What is the best strategy to increase hotel bookings?
B&Bs, hotels, or short-term rented properties can increase their chances of a booking by 225% just by including one photo or more. That’s a pretty big percentage! All hoteliers know about the importance of a good review, but recent studies seem to suggest that the real big factor for an online business is photos, not reviews.
When you throw the effects of photo quality, photos on Google and your own website into the mix, you begin to really see how these are important for your business. Here are some key ways photos are important for your online presence that you’ve probably been overlooking.
I) They make you stand out on Expedia, Trivago, Booking.com, and all the other big sites
39% of all online bookings are already taken up by online travel agents like this - it’s probably the most likely place you’ll be found by future customers given you’ll be putting yourself right into a global online marketplace. Since the mid-90s these sites have begun to take up more and more of the market for booking, and will only continue to rise by very effectively streamlining the whole process for the buyer. Essentially, the most likely way for you to make sales is by optimizing your image on online travel agents.
Hotels on booking websites with high quality photos have a 63% higher click-through rate than those that don’t.
But let’s just take the example of Booking.com. There are 2,302,526 different listed properties on this website, from huge chains like the Hilton to small B&Bs, and they’re all trying to attract new customers. How on earth are you going to be able to stand out without any images? Up to 53% of TripAdvisor users won’t book a hotel without photos, so it’s not really possible to completely do without them. To take another example, on Trivago hotels and profiles with a really high-quality main image (the one that will appear in search results) receive 96% of all the website’s traffic.
That may just be an example, but statistics show as a general, universal truth that hotels on booking websites with high-quality photos have a 63% higher click-through rate than those that don’t. If you want your business to be found by people from across the globe searching the internet for a place to stay, you’ll need to use OTA; if you want to avoid being lost among your competitors, really grab their attention and make sure it leads to reservations, you’ll need to have high-quality photography.
II) They improve the content of your website itself
And, of course, you’re going to want to put photos of your hotel on your website itself.
Better visual content gives you better performances online. It has an influence on both your daily activity at the business and revenues.
According to a study by HRS.com and eResult, 78% of people find photos to be the most important factor in making their hotel choice. Higher than their trust in other customer reviews, which turned out to be only around 66%, young people and modern hotel bookers demand photos of any new hotel. They want to see the details of the rooms, restaurants, facilities, parking spaces, etc. This is what lets them actually know about the conditions and environment of your hotel.
Without high-quality photography, hoteliers are missing out on opportunities to increase room prices and raise star-ratings (because if photos show a higher quality hotel, visitors will pay more for accommodation.) Not to mention improving your online reputation, which is of course key to effective marketing, and your general brand image.
You want the photos to be pretty interesting, however. Research from the company Skyword has found that cool photos with a clear aesthetic get an average 94 percent more views than boring, incoherent visual content.
Don’t be afraid of using “lifestyle” photography which lets you capture a ‘daily situation’ at work to give viewers an impression of your general hotel ambiance.
Hotels are today expected to give a more natural, relaxed style to their service, giving a more cool image and appealing to the millennial demographic. Fredrik Korallus, General Director of Generator Hostels uses “lifestyle photos” as a way of setting them apart from the competition:
“Consumers pay a particular interest to aesthetic these days. They really want to share the impression of having stayed in an interesting, unique, and most importantly, local place”
III) Photos will help you beat the competition in a Google search
Google My Business is the box that comes up in a Google search including a location, or on Google Maps, showing businesses that suit your search in the local area to where you searched. It’s particularly effective for mobile internet searches because of this location function and helps optimize your online presence for mobile use in general. These days with this kind of SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) strategy, you really have to use tools like Google My Business to optimize the online presence of your hotel.
The click-through rate of Google My Business pages with photos is up to 30% higher than those of pages without them.
50% of mobile internet users who make a search in a specific area visit the place they found later that day, and a good 18% later go on to make some kind of purchase or reservation. If you’re looking to find a way to really draw people in using a more specific field of results - your local area - these pages are perfectly adapted to your needs, and completely free!
There’s no faster way for internet users to get information about you and create an opinion on your work than with photos... If you want your business to be eye-catching, you need to carefully choose photos that match your hotel’s ambiance and atmosphere perfectly. After all, they are going to be the number one thing that represents your company online.
Did you know, the click-through rate of Google My Business pages with photos is up to 30% higher than those of pages without them?
That means that not only are these pages absolutely essential to use to your benefit but that you absolutely have to use photos to highlight the quality and professionalism of your work. They will be, after all, the very first representation of your business that future customers will see, and as statistics suggest, 60% of internet users are most attracted to results with good images.
V) Meero can make your online reservations skyrocket
So having photos to show the standard of your work is essential - but that doesn’t mean you can stick any old images online. To tell the truth, nothing will come close to the expertise of a professional photographer with experience in the area.
We have a network of 60,000 photographers spread across the world, meaning we can take care of all your professional needs for visual content wherever you are in the world, whenever you need it. Each one is professionally vetted and trained, and knows exactly what kind of work you need to be done from experience. We can get all the photos of your property straight back to you within 24 hours of a shoot, and you can then use them how you like.