you should take every step to make potential clients feel welcome and wanted.
Think about it – would you stay in a hotel that doesn’t look clean?
- Outdated photographs
Your rooms might not have changed much in the last few years; in fact, you might even be known for a certain look or style. Photography standards, however, have – and there are plenty of hotels that do make use of better quality pictures.
If you’re still pushing the old, outdated photos while your competitors are using fresh images with more eye-catching techniques used, you’ll end up losing much more money than new photographs would cost.
- Overedited HDR (High Dynamic Range) images
Nothing hurts your eyes more than an oversaturated, overedited HDR image that burns artificial colours and contrast into your eyes. It’s an unappealing effect that will strain your customer’s eyes, preventing them from even wanting to look at your hotel.
Overedited images are also noticeably unrealistic, so potential customers won’t actually know what to expect when (or if) they sign in.
You can, of course, edit the photographs in post production and try to enhance, light up the areas, smudge the colour differences, but none of these techniques will be able to replace real lights
Below is another example of an overedited HDR hotel bedroom, and how it should look to attract potential customers.
Use the slider to see the difference
- Dark, underexposed images
On the other end of the spectrum, you should also steer clear from dark and underexposed images.
If the photos you use are dark, gritty or underexposed, you will lose a LOT of detail in the image. Interested customers will not be able to get a feel for the ambience of the hotel, leading them to book in with a competitor instead.
So, there you have it: a definitive list of what NOT to display when it comes to hotel photography. If you start following these steps, you’ll start to really see the impact that meaningful photography can have for your business.
The steps outlined here are all ways that you can rapidly boost your visibility on a range of booking sites, such as expedia.com and booking.com – it’s important to note that whilst these are all fantastic ways of increasing your revenue (and even your hotel reputation), it’s still extremely important to hire a professional photographer.
A professional photographer can capture your products and services in fresh, creative ways.
I, for example, use a special technique that allows me to create an atmospheric, premium, glossy photograph in the highest possible image quality.
Each photographs are created by separately lighting each area of the room or location. Then, in post-production, all these images are layered and merged into the final photograph with full control on lights and shadows.