We Took a Million Hotel Photos: Here’s What We Learned
When it comes to your hotel’s presence across all online channels, photography is undoubtedly one of the most important elements to optimizing traffic and conversion. TripAdvisor found in 2016 that 86% of travelers consider a hotel’s photos vital to their final decision to book an accommodation.
But, it’s not just the presence of photos or the amount of photos.
“Hotel photography is first and foremost about storytelling,” according to Tambourine’s Creative Director Stephany Bermudez, a globally-recognized expert on hotel, resort and tourism photography. “We don’t take great pictures… we MAKE great pictures.”
Steph and our in-house photo/video team have been handling photo shoots for hotels of all sizes since 1984. In the last few years alone, we’ve taken more than a million pictures for our clients. 99% never get published… what are the commonalities behind the great images that can make or break your property?
Here’s what we’ve learned:
1. Don’t: Undervalue skilled, hotel-specific photography
Here at Tambourine, we’ve seen a lot of different quality levels of hotel photography, and from our view, no matter what your budget, hiring the right professional to do the work is the most critical part of the operation.
“Photography is expensive, but it’s an investment,” says Bermudez. “When you do a high-quality shoot, your return on investment is huge because it can last you several years, and it is so much more effective than a budget shoot. Today’s hotel photographers are thinking specifically about the online environment, the mobile-first approach, and how to construct and capture the story of your hotel that connects with your guests. An amateur or photographer with a different specialty isn’t going to have that insight or perspective.”
2. Do: Hire separate “specialists” for architecture vs lifestyle
Based on our experience, there are two very distinct types of hotel photograph: informational and inspirational.