Expedia study finds that quality photos boost OTA sales

Expedia study finds that quality photos boost OTA sales

Expedia has found that every good image on a website helps sales conversions.

Research commissioned by the online travel agency used special technology called electromyography (EMG) to gauge people’s eye gaze and facial expressions when browsing online for hotels.

During the study, whenever there was an elevation in the EMG signal, indicating either delight or negative emotion, the shopper was quizzed on their reaction to the hotel image.

Isabelle Pinson, Expedia Group’s senior director of market management for the UK and Ireland, said:

“We know through our own data that hotels with good quality photography in their online brochure receive a conversion lift over those which have poorer images.

“The most important image to include is a room with a view. Rooms with windows overlooking an attractive visual scene such as a landmark or beach evoke the most delight in online shoppers and help shoppers see themselves in the context of their trip.”

Photographs which are distorted by fisheye lenses or unusual angles evoke the most negative emotions in shoppers as they are viewed with suspicion – as if the hotel has “something to hide,” added Ms Pinson.

Other tips from Expedia include:

• Prioritising images of bedrooms with nice window views.
• Including images of secondary spaces, like terraces and restaurants.
• Ensuring images are well-lit, using natural light wherever possible.
• Displaying unique features or attributes of a hotel.
• Ensuring rooms/spaces are very clean and tidy.
• Remembering to include bathroom photos.
• Avoiding distorting camera techniques.
• Including both close-up and perspective shots.

Expedia’s PartnerCentral interactive tool helps marketing and revenue managers at Expedia partner firms to quickly gauge if their properties require additional images, with three different scores, and provides a simple way to perform tasks such as quickly identifying and replacing low resolution images.

“We know feedback is important because it can help drive bookings and revenue – and hoteliers want this feedback in real time so they can take action,” said Ms Pinson.

“Expedia has shown that hotels with green photo scores are more likely to convert than those with red scores.”

The tool’s target is 20 photos or more per property with all photos having a resolution of 2,880 pixels or greater. All room types should also have four images or more, according to the tool.

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