A picture sells 1,000 rooms

A week doesn’t go by without a friend or colleague sending me a website to check out, usually because the sender feels it is unique or interesting. This week, I was sent the following site for a Parisian hotel: I found the site to be interesting, though lacking in some important functionality that would help engage guests and sell rooms. Overall, I viewed the site as a success in depicting a style and vibe for the hotel.

This is a small hotel, decorated by a renowned interior designer. The spaces are admittedly quite small; the website states, “This man of genius, unrivaled specialist of stylish interiors, transformed the hotel into a real jewel — or rather a jewel box!” The smallest guestroom is only 13 square meters (140 sq ft). As you read through the website, you realize the hotel unapologetically owns its small space. The web, however, is a visual medium, and it is a difficult task to shoot interesting photography in small spaces.

Instead of taking a bland and uninspiring “architectural” approach, the hotel took a risk and composed a lifestyle photo shoot. It is clear it spared no expense and even engaged in a story arc with the selected photography. Notice the composition of each photo. This isn’t just models standing in a hotel with fake smiles and laughter; it is artistic and interesting, just like the hotel.

The photography overcomes the small space, the limited website and the somewhat quirky nature of the hotel. It absolutely sets the mood, sets expectations and compels the traveler to stay at the property.  All too often I have seen hotels take a safe approach or try to save money when budgeting for new photography or video. If you are fighting for a more robust budget, use this website as an example, and remember, a picture can sell 1,000 room nights.