There are currently an estimated 700,000 hotels and resorts, offering a total number of 15.5 million rooms, worldwide. That’s a lot of options for consumers to choose from. As the hospitality industry becomes more and more competitive, hotels need to find new ways to stand out.
One rather simple (but often overlooked) way is to promote high-quality hotel images on your site. A study has found that hotels with at least one high-quality photo have a 225% more likelihood of receiving a booking enquiry. But having good images is only part of the work done: you still need to make sure that they’re optimised for SEO.
According to recent data, 26.7% of all US web searches happen on Google images, which is more than on YouTube, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon and Facebook combined. While there are currently no corresponding UK figures, the search volumes likely won’t differ much on this side of the pond. But without the correct SEO optimisation, your images won’t be read correctly by search engines and are unlikely to show up in search results in the first place.
Here are all the SEO image optimisation tips you need to ensure your hotel can easily be found on search engines:
Choose relevant images for each page
Fun fact: the human brain processes images in 13 milliseconds, which is faster than the time it takes for the eyes to blink (200 milliseconds). It therefore comes as no surprise that website visitors are more likely to notice an image before they begin reading the text. What’s more, research verifies that people are 80% more likely to read content that includes an image, and 64% more likely to remember it afterwards.
While on the one hand having eye-catching images is great for user experience, you also need to keep search engines in mind when choosing an image. As advanced as Google’s AI algorithm currently is, it cannot yet read (and understand) images. It’s therefore imperative that you select images that are relevant to the subject on each page. You should also place the image near the relevant copy on your page or blog post. There’s a simple SEO reason for this: an image placed next to related text will rank better for the keywords that you are optimising it for.
Select high-quality images
Having high-quality images of your hotel online will result in more engagement on both your website and on online travel agents (OTAs). A 2017 Trivago webinar found that profiles with high-quality photos receive 63% more clicks, and a recent TripAdvisor study noted that hotels with 20 or more high-quality images tend to receive 150% more traveller engagement.
When it comes to SEO image optimisation, make sure that you choose the right image file type: JPEGS are usually more SEO friendly than PNGs. What’s more, the actual file size of your image shouldn’t be more than 100KB, otherwise you risk slow page loading times as a result. This is something you want to avoid at all costs! You can easily check your page speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Lastly, you want to make sure that all images you use are responsive for mobile. Have a read of our recent article on how to ensure your hotel website is mobile-friendly for more on this subject.
Save all images with coherent file names
One of the most important parts of SEO optimisation is getting the file name right before you even upload the image to your website. We see way too many hotels with great content uploading images with file names such as ‘DSC4028.jpg’, which is such a shame as it says absolutely nothing about what’s actually on the image. Remember: Google can’t see photos, so it needs you to tell their algorithm what’s on it. As such, the best way to name images for SEO is to use your focus keyword in the file name.
To give you an example, let’s say your hotel is well known for throwing excellent Christmas parties, and your page features an image of your hotel covered in Christmas decorations. You’d want to name the file something along the lines of ‘Your-hotel-name-Christmas-party-ready.jpg’ and place it next to Christmas related text on your webpage.
Use alt text and captions correctly
The alt text, or alt tag, is primarily added to help people with visual impairments understand what’s on the image. The logic here is that you provide ‘alternative text’ to explain what is on the image. This simultaneously helps search engines to determine what’s being shown on the image. As with the file name, you’ll want to add the focus keyword you’re trying to optimise the page for in the alt text copy (if relevant). The same thing goes for image captions: they are there to help Google and readers understand the context of the image when skimming content.
Optimise your online images with HotelREZ
As a hotel representation company, we want your hotel to be shown in the best possible light online. This includes making sure that the images you upload are high-quality and fully optimised. As part of our Hotel marketing services, we use media auditing tools and custom image quality reports to ensure all of our members’ photos are fully optimised to be shared on the GDS. We also use Leonardo’s Enterprise platform, VScape, to maintain correct categorisation on third-party booking channels and the GDS that increase revenue.
We currently provide quality distribution, representation, marketing and consultancy services to more than 1,500 hotels in over 100 countries. If you’re ready for us to help you optimise your images to stand out in the competitive travel market, get in touch today.
HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts was founded in 2004 by Mark Lewis, an experienced hospitality industry professional and entrepreneur. Over the course of over a decade, the company has grown to be one of the leading hotel representation companies dedicated to marketing and connecting independent properties with bookers worldwide. HotelREZ now provides distribution, revenue, sales consultancy and marketing services and support to more than 1,500 hotels, apartments and hotel groups in over 100 countries including private label GDS chain code solutions. HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts is a SAAS company. HotelREZ also incorporates the global World Rainbow Hotels, the world’s only GDS enabled LGBT global hotel consortia representing some 1200 hotels in 230 destinations across the globe.