Photos on TripAdvisor: Best Practices for Accommodations

Quick photography tips designed to help hoteliers grab the attention of potential guests.

According to a 2015 study conducted by Microsoft,1 the average human attention span is rapidly declining. Since 2012 our attention span has dropped from twelve seconds to a mere eight seconds – making it shorter than that of a goldfish (at nine seconds). Given this, holding the attention of visitors to your TripAdvisor page can seem daunting. Luckily, the TripAdvisor Media Suite offers easy-to-use features that can help.

Not only do photos grab the attention of travelers and reach them on an emotional level, but research shows that travelers spend more time on property pages with at least 30 photos.  Photos are an important way to tell your story and help visitors imagine themselves at your property.  But, it’s not just about having a lot of photos - the type of photos you feature matter.  Here are our tips on how to choose photos that will keep travelers engaged and influence their booking decisions:

DO: Use professional-looking photos

Beautiful photos are a must. In this day and age, there’s no excuse not to have professional-looking photos. Don’t worry - there’s no need to run out and hire a photographer. You can get professional photos on your own by following our top tips for taking better property photos.

DON’T: Use stock photos

Stock photos are boring and lack authenticity. Anyone can choose generic photos of a guest room, lobby, or dining space, but this doesn't show customers who you are and what you’re about. It also doesn't properly set traveler expectations, which can lead to poor reviews if the actual experience doesn't live up to the one presented. Your photos should tell your property’s story, and communicate what makes you special.

DO: Update your photos based on the season

Guests want to see exactly what they can expect when they visit your property - no matter the time of year they visit. If it’s the middle of winter, it’s time to emphasize your lobby’s warm and cozy fireplace over those summer pool shots. Be sure to keep your advance booking window in mind when choosing which photos to prioritize. If you typically have a long lead time on bookings, begin adding images for the upcoming season to align with traveler searches. Remember, you want to make it as easy as possible for guests to imagine themselves at your property.

DON'T: Delete photos from other seasons

While you know your typical advance booking window, travelers could be researching before or after that time frame and want to see what your property looks like for their travel dates. Instead of deleting those seasonal photos, use the Manage Photos tab in the Media Suite to adjust the order of your images. This allows you to prioritize ones within your current booking window, while still having others available to those booking last minute or earlier than usual.

DO: Include an array of photos

Potential guests want to see everything your property has to offer, so it’s important to include a mix of photos on your listing. Business Advantage subscribers benefit from Favorite Photos which allows you to hand-pick the first 30 photos in your photo carousel. As a general rule, you should include images of:

  • Guest rooms: the bedroom area, storage spaces, bathroom, and any unique or high-quality room amenities (technology, toiletries, etc.)
  • Views or outdoor spaces: the exterior of your building, pool, gardens, rooftop, views from your restaurant or bedroom, etc.
  • Common spaces or interior amenities: dining spaces, your lobby, concierge, transportation

DON’T: Include every photo from your recent photo shoot

The photos from your recent photo shoot just came back and they look beautiful -- great! Keep in mind, while travelers love photos, there is such thing as too many. No one wants to see 10 shots of your exterior or lobby bar in slightly different lighting. So, before you post, narrow down the list to ensure each photo is showing something unique. TripAdvisor even allows you to sort your photos into albums such as Hotel & Amenities, Dining, Pool & Beach and Room/Suite. Business Advantage subscribers, you can select Cover Photos for these albums in the Media Suite.

DO: Post photos of various rooms - but always include your standard room

Room photos not only help potential guests decide if they want to stay at your property, but they can also be used to upsell guests to a more expensive room.  Entice potential guests by including photos of all your room types - just be sure to label them accurately so guests get a true representation of where they will be staying.

DON’T: Post only the basic offerings at your property

Although it’s essential to include photos of your standard amenities, this doesn’t mean you can’t mix in some fun images as well. Cover the basics, but don’t forget to highlight the unique features of your property. Have a suite with an unrivaled view? Be sure to show it off. Do you use a certain brand of local coffee, have an “Instagrammable” wall or luxurious bedding? Spotlight these features with close-up photos - and don’t forget the captions - this way guests will feel like they’re getting an intimate and honest look into your business.

DO: Mix up the style and formats of your photos

Just as you should switch up the type of photos you display, it’s equally important to mix up the style of these photos. Instead of just including one classic shot of your hotel lobby, include close-ups of highlights like your front desk, a panoramic or wide-angle, or your lobby when it’s busy. Incorporating different angles and shots will make guests feel like as if they’re they’re discovering the space for themselves. Business Advantage subscribers also use tools in the Media Suite like Storyboard and Property Videos to grab the attention of travelers and bring your property to life.

DON’T: Get “too artsy” with your photos

While it’s important to change up the style and angle of your photos - don’t get too carried away. Visitors still need to be able to quickly tell what they’re looking at. Avoid fish-eye photos or distorted images which may be confusing. The last thing you want is for travelers to be confused, or worse, think you’re trying to cover something up.

Finally, remember that the above is meant as a guide rather than strict rules all properties must follow. So, do take these tips and incorporate them into your online visual strategy. But, don’t worry if you break a few of them. After all, every property is unique so do whatever is best for you and tells your authentic story.

Ready to upload and manage your property’s photos? Log into the Management Center to get started.

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Manage Your Photos

Manage Your Photos

Last Updated: September 21, 2017