It’s hard to believe that one thing can have such a massive impact on a B&B’s bookings, but it can. That one thing isn’t reviews, it’s photography! Which isn’t actually so surprising when you consider that our survey of British hotel guests told us:
- 82% of Brits are put off solely by poor snaps
- One in three believe poor photos mean poor service!
Over the last few weeks we have been working with celebrity interior designer Sophie Robinson to better understand how much of an impact photos can make…
What we did:
We visited several B&Bs on the south coast and took 2 photos, minutes apart, the first photo was taken by someone with no specialist experience and the second by a professional photographer with Sophie using her expert knowledge to help set the scene. The catch; they weren’t allowed to bring any new objects into the room that weren’t already there, nor were they allowed to re-decorate in any way.
The results were dramatic! Take a look at these two pictures below. When put to the public 76% would happily book to stay at Property A based on the “After” image, compared to only 13% based on the “Before” picture.
More interestingly, when asked how much they would value the two rooms the average rate per night came in at £43 for “Before” and £91 for “After”, nearly double the price.
Furthermore, a majority of people (61%) believed that the photos were taken years apart, rather than just a few minutes.
The findings were consistent across all the B&Bs that took part in the experiment, with the average price difference being £28 per room per night. And with results like this you can see why:
But what can you do about it?
Well for that we’re going to hand over to Sophie and her wealth of experience (over 15 years working with some of Britain’s best-selling magazines, the BBC, ITV and Channel 5) to give you her top 10 tips:
Sophie’s top tips:
The way you style your photographs can make all the difference to the impression that they give your prospective guests. Here are my top tips to creating show-stopping shots
- To help make the bed look more luxurious and comfy, consider turning down the top of the duvet, around 40cm, in front of the pillows, and tuck in neatly.
- A small vase with a couple of fresh flowers always helps make a room look fresh and clean. Consider popping one on the bedside table, breakfast table or a larger arrangement in the hallway for your photo shoot.
- When styling the bed it looks really inviting to have a few scatter cushions. My rule is that there should be at least two, set symmetrically for a smart yet minimal look, or three with one cushion preferably smaller than the back two. One cushion looks just mean and any more than three looks fussy. Don’t arrange your cushions like diamonds. That looks really naff!
- As a rule lights and lamps look better switched off. Try and get as much natural daylight into your rooms as possible before you photograph them. Shooting your rooms at night is a total no no! If the room doesn’t have much natural light, use the lamps to create a cosy glow, but that’s always a second resort.
- Edit out the necessary yet unaesthetic from your photos. Take away the waste paper bin, plug in heater, fan, ironing board, and piles of towels and make sure they don’t creep into your shot. Those things can be listed into your copy so your guests can expect to use them but not shown in the pictures, as they look plain ugly.
- Avoid showing overtly branded products in your pictures. In the bathroom use a plain bar of soap in a dish or decant your liquid hand soap into a soap pump. In the breakfast room take away packets of cereal or decant them into stylish glass jars.
- Photograph your rooms on a cloudy day. This avoids bright white streaks of sunlight bleaching out areas of your photograph and creating sharp shadows.
- A few nicely arranged tight detail shots can really add the right mood to your listing. Think about a photograph of a welcoming mug of tea with some biscuits, a collection of pretty toiletries or a posy of fresh flowers on the breakfast table to let your guest know that you also think of the smaller details.
- Whenever possible use plain white bed linen. This can be accessorised with a neat bed throw and cushions for interest.
- Before you take your photos make sure your rooms look their absolute best. Spick and span with smear free mirrors and taps, freshly laundered pressed bed linen, and every surface polished and gleaming.