The best hotels, show, don’t tell. 70% of people told us they rely on photos to learn about a hotel

It’s no coincidence that the age old saying, ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is so popular. A hotel’s décor speaks volumes so why aren’t their websites treated with the same visual love?

After surveying over 1,000 people, we found the eight things people want when booking a hotel. This blog analyses the second of those eight things – the importance of photos.

Photos, Photos, Photos                                                                                   

While undergoing our study, many bookers found that too much text was simply overwhelming and off-putting. This is where photos step in to become a hotelier’s best friend. Websites should be all about showing, not telling. Our research found that 70% of people rely on photos to learn about a hotel. Bookers told us that when they’re in the reservation process, they like to see pictures that help them understand the room and feel excited about staying in it. Think about it, would you rather read the bullet point ‘Outdoor infinity pool’ or see a stunning image of beautiful blue water glistening as it dribbles over the backdrop of a sunset that looks like it’s been directly plucked from your dreams? Exactly.

More really is more when it comes to pictures too, but don’t just pile them on so people can’t take time to enjoy them. An in page pop-up gallery is a superb way to show multiple photos, giving consumers a chance learn vast amounts of information rapidly that they would otherwise have to read without gaining anywhere near the same sense of elation. Keeping them concise in the gallery also means they will not be distracted from the other important information and of course, that all important ‘Book’ button.

“It’s easier to absorb a picture than read four paragraphs or words… I think a picture paints a thousands words.”

Some of the larger hotel brands have turned to social media as an ally for this. A great example of this is Starwood’s website for its W Hotels. It actually has a curated gallery of its guests own photos taken from Instagram. From here, consumers can see real life candid photos that give some true to life impressions of what hotel guests will experience. The added bonus to this is that the guests are now doing the work for you and of course you get all the beautiful images with their choice of #filter.

Another successful technique would be to take your customers on a virtual tour. Google Business View, which provides fully interactive virtual tours of business interiors reported that restaurants using its services during NYC restaurant week saw a 30% higher click through to bookings compared to those that didn’t. This highlights just how imperative it is for hoteliers to investigate new ways of bringing their property to life online.

Booking a hotel should be fun. It should be an exciting time where people are looking forward to the future. The last thing people want is to see it as a chore. Pictures allow this sense of jubilation and happiness that words simply can’t. But what’s more, pictures make things real.

To see all of the eight things people want when booking a hotel room, download our free e-book here.