The dirty word in hotel website design

Today, we’re talking about… How to better use stock photography in your hotel website design.

The art of stock photography

For many hotel marketers, the words stock photography are synonymous with cheesy smiles and terrible lighting. One thing’s for certain, when stock photography is bad, it’s really bad. But the truth is, stock photography is an amazing resource that when artfully curated can do incredible things to bring your brand to life.


Take a look at the website gallery below. Here’s a beautiful destination resort lodge located in Montana. This property, like many, set out to build a hotel gallery page that communicated the true property experience. Notice the balance of property photography (empty shots of interior and exterior spaces) and lifestyle imagery (shots with actual people/models).

Now look again

What if I told you that nearly one-third of those images are stock? Go back and look. Can you tell the difference between the stock photos and the shots that were taken on property? Are you sure?

Tell me the truth

So… which photos are stock? Almost every photo with a person in it came from a stock library. The difference here is that each one was carefully curated and edited to not only match the existing brand photography but to enhance the overall story of the property, to fill in those gaps.

Reality check

This particular property had tons of great architectural shots already in their photo library. Beautiful vistas, gorgeous interior, and exterior spaces, but no people building campfires. They had a few shots of kids enjoying the water, but no couples or people of different ages to help illustrate the true guest experience or—more importantly—the guest profile. Almost every hotel faces a similar problem—gaps in their image asset library.

Stock photography is a gift

Stock photography—when carefully selected, color matched and edited, then paired with existing photography—can help properties zoom in on real experiences, add interesting details, or even create a narrative. Stock gives hotel marketers the freedom to create moments they simply would not be able to communicate otherwise.

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 36th year, is located in Fort Lauderdale, Carlsbad, and Bogota. Visit Tambourine to learn more about our new line of segment-based hospitality solutions. 

About Tambourine

Tambourine is transforming hotel e-commerce. The Firm has become an instrumental partner for elite hoteliers, hotel management and asset management firms seeking to outperform their compset, improve bottom-line profitability and decrease OTA-dependence.

We deliver targeted managed service programs that ensure maximum traffic and conversions across all digital channels. Our team utilizes our own best-in-class technology to empower your property… giving you the confidence and ability to achieve your ownership’s revenue goals.

The firm is celebrating its 35th year in business. For more information about Tambourine, visit

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