Think about it. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who wants to book a hotel. What are you most focused on when you decide what to book? Maybe you think it’s a low price. But then again; will you really book a hotel for a low price when all you see is three pictures of the hotel that are of bad quality and don’t even show you what your room will look like? Exactly!
We can’t say it enough. Pictures are one of the most (if not the most) important elements you need to focus on when promoting your hotel or holiday park. Especially when you want to stand out from the crowd of hotels that are offered on comparison websites and through the various Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). Good pictures increase the engagement of customers; they make them stay longer on your page and our research has shown that the conversion rate is higher as well.
Eye gaze and facial expressions are telling the truth
Another big player in the travel industry, Expedia, Inc. already claimed that a hotel presentation has a direct impact on conversion. In 2014, they started a study wherein they asked people to browse for hotels that they might like to stay in. While doing so they tracked the real-time eye gaze and facial expression of those people with a so-called electromyography (EMG) and they gathered some interesting insights on what effect pictures have on emotions.
One thing they concluded was that hotel pictures with a nice view were an important contributing factor because people were immediately able to imagine themselves staying there. A nice view from either a hotel room or from the restaurant evoked positive feelings and emotions towards the hotel. Next to that, special and unique features were proven to be an eye-catcher and kept people interested.
When it comes to pictures of a room, quality had the most impact; the pictures needed to be as natural as possible. That means no strange angles, good lightning, tidiness of the room and no missing pieces such as a picture of the bathroom. Showing the total picture without special effects, such as using fisheye or telephoto lenses, created the most trust amongst the participants. An interesting point was that the older the users were, the more attention they paid to a room looking comfortable and tidy.
Below you’ll find an example of the impact between a good and bad quality room presentation:
HotelSpecials put it to the test
Based on this research and our own experiences, we have created our very own formula that helps us measure whether a property presentation needs to be optimized. Our so-called Content Performance Indicator (CPI) categorizes the properties based on the amount of pictures that a property has on our websites in combination with the quality of the images. With the help of the CPI we can determine which properties need to get our attention first.
Ambitious as we are, we decided it would be good to put the CPI to the test and we dedicated a whole quarter to testing and optimizing the CPI. We decided that we would optimize the presentation of at least 700 hotels, starting with the hotels that had the lowest CPI score. And the results were significant! After two months, we took a deep dive into the data and checked out the page views, bookings and conversion rate of the optimized hotels compared to all other hotels. We found out that the hotels with a bad CPI started off with a lower average conversion rate to begin with. This alone already proves that there is a correlation between images and the conversion rate. But it gets better! After we improved their presentation by uploading better quality pictures and more images, this group increased in conversion rate by 10%!
These findings showed us that it is incredibly important that a hotel, holiday park or any other sort of holiday accommodation needs to invest in having good quality images. Visitors and potential bookers want to know what they can expect and they are looking for a realistic picture. Next to that, it is also important what you show. What the research of Expedia highlighted is that images of a nice view, a clean and tidy room and bathroom pictures are some of the must haves if you want to inspire a positive feeling.
Check your property presentation on a regular base
We would advise you to check your property presentation at the OTA’s on a regular base. We always do research when it comes to creating the content for your hotel or holiday park. However, you are the one who knows your hotel or holiday park the best, you know what type of customer you mostly welcome and what makes you unique. Please feel free at any time to contact your account manager and tell them whenever something is displayed wrong on our website or when the presentation needs an update.
We’ve created an easy go-to checklist for your hotel presentation or holiday park presentation