Invest in new photography: marketing strategies for COVID-19
Photos are your opportunity to make a good first impression online. High-quality hotel photography has been proven to increase conversion rates and revenue, but with changing technology, photos can quickly show their age. What looked good on the average screen three or more years ago may look dated now. It’s essential that your hotels photos are kept fresh and updated every few years.
What’s more, the need for a greater variety of photos has increased. Having a wide range of photos that show both big features and small details at your hotel are increasingly important in the age of personalized shopping experiences. As a reflection of this demand for variety, most travel channels have dramatically increased the number (and the specificity) of their photo categories. This increase in categories demonstrates that travelers don’t want to just hear that you have specialized amenities, they want photos of it.
Why you should consider scheduling a photoshoot now
New photography is a long-term investment, with proven results. In a case study with Expedia, the Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach, reported an 80% year over year increase in views to their Expedia listings after they refreshed all of their photos.
Investing money into marketing right now is a tricky balance. Our analysis of recovery strategies in previous recessions shows that now is the time to take stock and prioritize when making marketing decisions. Defensive measures like cutting costs should be balanced with offensive investment decisions. Put money in long-term strategies with proven results, such as new hotel photography. If your hotel has low occupancy right now, it could be a good time to prepare for a photoshoot and capture the emptier than usual spaces.
Hotels need to focus on both indirect and direct booking paths to set themselves up for a swift recovery. Hotel photography is a good investment right now because it spans every marketing channel. New, fresh hotel imagery can revamp every listing you have. Boost your content score on travel channels and revitalize your website with new photos.
- Read our strategy guide to auditing third-party channels to boost revenue.
- For direct channels, we’ve put together content marketing ideas that will boost direct traffic and conversions.
How to prepare for a hotel photoshoot
A comprehensive photoshoot of your hotel requires a lot of planning and preparation. You will need to come up with a detailed shot list and plan for the day (or days) of the photoshoot. You will also need to provide the photographer with any relevant brand or branding guidelines in advance.
Some hotel photography tips to keep in mind as you plan your shoot:
- Prepare one room of each room type to be photographed – According to an Expedia study, properties with unique photos for each room type see an 11% increase in conversion
- Steam all linens (bedding, curtain, bed skirts)
- Put the same wattage bulbs in all lamps to ensure lighting consistency
- Have staff ready to help set up any meeting rooms in a variety of configurations
- Food photography is different than architectural photography: if you’ve recently revamped your restaurant hire a specialist photographer to showcase your new menu
Work with your photographer to create a shot list that works on a specific schedule. Keep in mind lighting conditions: try to get interior shots when it’s brightest, and exterior shots later in the day when the light is softer.
Travelers will be looking for hotel rooms soon: make sure they see the best version of your rooms possible by scheduling a photoshoot or photo refresh. Those photos will lay the foundation of a strong direct and indirect content strategy.
More COVID-19 hotel marketing strategies
In these unprecedented times, there’s no one size fits all marketing plan. We’re sharing resources to empower hotels to make strategic decisions to have a strong foundation when the travel industry inevitably bounces back.
There are glimmers of hope on the horizon, as travel searches begin to pick up for the later half of 2020. Capture some of that hope by using more of our COVID-19 hotel marketing tips and tricks.