11 Ways to Increase Hotel Bookings with Great Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words. Online photos of your hotel can make or break your booking stream - and we couldn’t be more serious about that.

Travelers are 150% more engaged on hotel websites that offer great imagery and extensive photo galleries of their accommodations. Some hoteliers even take it a step further with interactive digital tours that have been proven to increase time on-site 300% and bookings by 48%!

With that said, the basics of hotel photography aren’t so basic. Getting it right requires a professional touch, strategic planning, and an eye for aesthetics. Believe us, guests take subpar photography to mean subpar accommodations even though that may not be the case. Even slight lighting differences in 2 otherwise equal rooms could make one appear superior to the other.

A Guide to Taking Great Hotel Photos that Excite & Entice Guests

You have the power to control great photography. Don’t leave guest perception to chance. Let’s build an enticing storyline – through photos - to increase hotel bookings.

1. Symmetry

Hotel photography symmetry

There’s no excuse for bed linens to look anything other than pristine, as if they’ve never been slept in. Make sure all sheets are tucked in, pillows are fluffed and stacked with care, and comforters and bed skirts are uniform in relation to the floor.

2. Natural Lighting

hotel photography natural lighting

Nothing beats the Sun when it comes to shedding some light on the situation. If possible, draw the black-out curtains back and let the Sun’s rays cascade throughout the room. It’ll paint your hotel’s accommodations in the most attractively honest perspective possible.

3. Staging Lighting

hotel photography staging lighting

This is going to be necessary in most cases. Different types of lighting elements like LED, fluorescent, and tungsten can have different effects the room’s appearance. Your photographer can employ various light-diffusion techniques to make the room’s aesthetic appeal truly pop.

Angles and light reflection and refraction can also make a difference in how the camera’s lens captures the moment. There’s a delicate balance between too bright and too dim, given the angles, colors, and reflective qualities of the photograph’s subjects.

4. Frame the Experience

hotel photography frame the experience

Great photography walks your website visitors through the experience. Galleries and digital tours should include photos (and video) depicting all aspects of the stay:

If possible, hire models or pose staff members to live the experience for the camera. Embrace diversity and show people of different ages and genders enjoying their stay. Show couples together and separate to cater to both the single and married crowds.

5. Capitalize on Scenic Backdrops

hotel photography scenic backdrop

Is there a picturesque backdrop outside the guest room window? For goodness sake, use those purple mountain majesties or seaside tranquilities to your advantage. Seal the deal for potential hotel guests by giving them what they want: Breathtaking scenic vistas.

Sometimes hotels aren’t situated to take advantage of such views. In that case, play down the nearby landscape in your photos and play up the interior ambiance.

6. Minimize Clutter and Tidy Up

hotel photography minimize clutter

It goes without saying your rooms must appear clean and fresh. But little things all hotel rooms contain, like “No smoking” and housekeeping signs, serve no purpose in your hotel photography. In fact, they probably detract from the photograph’s visual appeal.

7. Don’t ‘Prop Out’ the Room

hotel photography prop

A bottle of wine, a bouquet of flowers, and a box of chocolates all look wonderful in a photo. So does this towel folded into a swan. But will they actually be part of the package as guests check in?

If not, take them out of the photo, because some guests will expect those extra perks to be included if they see them during research, even if they’re not explicitly stated.

8. Portray Dimensions Generously (But Accurately)

hotel photography accurate dimensions

The average hotel guest room is about 325 square feet. That’s not a whole lot of room to play with, especially after factoring your custom hospitality furniture and other FF&E components. There are techniques to amplify the space in a photograph, but don’t take too many liberties.

Guests notice quickly if they were expecting more space than what actually exists. If they feel duped, they’ll have no problem letting the world know in a scathing online review.

9. Digital Enhancement

hotel photography digital enhancement

You shouldn’t rely solely on PhotoShop or any other photo-editing software to do all the work for you and create a reality that doesn’t exist. But let’s say the natural backdrop of a photo could use some sprucing up (maybe a gray sky needs to be a bit more blue and bright).

A digital touch-up here and there can dramatically improve the appearance of a hotel marketing photograph.

10. Optimize Exterior Shots

hotel photography optimize exterior shots

You certainly need photos of the building’s exterior. These too must be optimized to capture both scale and beauty (see above).

Outdoors photography allows you to capture traffic coming to your hotel. Make sure there are an appropriate number of vehicles pictured in the parking lot to portray a healthy level of business - enough to appear busy but not so much to appear crowded. (Helpful hint: Spray down your lot before a photoshoot. It’ll appear shinier and new.)

11. Hire a Professional Photographer

hotel photography hire a professional

This is not the time to run around with a cell phone camera snapping photos. Your hotel’s online presence requires a professional eye to get the most out of each and every pixel. So, unless photography is a serious hobby and skillset for you or a member of your staff, pay someone to get the results you need.

But before hiring anyone make sure you do you research and ask the right questions.

Need More Bookings? Create Storytelling Moments with Your Hotel Photography

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, most hotel website visitors want to visualize the experience before booking. Your hotel photography should frame the stay in an aesthetically pleasing (and accurate) way.

Create a storytelling moment through great photography, sit back, and watch your bookings skyrocket.


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