Many small hotel operators get frustrated by the ever-changing pace of the digital marketing world. While I don’t think that pace will slow down anytime soon, I do think that hoteliers would be more productive worrying about basic marketing tactics. Case in point: The importance of utilizing rich visual content.
I recently sat down with a new customer and owner/operator of an amazing boutique hotel. The property is unique in its location, aesthetics, and target customer. Our conversation focused on specific digital marketing topics like structured data, changes in Facebook’s News Feed, and driving qualified traffic. It was a great conversation. However, on the trip home I starting thinking that our time might have been better spent discussing how to increase bookings from the traffic that they already have.
This particular property is beautiful and completely distinctive for the area. Unfortunately, their website and social media profiles just were not cutting it. Both needed a complete makeover that included stunning pictures and video for two specific reasons:
#1 Hotels Need to Tell a Story (and People Like Pictures)
A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to securing online reservations, you want to take full advantage of every chance you get to tell your property’s story. Whether your visual content resides on your website, social profile, or meta search listing, you want to stand out in a sea of choice. Visuals can influence purchasing decisions more than price. Consider the following statistics:
- Most leisure travelers make their final decision to book a room by visiting a hotel’s website.
- We retain as much as 80% of what we see and only around 20% of what we read.
- According to TripAdvisor, 92% of travelers are more likely to book accommodations for hotels that post detailed descriptions and photos.
#2 Visual Content Boosts Social Engagement
Visual content such as photos and video are critical to boosting website and social media engagement. Consider this: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram increased the significance and prominence of visual content in the past few years. In 2013, Twitter announced that photos and videos would be “front and center in Tweets.” Then in January 2014 Twitter launched a new design that emphasized images even more. Instagram introduced videos in 2013. The largest social media networks understand that visual content boosts engagement.
Need more proof? Take a look at these statistics:
- Tweets that incorporate images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets than those without.
- On Facebook, photos attract more likes, comments, and shares than text, video, or links.
- Tweets with images receive 89% more favorites.
Implementing tried and true digital marketing tactics trumps rushing to implement the latest and greatest digital marketing trend. While having strong visual content on your hotel, inn, or bed and breakfast website will help you drive more direct reservations, they aren’t everything.