A guide to visual content for hoteliers

The cliché, “an image is worth a thousand words,” actually has a lot of merit to it. Studies have shown that images communicate a lot more than words in a lot less time, while triggering emotions and being easier to remember. As the web has grown to be more visually stocked, your guests are expecting a visual experience when they interact with your brand.

There’s just one disclaimer: your images need to be relevant to travelers at every point along their purchasing journey. Google has helped hoteliers make sense of the incredibly complex traveler’s journey, organizing it into what they call “micro-moments”—when people turn to a device with intent to answer an immediate need. (Thanks, Google.)

Here’s how they break it down:

  • Dreaming Moments
  • Planning Moments
  • Booking Moments
  • Experiencing Moments

Creating content that appeals to travelers in each moment provides your hotel a massive opportunity to win their business.

Here, we’ll explore the types of visual content to serve travelers when they’re in each micro-moment described above—and you’ll be on your way to a building a library of content and a relevancy goldmine.

Dreaming Moments

Dreaming moments are when people start thinking about wanting to get away. Here’s your chance to truly inspire travelers.

According to Google, 83% of travelers say social networking, video, and photo sites are their number one source for travel inspiration. Your homepage is an excellent place to inspire travelers, as well as social media content—the advantage here being a light lift and something your hotel can start doing immediately.

Take this Instagram post from Adrift Hotel & Spa. It’s a perfect example of the type of content travelers are looking for when they’re primed to be won over:

Adrift Hotel uses Instagram to inspire new travelers

An eye-catching photograph and the use of strategic hashtags like #LongBeachWA make this photo discoverable by travelers dreaming of getting away to the Pacific Northwest.

There are some things to keep in mind with content that’s targeted for travelers in this phase of their journey. The first is to avoid using overly branded content or making presumptive asks like “book now.”

Also, stock photos should be kicked to the curb in most phases, but especially at this moment. Authenticity matters and a canned image can easily leave an uninspiring first impression.

Planning Moments

At this point, travelers have an idea of where they want to go, but still need to make up their mind on where to stay and what to do. As a hotel, your aim is to make it on the shortlist of their top places to stay, and now it’s time to convince them you’re the best option.

Use photos to focus in on the unique selling points of your hotel, weaving in real guest stories where possible.

For Adrift, this might include sharing images of The Pickled Fish—a quaint beachfront restaurant located on the top floor—or the complimentary beach cruisers on their hotel’s web gallery.

With a quick visit to Adrift’s gallery or Facebook page, you’ll know it’s a haven for dog (and cat!) lovers. Not only does a post like this one perk the curiosity of a casual onlooker, it’s telling a richer story for the property.

Adrift Hotel tells their story with a guest story on Facebook

Booking Moments

Yes, the moment of booking!

Here’s when traditional room photos come in handy. Feature images that are relevant to the accommodations that are being booked and ensure that these images are consistent with other areas of your website. The last thing you want someone to do at this point in their journey is feel like you’ve given them false information.

Be mindful of the amount of visual content that you use here. The goal is to get guests through the booking process, not distract them.

Experiencing Moments

Experiences are what travel is all about. These are the moments people cherish and are the ones they’ll want to relive and share with friends & family.

If a pre-stay email is part of your communication strategy, here’s the perfect opportunity to sprinkle in some richer imagery to build excitement for what your soon-to-be guests have in store. Highlight authentic guests stories, local events and businesses, and invite them to join the conversation on your social channels so they can continue to be inspired.

Once they’re on property, invite them to take part in the local community with thoughtful touch points and social shares. Here’s one from Adrift, inviting guests to visit one of their favorite suppliers—a local soap company.

Adrift Hotel promotes local business for onsite guests to explore

The right image at the right moment can make all the difference on a traveler’s purchase decision. Relevant content in your communication with future, current and past guests is the key in capturing, nurturing and retaining lasting relationships for years to come. And that is what hospitality is all about.

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Pro tips: kickstarting a career in the travel industry

When I first joined the hotel marketing world, I was given empowering and inspiring advice from coworkers and friends. Those words of wisdom helped me confidently dive head first into the industry. Now I’d like to pay it forward.

So I tapped the shoulders of coworkers, friends, partners, and mentors to share what they’ve learned along the way and what advice they have for newcomers in the travel industry.

Get the scoop on what they had to say below:

Patrick Grimes
Travel Sales & Marketing Veteran


Patrick has worn many hats in this industry, chiefly because others are quick to recognize his talent and initiative. Patrick’s advice comes from years of dedication to the industry and, of course, really hard (but smart) work.

Sweat every day. Literally or figuratively. Continue to move. When you don’t, you will struggle. Be in the sun. Get and stay uncomfortable.

Dream then do. Stay “creatively focused.” An idea is good but don’t let it wander into an infinite ether. What’s the first thing you need to do to action the idea, then what’s the second? Move forward with what’s worthy of your time and talents.

Go with your gut. Don’t ever second guess yourself and wonder, “Is this right?” Your accomplishments will be the sum of your instinct, ambition, and actions. Do it, then assess and learn.

Shelby Cunningham — Business Development Manager


Shelby is an industry vet who truly practices what she preaches. She promotes and embraces the philosophy that partnerships are give and take, never hesitating to lend a helping hand when needed.

I would give myself a twist on one of my favorite travel quotes—‘voyage, travel, and change of place impart vigor’—and recommend that I truly embrace all the passion that this industry holds—within each company vision, within the people who bring travel to life for others, and within each conference, partnership, and new friendship found.

This passion, this ‘vigor,’ this energy is what propels my commitment to continuing to grow and learn as a person, a fellow industry employee, and a participant in travel itself.

Chris Kane — Account Director of Leisure Sales
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin


Chris’s advice on networking should be heeded, not just because it’s correct, but because it’s coming from an expert. There are networkers in this industry, and then there’s Chris Kane. But don’t watch him work a room…you should be networking instead!

For those just starting out—try to intern whenever possible. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door, learn a new skill set and of course hopefully lead to a paying job. Companies like to hire from within and what a better way to put yourself out there as a candidate.

NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK! You never know what doors can open by networking and getting to know your travel industry peers. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that gets you up in the travel industry ladder that much faster.

Avoid burning bridges with travel industry peers, bosses, and executives. You never know in your next steps down the career path whom you could be working with/for!

Find a mentor whenever possible. Their career experience and insight can be a huge asset to your own development, plus free first-hand education.

Wade Lindquist — Vice President of Sales


I met Wade at the ROC conference in New Orleans and became quick friends! He’s been in the industry for over 15 years and has a wealth of experience in hospitality sales and marketing.

If I knew back in the early 2000’s what I know today I would have:

1. Gone to college with an emphasis in hospitality.

2. Started helping hotels realize that they can directly market and compete against the OTA’s much earlier in my career—and might have been able to put a dent in their reliance on OTA’s several years earlier.

However, I could not be happier to be where I am today. I’m more passionate than ever about what I do and the industry I am blessed to be able to call my home!

Lola Feiger — Digital Marketing


ALICE & Flip.to always find each other in the same room at the industry’s biggest hospitality events. And when you’re in a room full of incredible talent, you meet great people—and that’s where we met Lola.

It would have been helpful to know early on that it’s good to experiment at the start to find your highest performing channel, but then you should narrow your focus quickly. Channels we focused a lot of resources on, like social media and paid social, wound up not being very useful for us, as hotel decision makers don’t spend a lot of time there.

I’d also tell newcomers that if they’re considering outsourcing their PR to professionals, they should direct the PR team’s attention primarily to getting mainstream consumer press and industry event speaking invitations, since running press releases and publishing in the hotel trades can be easily done on your own.

Sam Trotter — Corporate Brand Strategist
Charlestowne Hotels


When he’s not writing for HNN or working on marketing campaigns for Charlestowne Hotels, he’s welcoming newcomers to the industry with a beer and friendly conversations.

For your long term career having a big name matters often times more than your experience. I come from a family of small businesses and have always been too entrepreneurial for that type of environment, but missing that recognizable brand held me back from positions I was more than qualified for earlier on in my career.

I would recommend camping out at Google/Salesforce/Amazon/etc. until someone agrees to hire you!

Scott Robbins — Director of Sales & Marketing
The LA Hotel Downtown


Scott has spent the last 15 years mastering the world of sales and marketing at independent and branded properties. He’s sharp, persistent, and always answers his phone!

Working for a branded property (Marriott, Hilton) can give an individual wonderful experience in sales 101, but when it comes to marketing, that area tends to elude sales folks in the beginning of their careers since the branded properties have departments and dedicated folks that focus solely on the marketing side of the business.

The biggest exposure to the marketing arena is working for an independent property whereas one will have to manage the marketing side without the assistance of a Global office or individuals dedicated to the different facets of marketing such as social media, print/digital advertising, geo-fencing, etc.

I believe that any sales professional looking to make hospitality a career, should venture and learn the basics of marketing at the start of their journey or at least understand how important marketing is to the sales engine of any hotel.

Do you have a marketing tip you’d like to share? We’re alway looking to spread the word to newcomers! Send us your advice to hello@flip.to.

Wedding stories worth rekindling

Weddings are some of the most memorable experiences for your guests and their friends who choose your hotel to celebrate. It’s a day to be shared with the people they love, and the beginning of a lifetime of moments worth rekindling.

Hotels often find themselves at the heart of these timeless moments. Couples turn to their hosts to deliver a memorable and thoughtful experience.

When guests share, it’s not only an opportunity to unveil your exceptional wedding experience from a perspective that only your guests provide. For hotels, you can convert these once-in-a-lifetime moments into lasting impact that goes well beyond the day of the event.

They said ‘Yes’

Shawnee Inn – Wedding Moments

“Our Best Part was being able to be part of & celebrate in our daughter Dana Marie’s engagement! Her fiance’ Ryan F. proposed to her New Year’s Eve afternoon on the ground of Shawnee Inn” – Jennifer G.

Experience Shawnee Inn

Shawnee Inn is not only perfect for weddings, but engagements too! Jennifer shared the excitement of her daughter’s engagement with friends and family, making for some seriously good, personal introductions for the Inn.

The Stanley – Wedding Moments

“My girlfriend and I got engaged in Rocky Mountain National Park the day that we stayed at The Stanley. The Stanley upgraded our room at no charge and provided us with a complimentary bottle of champagne to help us celebrate!” – Lucas S.

Create memories

Lucas put the staff at The Stanley Hotel at the center of this special memory. Together with his fellow guests, The Stanley has reached the people who matter the most (to the tune of over one million in just the last year).

Moments of Matrimony

Shawnee Inn – Wedding Moments

“When I was a little girl I fell in love with the Shawnee Inn and surrounding area. Skiing Shawnee Mountain, taking rafts down the Delaware, watching shows at the Shawnee Playhouse and roasting s’mores by a campfire were all highlights. I knew way back then that I wanted to get married on the big, beautiful veranda at Shawnee Inn. Many years later that dream became a reality. It was the most perfect day and even better than I could have imagined at 8 years old. The best part was sharing the magic of Shawnee with my family and friends” – Julie O.

Show some love

Julie’s childhood dreams of a magical wedding at the Shawnee Inn became reality. Shawnee Inn is attracting new audiences when guests relive their fondest memories. This special experience shared by Julie, is doing just that.

Royal Park – Wedding Moments

“Making a wish for a lifetime of moments like this.” – Brittney J.

Enjoy more

This candid photo shared by Brittney is the beginning of a lifetime of memories captured. Brittney’s story won first place in Royal Park’s latest photo contest, and Royal Park reaped the benefits as well, receiving over 2,000 warm introductions from this photo alone.

Lafayette Hotel – Wedding Moments

“I absolutely loved the decor in the lobby and the brick surrounding the outside walls! It was perfect for my bridal pictures before my wedding ceremony.” – Megan M.

Peek at the moment

Lafayette Hotel made for the perfect wedding venue for guest Megan. After a beautiful ceremony, Megan shared this unforgettable moment with hundreds of friends and relatives, reaching a new audience of future travelers for Lafayette Hotel.

Tanque Verde Ranch – Wedding Moments 2

“We love Tanque Verde Ranch” – Amanda K.

See more love

Tanque Verde Ranch has boosted their revenue while amplifying their brand with an incredible library of potent guest stories like this one shared by Amanda.

Adrift Hotel – Wedding Moments

“We first went to the Adrift for a romantic getaway when we were dating, then returned to have our wedding there. It is such a beautiful and special place for us. A perfect getaway. We return often to reconnect and have a quiet weekend. We just love Long Beach and Adrift.” – Brandy T.

Getaway to Adrift

Adrift Hotel and Spa holds a special place in Brandy’s heart. It’s warm introductions like these that capture the hearts and minds of travelers and lead to future reservations.

Tanque Verde Ranch – Wedding Moments

“We had our daughter’s wedding at TVGR and we couldn’t be happier with the staff, the accommodations, and the views, they even provided a dramatic appearance of a small herd of deer just behind the ceremony, like a scene from a Disney movie! Her guests were blown away and several mentioned, that this was the best Wedding venue ever.” – Gary W.

Enjoy the view

An unforgettable wedding ceremony, breathtaking scenery, and exceptional staff left Gary and his family amazed. It’s no wonder he shared this special memory with hundreds of friends and relatives.

South Coast Winery – Wedding Moments

“Our magical wedding dreams come true at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa.” – Bernice & Jonathan

See the magic

This candid and intimate moment shared by Bernice & Jonathan captures the exquisite wedding experience that South Coast Winery Resort & Spa has to offer.

Here come the Newlyweds

Margaritaville Island Hotel – Wedding Moments

“Arriving to our fountain view jacuzzi suite for the first time as husband and wife!” – Heather G.

Show some love to the Newlyweds

Newlywed Heather shared this honeymoon selfie of she and her hubby arriving to their fountain view jacuzzi suite at Margaritaville Island Hotel. She and her fellow guests are making introductions to travelers a degree away at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. Heather’s photo alone has driven over 600 introductions back to a personal experience on Margaritaville’s site.

Weddings are another opportunity for hotels to inspire future travelers through advocacy. When a guest shares their wedding story with family and friends, they bring their timeless memory to life.

These personable and heartwarming stories resonate to make for really warm introductions to your hotel, having massive reach and helping to convert inspired travelers into future guests of your hotel.

Flip.to and Fuel partner to uncover hotel website essentials in new 2017 study

It’s safe to say in 2017 that the importance of a well-designed and well-maintained hotel website cannot be overstated. A quick Google search will reveal ample research and data to validate that the website is arguably one of the most important weapons in a hotel marketers arsenal.

So much so, that it can be both informative and overwhelming all at once.

That’s why Flip.to teamed up with Fuel, an industry leader in hotel marketing, to reach out to thousands of travelers to better understand what it is about the hotel website experience that matters most. Because in the end, nothing trumps empirical data when it comes to managing precious marketing dollars. (And your website is not worth the gamble.)

Key insights you’ll gain:

  • First impressions matter. The travel buyer is willing to spend time searching but would prefer not to. The study reveals what those search patterns are and how the crafty marketer is addressing them.
  • Which sources are the most influential in the travel decision-making process?
  • What elements of the hotel website are the most important to the guest?
  • Are loyalty programs important and what program benefits matter most?
  • How important is price when shopping and, more importantly, how can hotels address this without giving away the house?

Click through to download the full summary of the findings here:

Download here

Plus, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to reach out to us at hello@flip.to with your ideas on the study—or anything travel marketing related!

Stories that inspire: our favorite guest moments from January

Every guest story is an opportunity for a hotel to unveil something new. Stories reach & inspire—they’re truly memorable, sometimes magical, and a lot of times, a bit of fun.

In a way, we’ve fallen in love with guest stories, and every day see firsthand the impact they’re making for hotels. That’s why we’re sharing them with you! Check out a handful of our recent favorites below:

Crystal Lodge—Top January 2017

Crystal Lodge — Whistler, British Columbia

“Staff were unbelievably helpful and friendly. Ski valet staff always made time to have a chat about snow conditions, weather and best runs etc. Immense hotel, immense holiday!” – David B.

Hit the slopes

Crystal Lodge is a regular on this list. Their all-star staff is constantly making headlines with their guests. In return, their guests have helped this pristine Whistler property tap into over 200,000 authentic introductions in the last year alone.

Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa a favorite Flip.to guest story from January

Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa — Victoria, British Columbia

“Brentwood Bay is a magical place. Nothing more perfect then a warm summer day, renting kayaks & then finishing up with lunch and relaxation at the Brentwood Bay Resort. Doesn’t get better then this!” – Alexis N.

Admire more

Alexis shared this fun moment from a trip to Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa. She and her fellow guests are helping Brentwood get introduced to travelers a degree away at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. Alexis alone has reached 11,000 friends and family and counting.

La Casa del Zorro a favorite Flip.to guest story from January

La Casa del Zorro – Borrego Springs, California

“I love Anza Borrego Desert State Park, and I love to stay at La Casa del Zorro when I’m visiting it. Who would have thought that such an amazing hotel would be in the middle of the park? The standards are very, very close to those maintained by the Copley’s in years past.” – Peter W.

Catch the view

This peaceful moment shared by Peter tells a candid story of the experience at La Casa del Zorro from a perspective only their guests can provide.

Caribe Royale a favorite Flip.to guest story from January

Caribe Royale — Orlando, Florida

“The best part of the hotel for us, is the pool area. We can sit poolside and watch the kids go down the slide, grab a drink and something to eat from there, or just relax on a float in the pool. When we get away to relax, it’s easy to do there!” – Trista S.

Make memories

Caribe Royale reaches travelers perfect for their hotel thanks to guests like Trista. She shared the favorite moment from her stay, driving over 1,100 introductions back to a personal experience on Caribe’s site.

Pacific Terrace Hotel a favorite Flip.to guest story from January

Pacific Terrace Hotel – San Diego, California

“We travelled from Seattle for an important audition. After spending the morning worried about where we would practice, we approached the front desk and asked if there was anywhere we would be able to go. We were escorted to the Caribbean Conference room, Raul was brought in to make the temp just right, and Sophia came back with tea and honey for us. Talk about VIP treatment… We couldn’t have been happier with our stay!” – Amy H.

Explore Pacific Terrace

Pacific Terrace is attracting new audiences and capturing new travelers worldwide when guests relive their fondest moments. This captivating experience, brought to you by Amy, is doing just that.

Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague a favorite Flip.to guest story from December

Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague — Prague, Czech Republic

“Buddha bar hotel is a body and mind experience” – Anastasios A.

Experience Prague

Buddha-Bar Hotel is warmly introducing their hotel to a global audience before their competitors even have a chance. They’re turning warm introductions into future reservations, each and every day.

SeaVenture Pismo Beach Hotel a favorite Flip.to guest story from January

SeaVenture Pismo Beach Hotel — Pismo Beach, California

Relax a bit

For guests like Igor, SeaVenture is turning the excitement for an upcoming trip into authentic introductions. A view like this is enough to get anyone excited for an upcoming trip to Pismo Beach!

POSTMARC Hotel & Spa Suites a favorite Flip.to guest story from January

POSTMARC Hotel & Spa Suites — South Lake Tahoe, California

“Crystal clear water of Lake Tahoe” – Nicole H.

Discover more

POSTMARC Hotel & Spa Suites is boosting revenue and telling a richer story, all while amplifying their brand with an incredible library of content.

Hotel Zephyr a favorite Flip.to guest story from January

Hotel Zephyr — San Francisco, California

“At Pier 39. A beautiful walk from the hotel.” – Christine Elizabeth S.

Visit San Francisco

Hotel Zephyr is getting seriously good, personal introductions from guests like Christine. Together with her fellow guests, Hotel Zephyr has reached the people who matter most—to the tune of three-quarters-of-a-million in just the last year.

Check back next month for even more. See any stories that stand out? Let us know!

Adventure back to December’s stories