Pictures “profoundly impacts” the opinions of online shoppers when it comes to booking one hotel over another, Expedia says.
The OTA even went to the trouble of finding out what makes a visitor choose one hotel over another when shopping on the online travel agency’s site.
Using fandangled technology, Expedia’s electromyography gauged shoppers’ eye gaze and facial expressions to reveal several types of images and image attributes which consistently evoked emotional reactions in customers.
“We know through our own data that hotels with good quality photography in their on-line brochure receive a conversion lift over those which have poorer images,” Expedia Group’s senior director of Market Management for Asia Pacific, David Hamblin, said.
“The most important image to include is a room with a view. Rooms with windows overlooking an attractive visual scene such as a landmark or beach evoke the most delight in online shoppers and help shoppers see themselves in the context of their trip.”
So what should hoteliers avoid? Photographs that have been distorted by fisheye lenses or one that comes across from unusual angles evoked the most negative emotions in shoppers and are viewed with suspicion, as if the hotel has “something to hide,” Hamblin added.
Following the research, the OTA has added a photo-engagement tool on its Expedia Partner Central to assist hoteliers gauge if their properties require additional images with three different scores showing green, yellow or red.
“We know feedback is important because it can help drive bookings and revenue – and hoteliers want this feedback in real time so they can take action,” Hamblin said.
“Expedia has shown that hotels with green photo scores are more likely to convert than those with red scores.”
Expedia also outlined their top tips for hoteliers to follow in order to maximise conversion opportunities:
- Include images of secondary spaces (i.e. terrace, restaurant) with attractive vistas
- Ensure images are well-lit, using natural light wherever possible
- Display any unique features/attributes of the hotel
- Ensure rooms/spaces are pristine; avoid clutter and mess
- Remember to include bathroom photos
- Avoid distorting camera techniques
- Include both close-up and perspective shots
The photo tool is based on having a target of 20 photos or more per property, with 100% of those photos having a resolution of 2880 pixels or greater which is especially relevant given the shift to high resolution mobile devices, Expedia said, adding that all room types should also have four images or more.