Tens of thousands of accommodations are booked each day online. Property owners and managers around the world find themselves in a tough competition in this market.
No wonder more booking platforms have an interest in improving the quality of their photography.
Visual content is becoming increasingly important for customer retention and good sales and booking results. This is especially true knowing that an increasing number of clients are now using apps to complete their booking. Mobile screen images dominate the experience and dictate the behavior of the customer.
This is now creating much greater competition between property owners and managers, and those with professional photography are likely to come out on top. In addition to that, these images will not only determine the success of the owner/manager, but also of the platform where the property is listed.
We can see the importance of simply using images instead of only text in the report made by MDG Advertising, which revealed that online content containing compelling imagery attracted 94 percent more total views, on average, than content without images.
A study by brokerage firm Redfin in 2013 compared homes that sold for values between $200,000 and $1 million. Properties with photos taken with a professional cameras were found to sell for between $3,400 and $11,200 more than those with amateur photos.
These homes were also more likely to sell within six months, and three weeks faster than homes with amateur photography. So a little investment in higher-quality images makes a difference to the overall revenue.
Also in 2013, Jeff Corn, CEO of Virtuance Photography & Virtual Tours, carried out a case study that focused on an individual listing where low- and high-quality photos were compared to see exactly how this affected the popularity of the property. The results were stunning: Over a period of just three months, the number of online views increased by 159 percent (3,163 from 1,222) and bookings increased by 98 percent (81 from 41), almost doubling the income. Here is an example of the images used and the difference found:
Now let’s step into the shoes of your customers. This is the simplest way to discover how user-friendly your listing is. Every property owner/manager should ask themselves:
- Would I book/buy it myself? And would I do that using this platform?
- Can the property listing be easily found?
- How does this site look? Is it attractive to visitors?
Having quality visuals will also mean properties are shortlisted by more potential customers.
A case study using eye-tracking technology by Breffni Noone and Stephani Robson in 2014 found that when booking a hotel online, there are two major stages: browsing and deliberation. Visitors often reached the final deliberation with no more than seven properties to choose from — so give your property the best chance of reaching this crucial stage.
Quality is not the only thing that should be checked for — quantity makes a difference, too.
FlipKey reported that if a property (for short-term rent or hostels/hotels) had more than 20 photos, then travelers were 83 percent more likely to make an inquiry about the listing. A huge difference for property owners! This gives visitors a much better idea of how it would feel to stay in your property, and you’ll spend less time answering questions.
This is because 90 percent of our decision-making is irrational, as reported by Talia Wolf, VP of business development at Conversioner.com.
That means that the majority of decisions are purely based on emotions. Especially the first impression customers have when they see the accommodation.
We are more likely to purchase something from the feeling it gives us rather than the actual value it has for us.
Developing a consistent and recognizable style by using high-quality imagery convinces the viewer straight away of the accommodations’ quality.
Kathleen McCaffrey is part of the marketing team at PicsaStock, a Berlin startup with a love for quality photography.
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