Whenever we're looking for hotels to check into, we don't only rely on words to learn about their inclusions; we seek photos to visualize the site and to decide whether or not a specific hotel brand is the best choice. However, there are instances when we fall into the expectation versus reality dilemma upon seeing the hotel personally.
We question why the guest room isn't as vibrant or as large as it was portrayed on the website, or why the photo on the pamphlet didn't alert us of the unsightly ongoing construction blocking the view which is far from the "tropical paradise experience" the hotel promised. And that, my friend, is the moment we realize we've got fooled.
Hotels cast a spell through photos to make their site appear more desirable. They often rely heavily on photography tricks to create the impression that their amenities are cleaner, wider, and prettier than they actually are. Aside from camera tricks like using wide-angle lenses, zooming, and framing, they use various editing software to manipulate photos. They include the things that aren't there and to exclude some deal-breakers.
So before booking a hotel, here are nine ways to tell if the good-to-be-true hotel promo photo is faking you out.
1. The pool is taken from a lower angle
When it's taken from a lower angle, with only turquoise crystal clear waters to see and pool edges excluded, expect the pool to be smaller in real life. Photographers use a low angle to create the illusion that their subjects look bigger and wider. Some pools that are only twice as big as a jacuzzi tub can look vast and deep with this trick.
2. Pools and beaches are too unoccupied to be true
The photo looks as if the pool area is vast, quiet, and pristine. Of course, let's get real; with other guests staying at the hotel with you, you can expect to see a few people enjoying a quick dip or relaxing on sunbeds in real life. What you didn't expect though was the sea of people including rowdy children that occupy the small pool area.
3. Most photos are close-ups
Yeah, it shows a photo of a treadmill but you can't see what the whole gym looks like. Cropped, tightly framed photos often imply the lack of confidence in the hotel brand's part; it's either the size is smaller in real life or they try to exclude some eyesores.
4. Don't let the smiling kid or the beautiful lady fool you
Aside from objects, hotels can also stage a photo with people. You see a close-up shot of a fresh-looking maiden in the pool and a family in bed, laughing. We understand that hotels sell experiences. However, due to these perfectly staged and cropped photos, you don't see what the amenities look like from a wider angle. If there are more people photographed than amenities, think again.
5. The buffet table looks like a fiesta
The picture on the website shows a table filled with delectable, appetizing well-plated cuisines from all over the world. You saw red lobsters, roast meats, and a wide array of colorful desserts. It's disappointing when some hotels couldn't live up to their mouthwatering photos, as there are a variety of cuisines not available. The presentation of the dishes is also off, as if people have already picked over the food.
6. The hotel's distance to a picturesque tourist site seems shady
If the hotel features aren't enough to lure you, they have another bait to steal your heart: “We are located near a popular local attraction.” They back up their claim with a photo of the tourist site that appears to be a few steps away from the hotel.
Little did you know that they used the zoom lens and cropped the picture to confuse you with proximity. Some sly hotels even go too far by manipulating the picture of the guest room and replacing the ugly window view with something attractive.
7. There's a balcony but there are no views
Chances are you really have nothing beautiful to view from your balcony. The view can be as unsightly as a filthy firewall of the building beside the hotel. Yes, the picture includes items like a coffee table and metal railings but that doesn't justify viewing pleasure.
8. The room looks weirdly wide
A wide lens camera is every real estate photographer's best friend. They use this special lens and shoot at clever angles to make a small, cramped room appear wider. Another magic trick is the smart use of mirrors, which creates the optical illusion of a bigger square footage.
9. Photos went wild with lighting and saturation
The hotel backs up their claim of tropical island paradise experience with vivid photos: The pool has bright turquoise waters, the seemingly lush garden is vividly green, and the rooms' interior design looks alive. But in real life, although they're clean, they all look bland and dull. The people behind the lighting and editing must have done a great job.
Author Bio: Mina Natividad is one of the writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Accommodation, a modern hotel in Western Sydney known for their exceptional accommodation, service, and location, which appeals to travelers in Australia. She has always been passionate about giving in to her wanderlust and collecting mementos from different places.