Why do you think retail stores care about having their clothes nicely folded, color-coded, and organized by size? (Forever 21 might be the exception). In very few words, they do it because they care the way their store is displayed, and because perception is reality for worldwide consumers.
A particular retail store might have the best clothes in the mall, with the best fabric quality; but if what is obviously shown to the customer does not result appealing to them, and as a consequence makes them perceive the store as dirty, unorganized, and a ‘mess’, many consumers will look at two items in the store and lave immediately. Unfortunately, that is the image they perceive from the brand, and they probably won’t go back.
The same thing happens in the travel industry. If online consumers hate the way your photos look, or the way they are displayed, they will think your brand does not care, and does not provide the value they are looking for.
The bottom line is this: many people do not finalize (or even begin) a hotel booking simply because they do not trust the hotel, or they trust the second available option significantly more. By adding relevant images, of high-quality, you are enabling a connection between your property and the consumers viewing it. Having accurate images is key if you want to create brand trust and, above all, increase your bookings.
I also want to clarify something. When I said “invest in visual content”, I don’t only mean money-wise.
It is important for your marketing department to invest enough time investigating and getting to know who your target audience is, and what they are looking for when they search for travel, where they are searching, and which images trigger their emotions. As you may know, one size does not fit all… especially in the travel industry. By the time people are looking for accommodations to stay in, they already know exactly the purposes of their trip and what they want to gain from it.
Your hotel might target those that are looking for a cultural experience, but not those that are searching to delight their culinary palates. Do you have enough ‘culture-shock’ images? Quite honestly, you have got to be able to scream at your consumers through your visuals. When they browse through your gallery, they must be able to hear a voice in their head saying “Hey, this is exactly what you are looking for! Doesn’t it seem appealing?”
Big data has been around for a while. There is no excuse for you not to try and personalize your offerings and show consumers what they so desperately look for. A study done by the Brandon Agency states that 77% of consumers know the content provider is trying to sell them something, and they do not mind as long as it is valuable content.
So basically, if you’re going to bother consumers with thousands of marketing images, at least do it with visuals they can relate to and actually love seeing!
NB: Photo of Infinity Pool at the Secrets Marquis Los Cabos
IcePortal helps clients manage and distribute visual content to over 11 million unique visitors a month on 1,000s of travel and local websites around the globe in nine languages. To know more about us visit our social profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+; visit ICEPortal, or give us a call at (+1)954-893-6778. We would love to hear from you!