The dirty word in hotel website design



Today we are talking about … How to best use archival 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 is for sure, when archival photography is bad it is really bad. But the truth is, stock photography is an amazing resource that, when carefully curated, can do amazing things to bring your brand to life.


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

Now look again

What if I told you that almost a third of these images are in stock? Go back and watch. Can you tell the difference between archival photos and photos taken on the property? Are you sure?

Tell me the truth

So… what photos are in stock? Almost all of the photos with someone in them were from a stock library. The difference here is that each has been carefully curated and edited to not only match the existing brand photography, but to enhance the overall history of the property, to fill in those gaps.

Reality check

This particular property already had tons of great architectural photos in its photo library. Beautiful views, beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces, but no one is having a campfire. They had a few pictures of kids enjoying the water, but no couples or people of different ages to illustrate the true guest experience or, more importantly, the guest profile. Almost all hotels face a similar problem: gaps in their image library.

Stock photography is a gift

Archival photographs, when carefully selected, color-matched, and edited, then paired with existing photographs, can help properties zoom in on real experiences, add interesting detail, or even create a narrative. Stock gives hotel marketers the freedom to create moments they simply couldn’t communicate otherwise.

About Tambourine

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

About Tambourine

Tambourine continues to rock the hospitality industry with integrated, customized marketing solutions for hotels, resorts and destinations around the world. The company’s emergence as a market leader for branded hotels and independent hotels is a testament to their core values: putting customer service at the center of the scene, setting the standards for hotel website design and making the easier and more profitable performance digital marketing for its valued partners. .

For more information on Tambourine, visit


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