Author: Dom, COO IGT Group

Stock images are inexpensive and look professional,

so it’s understandable that many businesses use them for their websites. However, they’re not the right images for your hotel’s website. Discover why stock images never belong on a hotel site.

Stock Images Can’t Accurately Reflect Your Hotel

People who are interested in a product or a service, expect the business and hotel websites to be representations. When your pages have stock photos rather than images of your hotel, your online visitors can’t see what they’re planning to purchase. You might think you can get away with stock photos of the area around your hotel, but even this is a dangerous practice. In September 2016, several Washington, D.C., hotels in the Modus Hotels group were caught using what they thought was an image of the U.S. Capitol. However, the image was really of downtown Wisconsin, more than 800 miles away. This accidental slip-up was widely publicized and made the hotels in question seem unprofessional.

Stock Images Undermine Trust

Since stock images don’t accurately reflect your hotel, they undermine the trust your guests place in you. It doesn’t take long after arrival for guests to discover your employees, hotel, and surroundings don’t look like they do on your website. At that point, the trust instilled in you is gone and can be difficult to rebuild. In contrast, original photos build trust. Online users can spot a stock photo from a mile away. When they see images of the real concierge providing service at your hotel, they’ll start connecting with your business before they even check in. When they see real guests enjoying themselves by your pool or in your restaurant, they’ll start anticipating the fun they’ll have on their vacation.

Stock Images Don’t Engage Web Users

You add images to your website to try and engage visitors and encourage them to stay at your hotel. Studies show that if you choose stock images over original photos, you won’t achieve your goal. Eyetracking studies from the Nielsen Norman Group found that viewers usually ignore large, decorative images.

Stock images usually fall into this category.

In contrast, visitors thoroughly scrutinize photos of products and real people. So if you want to grab your online visitors’ attention, give stock photos a miss. Stock Photos Can’t Reflect Your Vision or Brand You’ve taken time building your hotel and its brand identity, so why would you surrender that to someone else’s vision?

Stock images can never accurately capture your hotel’s branding.

The only way you can do that is by taking ownership of your imagery and creating photos that really reflect what you’re trying to say. What’s more, you’ll deliver a unique message to your web visitors, instead of the same one that other hotels using the same images deliver. When you want to set yourself apart, stock images simply won’t cut it. Organizing your own photo shoot for your hotel website may take more time and money, but the pictures you’ll create will be much more valuable for your website than any stock images.