If you want to maximise your hotel’s online bookings, one of the most important elements to get right is your website photography. Industry research has revealed that travel shoppers are up to 150% more likely to engage with a website which features a minimum of 20 photos, so filling your pages with professional, high-resolution photography is essential if you want to beat your competitors and drive more conversions.
Although Smartphones have turned all of us into amateur photographers, if you want to unleash the full selling power of your website you’ve got to get the experts in. Once you’ve scheduled a professional photo shoot with an experienced photographer, here are 5 tips to make sure you get the most out of photo-day.
1. Make Sure You’re Present
You want to make sure you get exactly what you need from the photo shoot, so it goes without saying that you should be there to oversee everything. Your photographer may have conducted shoots for hundreds of properties before yours, but you still need to explain your specific goals and ensure that the most crucial areas of your hotel are captured.
While you’re sure to have plenty of ideas about the kind of result you’d like to achieve for each key room or feature, don’t forget to take a look at your competitors’ photo galleries for inspiration, and to see if there’s anything you’ve missed .
2. Create A Shoot Action Plan With Your Staff
In the week leading up to the shoot, create an action plan with your front desk and housekeeping team to ensure the key rooms are available and the interior and exterior of your property is photo-ready. Create a shoot list featuring the most important rooms, including each of your guest room types, common areas, gardens and any fitness facilities such as a gym or swimming pool.
On the day of the shoot, ask your reception team to block off any car parking space in front of your building to create a clean, unrestricted view of your property’s exterior. Arrange your outdoor furniture and spray down the pool deck to enhance the look of your outdoor areas.
Don’t forget the small details. You’d be surprised at the little things that catch your guests’ attention – the way the toiletries have been displayed in a bathroom, for example, or even to what extent the fruit bowls have been refilled at breakfast.
3. Stage Your Shoots For Success
Brighten up the reception area with fresh flowers, arrange a laptop on a work desk in your corporate suite, fling a colourful towel over a poolside sun lounger and arrange a book and a tall glass of iced-lemonade right next to it.
These things may seem cliché, but they’re exactly the kind of finishing touches that inject life into a picture and get guests picturing themselves at your hotel. If you can get them doing that, you’re that much closer to getting a booking.
4. Consider Using Models
Although an image of a guest room or bathroom is generally best photographed empty, there are other areas of your hotel best brought to life with people. This is particularly true when it comes to your guest facilities and any shots you want to include of local beauty spots or attractions. Sure, a shot of an empty Jacuzzi glittering in the sun can look warm and inviting, but adding a couple enjoying a romantic soak together may really get travel shoppers imagining their breaks. Likewise, a great photo of smiling kids and parents splashing in the ocean together in the sunshine is a powerful way to tell the ‘family-friendly’ story of your hotel.
If you do choose to include people within your shots, do not be tempted to use your staff as stand ins. Hire professional models, and be aware that generally speaking photos of people require a little more retouching, especially if taken outside.
5. Show Off Your New Photos
Now that you’ve got an album’s worth of great photography showing off all that your property has to offer, it’s time to put it to work on your website, as well as on all your hotel’s social media profiles, TripAdvisor and other OTA listings. Make your new imagery the focus of your site (plan a new website design if necessary) and let your photos do the selling for you.
Has your hotel invested in a professional photo shoot yet? Is it something you would consider in the future? Let us know in the comments below!