Welcome to the world wide web, circa 2013
“The future of digital is visual storytelling”
The text-only websites of the early 2000’s have—slowly but surely—been replaced by graphically and visually-driven web interfaces. Faster broadband speeds, cellular networks and high-resolution screens have increased demand for attractive visuals to drive content, to the point that roughly one third of pixel real estate on the web is image content. The trend is certainly obvious on the most popular social media networks. Websites like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are driven by visuals. Twitter, the domain of 140-character text bursts, recently added Vine, a video service showcasing 6-second visual bursts. And of course, you can’t mention video without mentioning YouTube and its one billion monthly visitors.
Visually-driven websites aren’t strictly for social sharing, though. The trend is stretching across the web and touching traditional web design as well, from retailers, manufacturers, service providers and more. The travel industry is no exception; more and more hotels, airlines, online travel agencies, tour companies and others are enhancing their websites with exciting, engaging visuals that tell the story of what it’s like to use their service or visit them in person.
The best websites don’t just throw some pictures and video on the home page. They use those pictures and videos to tell stories—stories that allow the audience to experience whatever it is the website is selling.
“90 percent of all information that gets transmitted to our brains is visual”
Why visual storytelling matters
It’s not just that our computer and phone screens are better and our download speeds faster. Studies show that people prefer—even on a subconscious level—to interact with visuals over plain text. And marketers are learning to take advantage.
“Humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.”
According to William C. Bradford, author of Reaching the Visual Learner: Teaching Property Through Art, 65 percent of the population are visual learners.
And according to Carol Jeffers, professor at California State University, our brains are wired to respond to, interact with, imitate and mirror behavior that we see. She argues that our brains’ visual systems allow us to “experience our own actions and those of others at an abstract level of representation.”
In other words, the act of simply seeing something can allow us to experience it in our own minds. Is it any wonder, then, that marketers looking to tell engaging stories on their websites are moving away from blocks of text towards big, beautiful images and compelling video?
When it comes to your property, visual storytelling with engaging imagery is the perfect way to share your hotel’s atmosphere and your guests’ experiences. By sharing a story, you’re showcasing what staying at your hotel is like, and giving your website visitors the opportunity to imagine themselves staying with you!
From consumer goods to the travel industry, big and bold visuals rule the day.
The sport giant brand Nike, uses on its website, unsurprisingly, large photos of of running shoes. Taking a closer look, you can see the photos are actually interactive—you can adjust the color of the shoes and even the pattern of the fabric. They quickly become not just a pair of shoes, but your pair of shoes.
L’Oreal uses a carousel structure common to today’s web design, but it’s large and the fonts and photo choices call back to fashion magazine advertising, creating a visual connection to a more traditional experience.
Apple’s homepage design, which we saw earlier, is almost minimalistic, with a toolbar at the top, a product in the middle with a link to a video and large visual buttons along the bottom of the page.
And Virgin Airlines is careful to include all the information and interactivity travelers expect and need—such as booking and check-in options—but surrounds it in an attractive, encompassing background image.
Strong visuals are critical in the travel and hospitality industry. As a hotel marketer, what you’re selling is the experience of staying at your property. Your photos and videos can convey that in a much stronger way than a text description or list of amenities. Virtual tours, 360-degree panoramas, and photos that show guests at your hotel can demonstrate to website visitors just what they can expect when they book a stay at your property.
From pro photo shoots to social media, find the images that showcase your hotel experience.
At this point it should be clear: To take your hotel’s website to the next level, you need to reinforce it with strong visuals. The next logical step is acquiring those visuals! You probably already have a collection of professional media: Photos of the property, including rooms, business center, pool and so on. You may also have virtual tours and videos. That’s a great start.
So in summary, today photos, videos and virtual tours help to sell you property or hotel more.
If you would like to learn how PRO PHOTO™ can help you win more customers using the very finest photography, virtual tours and video, then get in touch.