How Content Can Make or Break a Hotel’s Success Online

Content is virtually everything that describes, portrays, and — if it’s good — helps market and sell a hotel to a growing online audience of travellers. With the increasing number of hotel-seekers using metasearch, and with the digitalisation of the booking journey, the importance of online content to a hotel’s business success cannot be overstated.

Let’s just say it’s really, really impactful.

The impact of content, however, isn’t always positive. When it comes to a hotel’s online presence and the success it has at driving bookings, poor content is as detrimental as quality content is beneficial.

To fully understand how content can make or break a hotel’s success online, we turned to our expert data researchers. The statistics that follow in this article have been sourced from trivago Business Intelligence data, and pertain to how over a million hotel profiles for hotels around the world perform on trivago’s 55 localized websites.

And these numbers are all telling us the same thing. Today’s hoteliers need to get online and take control of their hotel’s presence there by adding, managing, and optimizing their content. When they do, content becomes one of their greatest online allies.

When they don’t, they risk having their content (or lack thereof) working against them in their pursuit of bookings.

What kinds of content are there, exactly

There’s the metadata kind of content: The hotel details, including the location and the services, facilities, and amenities provided. These determine whether a hotel profile will even appear in search results. When this content is missing or incomplete, it’s not likely that the traveler will ever see the profile. The hotel is out of the running before the race even begins.

There’s written content: The engaging hotel description. This is where a hotelier can highlight their property’s unique selling point and its key features. This is what helps a profile rank higher up in those search results. And not just rank higher, but receive 14% more clicks. When this content is missing or not translated into multiple languages, the hotel profile will not be among those that receive 79% of all clicks.

And then there’s the most powerful kind of content of all: the photos. This visual content immediately captures the travelers’ attention and appeals to them on an emotional level. When this visual content is missing or low quality, only 4% of users will even consider the hotel by clicking on the profile. And even if they consider it, there’s no guarantee they’ll book. After all, next to price, it’s the photos that have the greatest influence on the travelers’ ultimate booking decision.

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The most powerful kind of online content

The evidence of the impact of images is staggering: Hotel profiles featuring high-quality images receive 63% more clicks than those with low-quality photos. Profiles with a high-quality main image—the image that will appear on a list of search results—attract 96% of all clicks on trivago.

Images are also the most easily digested kind of content. Which, in this age of information inundation, is key to effective hotel marketing.

And while all content plays a crucial role in a hotel’s overall success online, it’s the photos that we’ve seen to have the greatest impact on a hotel’s online success — and beyond.

The impact of online content extends beyond the digital sphere

Better visual content makes for a stronger performance online. And the effect of quality online content can extend beyond the Internet and into a hotel’s day-to-day operations, even its revenue.

Hoteliers who don’t take care of their visual content are missing the chance to get more bookings, more revenue, more satisfied guests.

Without quality photos, hoteliers pass up an opportunity to:

  • Increase the average time travelers spend browsing the hotel’s image gallery and website. The more time they spend considering the hotel, the more likely they are to book.
  • Raise their room rates. When travelers can see from the photos the quality of the hotel room, they’ll feel better about paying more for it.
  • Improve their hotel’s online reputation. As the quality of a hotel’s online photos increases, so does the number of positive reviews it receives.
  • Upsell services. If guests see a photo of an elegant bar, perhaps they’ll imagine themselves having a drink there. If they see a photo of a spa? Perhaps they realize they’d like a massage.

And the very act of staging a photoshoot to get these quality images can have an impact. If a bed looks nicer as it was made up for a photo, it certainly looks nicer that way in reality, too. Photos can provide inspiration on how to improve a room’s appearance — and thereby the guest experience.

For ideas on how to curate an online library of perfect hotel images, here’s an article with some good tips.

Because content matters. It matters a whole lot.


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