The future is now
The text-only websites of the early 2000’s have—slowly but surely—been replaced by graphicallyand
visually-driven web interfaces. Faster broadband speeds, cellular networks, and highresolution
screens have increased demand for attractive visuals to drive content, to the point that
roughly one third of pixel real estate on the web is image content.
The trend is certainly obvious on the most popular social media networks. Websites like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are driven by visuals. Twitter, the domain of 140-character text bursts, recently added Vine, a video service showcasing 6-second visual bursts. And of course, you can’t mention video without mentioning YouTube and its one billion monthly visitors. Visually-driven websites aren’t strictly for social sharing, though. The trend is stretching
across the web and touching traditional web design as well, from retailers, manufacturers, service providers and more. The travel industry is no exception; more and more
hotels, airlines, online travel agencies, tour companies and others are enhancing their
websites with exciting, engaging visuals that tell the story of what it’s like to use their
service or visit them in person.
The best websites don’t just throw some pictures and video on the home page. They
use those pictures and videos to tell stories— stories that allow the audience to experience
whatever it is the website is selling.
From pro photo shoots to socia media, find the images that showcase your hotel experience.
At this point it should be clear: To take your hotel’s website to the next level, you need to reinforce it with strong visuals.
The next logical step is acquiring those visuals! You probably already have a
collection of professional media: Photos of the property, including rooms, business
center, pool and so on. You may also have virtual tours and videos. That’s a great
start. You can round out your existing media by sourcing photos and videos from the
surrounding area. Your local tourism board is a great place to start, but don’t hesitate
to reach out to restaurants and attractions directly. This way, you show your visitors
that your hotel experience isn’t just on the grounds of your property—it extends to
the local area as well.
Next, consider “non-professional” media. This can include photos that you and your
staff can take yourself of the property and area, as well as photos sourced from
guests, including any they’ve tagged of your property on social media. (These
can be linked to freely, but always get permission if you intend to use them in other ways). While these sorts of photos may not have the “shine and polish” of a pro photographer, they offer an authenticity that appeals to travelers. With new filters and better cameras available today, amateur photos are better than ever before. They show real people enjoying your hotel in a real way. A good mix of professional and amateur photos and videos can really bring your property’s story to life!