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How To Use Photos To Sell Tours Online Like Hot Cakes

October 10, 2017 | By | 5 Comments

Your tour photos will make or break your conversions. It’s the difference between a visitor booking a trip or leaving your site never to return.

As per Tourism Marketing, website visitors will spend 10X more time on AirBnB listings with professional photos versus amateur photos (20 seconds vs. 2 seconds). Clearly, quality photos can make all the difference to your online sales.

So, let’s walk you through how to use photos to sell your tours online like hot cakes. We’ll look at:

The 3 Characteristics of Compelling Photos

All great photos have the following: Quality, People, and Atmosphere. Put simply, your Tour and travel website design need high-quality photos, showing people having a great time in a great atmosphere. Let’s dig deeper into each aspect individually, while comparing photos from 2 different tour themes.

Quality. It counts!

Like it or not, people will judge your online tour business by the quality of your photos. Can you remember the last time you bought from a site that had pixelated photos? Probably not, right?

Selling online is all about how your tour theme and images are perceived by visitors. For your website visitors to truly believe your tours are world-class, follow these simple steps:

  • Ensure your photos are HD quality: Always take photos with a professional camera. The quality will be evident when you enlarge the photos on your website. HD photos are easy to enlarge and don’t pixelate, while photos taken with a lower resolution will easily pixelate, ruining your user’s experience.
  • Brighten and enlarge photos: Use any basic photo editing software like Canva or Photoshop to do this. It’s no surprise that brighter & larger photos convert better. To understand this further, let’s compare photos on two different websites that sell tours online:

Website #1

Website #2


Can you see how larger high-quality photos on Website #2 can enhance the user’s experience when shopping around for online tours?

  • Save and upload photos as JPEG: This format manages all the colours in your photos in a ‘size efficient’ manner. Saving your photos in a format like PNG would leave you with large unmanageable file sizes, so stick to JPEG.
  • Make your photos responsive: Use the code in this link to make your photos accessible on all devices (mobile, tablet & desktop). With the number of mobile visitors growing, you just can’t afford to skip this step.
  • Overlay text on the image: This provides the user with more info on the photo and creates a better user experience. There are a few approaches to overlaying text, like displaying it on hovering over an image, or through static text on the image. Check out this resource to learn the art of text overlays.

People, they matter!

Kissmetrics shows us that adding human faces to an image can increase conversion rates by 95%! Tour website visitors want to be able to imagine themselves inside your tour photos. It’s important that people in your photos are easy to relate with for your target audience.

Here’s a small checklist on how to do this:

  • Match the people in your photo with your target audience. So if you offer honeymoon tours, use newly married couples in your tour photos!
  • Make sure they’re enjoying themselves in the photo. This usually means that people are smiling in the photo, but it could also imply an expression of awe if they are looking outwards from a majestic landscape.

So, don’t forget to ‘humanize’ your tour photos, like the ones in Website #2!

Atmosphere, make it awesome!

Remember, people are looking at the photos as if they are experiencing the moment when it was taken. So if you have cloudy, gloomy weather, you might end up repelling customers.

Take photos in bright and sunny weather to give your customers the best possible visual experience. And, if you can’t find great weather, then use any basic photo editing software to brighten the surroundings in the photo, to match your lively tour theme.

Take a look at the atmosphere within the photo displayed for a tour in Rio De Janeiro on Website #1. Although there’s a photo here, it doesn’t draw the website visitor in. The photo is taken in the dark, is very dull and looks like a photo taken from a plane from someone’s smartphone. Would you agree?

Comparing this to website #2 again, in particular, the photo for the tour “Italian Espresso”, you can almost experience being present in Venice, feeling happy while walking along the river canals and boats. That’s how this travel operator leverages the power of showing a great ambience within the travel photos to influence their website visitors and leave a lasting impression on their minds. Clearly, the photos lift the ‘mood’ of the destination, leaving the website visitor feeling more elevated and excited to know more.

Four Ideas for Authentic Photos that Don’t look like Fake Stock Images

Users crave authenticity from businesses they purchase from, and it’s no different with the tourism industry. So, the last thing you want is your photos to look “staged” or “fake”. You want the photos inserted into your tour website design to look like they’re taken by real people, for real people.

Here’s what a staged photo looks like:

When you view this photo, don’t you think of something like a ‘postcard cover photo’? It doesn’t look ‘real’ and lacks a personal appeal.

Here are four ideas you can use to produce authentic photos to match your lively tour and travel website design:

  1. Street Photos

If your tour revolves around a city, hit the streets! Showing the personality of the city, whether it’s through photos of street artists, a street market or the local shops can be a great way to highlight the city’s unique culture. Have a look at a street photo below:

Now, don’t you feel like part of the crowd? You can almost imagine yourself standing on this street, enjoying the city vibe!

  1. Transit Photos

Amsterdam has bikes, Thailand has Tuk Tuks, and almost every place has their own way of travelling. Travellers marvel at the different modes of transport around the world.

Take a look at the photo above. Feel like you’re part of the Tuk Tuk ride? If you do, this photo has done its job! Now, see where you can replicate this in your tour website design for your tours.

  1. Activity Photos

If there’s a special activity in your tour that’s adventurous or mystical, make sure you showcase it! The photo below is great for selling Egyptian tours, where camel riding is one of the highlights. Your travel website photos need to be ‘true to the place’.

  1. Scenic Photos

Is there a beautiful beach or an awe-inspiring mountain peak you can showcase from your tours? Your photo should give viewers a full view of or from such scenic locations.  The travel photo below, for instance, does a great job of selling the peace and tranquillity of the location, which is what most travellers desire.

How to Add Photos To Your Tour Website Without SEO Mistakes

Tour website SEO is uniquely important in the tourism industry. This is because 66% of all leisure travellers use search engines to do their research before travelling. And, when they search for images to inspire their travel ideas, you want them to see your tour website images so they book a tour with you.

Here’s a great guide showing you how to optimize the SEO for your travel images so you can get more search traffic to your site. For a basic overview of tour image SEO, you just need to keep these three tasks in mind:

Create an SEO-friendly filename – When Google is indexing photos on your tour site, the filename is the first keyword it looks at. So make sure it’s not “DC3021.jpg”, and instead give it a name that’ll describe the image like “new-zealand-beach.jpg”.

  • Alt tag text: This is the text that’ll be shown when the image is not visible to the user. In this text you should include: ‘city or destination name of the tour’, ‘the type of tour it is’, ‘one or two more keywords’ to rank for specific to this image.
  • Add a caption to the photos:  Here’s a shocking stat: 300% more people will read the caption text to a photo than the actual body copy. So, make sure the caption describes the image well.

And that’s it! You’ve learned the art of using great photos in your tour and travel website design to sell tours online like hot cakes. Execute the points above, and your online tour sales should increase dramatically. To make sure your well-chosen tour images are emphasized, try the VacationLabs tour website builder. It gives your tour images high priority.


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