Photography and Your Hospitality Property
For this post I want you to start by using your imagination. Imagine you have a few days to yourself and you want to get away, to a hotel or bed & breakfast just to unwind.
You go to your favourite hospitality booking engine and start looking for a place. You find a location and a property that looks promising. You go through the booking procedure only to find out the hotel is full for those dates you have available.
You like the area and find another property just down the street and want to take a closer look at this place. You look at the details page of this hotel and see the photographs.
You are disappointed.
The rooms look small, dark and dingy and do not feel very welcoming. Compared to your first choice it is very disappointing but the location is perfect and it is cheaper.
So you give it some thought and I say “what the heck”. You book the place.
A few days later you arrive at the hotel, walk into a very nice lobby and you try to remember if you had seen a picture of this lobby on their website. You don’t remember.
The check-in is very friendly and efficient and you make your way to your room.
What happens next is totally unexpected.
You walk into your room and just stand there – shocked! Your first thought is “what are the owners thinking? This room is amazing!”
The room was large, beautiful, well lit, with a very elegant décor. You were not expecting this.
The room you saw on their website was nothing like this. To be honest, the room looked twice as nice as the original property you wanted to book and was less expensive.
Do you see where I am going with this story?
According to statisticbrain.com hotel bookings (2012)
Percent of all travel reservations made on the internet 57 %
Percent of same-day hotel reservations made from a smartphone 65 %
And these numbers are only going up.
Do hospitality property owners realize how much money they are losing by not showing their properties in the best light possible?
We tend to be very visual when buying or booking items and if does not look appealing, we will move on. For the average hotel or bed & breakfast that can add up from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
This is simply because the pictures on their website or booking engines do not represent their property correctly.
Image how many people would have checked out both properties and chose the other hotel even though it was a little more expensive, just because it looked better.
Now, why do you think many hospitality property owners end up in this situation?
I have a few thoughts that come from experience.
- They don’t think that hotel, inn, resort or bed& breakfast images matter online.
- They took their pictures five years ago and have never bothered to update them.
- They know their property is superior and think so does everyone else. All a guest has to do is see the property and they will know it is greater. That is the problem – the average quest will not check out the property because they have already booked the competition.
The poor pictures are preventing them from looking at the property in the first place.
Ask yourself this.
- What will it take for potential guests to look at your property first?
- Is it worth tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in profit not to spend a few thousand to show your property in the best light possible?
- Is this a good marketing strategy?
This is the kind of mistake most hospitality property owners cannot afford to make.
Here’s what you should consider.
- Why good quality photography and video are essential to your bottom line.
- Deciding what type of images you need.
- Establishing a budget wisely.
- Find the right photographer/videographer for the job.
- What you need to do to help the photographer/videographer.
- How to get the biggest bang out of your images/video.
Okay, let look into these a little more closely.
Why good quality photography and video are essential to your bottom line.
The internet is an extremely visual medium and in the hospitality industry, potential guests tend to look at any images before they start reading any text about amenities or services.
In most cases, they’ve already made up their mind their first impressions.
Depending on what they saw you may have already secured or lost the booking.
People tend to subconsciously look at a picture or video and visualize themselves in that setting. If they like themselves in that setting they will want to be there and act appropriately.
They will then try to fit their needs into the list of amenities rather than the other way around.
If you don’t believe me, think back to your own experiences and the last time you booked a hospitality property or bought a product online. Did you read all the text or check out the images first.
I bet, if you like the pictures then you skimmed over the amenities and if you didn’t like the images you probably scrutinized the amenities almost hoping they would not suit you so you could move on.
Think about it. That is the way most of our brains are wired.
At the very least, your images should truthfully reflect your property. Don’t over exaggerate but it would be fine to use a certain degree of creative license when it comes to the photography.ie. Good lighting, clean sheets, everything in its place.
Be careful not to cross the line.
Don’t change the facts or certain characteristics of the rooms or have the photographer Photoshop out flaws. That is deception and will come back to bit you as a complaint, lost customer or bad reviews.
Bad reviews can do serious and long term damages because potential guests will not believe what you are showing them.
But as a baseline standard, don’t make your rooms look worse than they actually are.
This post is a lot longer than I intended so I am going to stop here and finish reviewing the list in the next post.
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If you have any photography or video strategies and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section or visit our website
Let’s work together to put heads in your beds.
Until next time, have a fun day.
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