8 Smart Ways To Spot Hotel Marketing Photos That Fake You Out

When checking whether a hotel is excellent or not, we often go to their website, navigate their gallery section, and see how the rooms and amenities look like. But what if these photos are just manipulated to fake you out? 

For sure, you’ve experienced that heartbreaking feeling of betrayal when traveling at least once in your life – like when a particular attraction looks so bad in person and definitely far from how it was advertised online. Well, the same goes for hotels. You might be surprised (and quite disappointed) that the hotel room is more cramped than what you expected, the pool is smaller, and the other facilities are simply subpar. 

Before falling victim to hotel photos that are downright lying to you, here are tips for spotting them. 

1. Be mindful of fake window views

Hotels that are situated near a famous tourist attraction often use their proximity advantage when marketing their properties online. They may say things like “just a 10-minute drive to Eiffel Tower” or something similar. 

Other dishonest properties, however, blatantly use photoshop to manipulate the photos of their hotel room. They place a photo of the iconic structure on the windows, making unsuspecting guests think that they’ll actually have a stunning view. 

To avoid faking you out, research the hotel and find out how close it really is to the popular tourist destination. 

2. Look for mirrors

Courtesy of Oyster.com

Does the fitness center look huge and fully-equipped? Well, make sure they’re not using floor to ceiling mirrors to create the illusion of a bigger space. If the shot of the equipment is cropped, expect the gym to be cramped in real life since they don’t have a lot of room to work with. 

3. Don’t trust pools shot at a low angle

Looking for a hotel with a huge pool? If the pool is shot at a low angle, chances are that it will look vast. The problem is, even small, tub-like pools can look wider and bigger than they are using this trick. 

4. Models, models, models

Here’s a common scenario: you’ll see photos of happy models who seem to have a secluded beach or pool all to themselves. There are tight shots of beautiful ladies who enjoy their quick dip in the pool, and shots of smiling couples on their bathrobes, relaxing in their hotel room. 

While using models give you a gist of your future hotel experience, be wary of properties that try to distract you from the fact that there’s nothing more to see. You need to see how a wide shot of the room and the amenities to visualize the property – and not cropped shots of people, with vague backgrounds. 

5. Objects, objects, objects

The same goes for photos of objects, like this refreshing glass of cocktail. For a product shot of the restaurant’s bar menu, this image is superb. But for a marketing photo of a pool area? Not so much – unless they have a wide shot of the amenity. 

6. Cropping overload!

If a photo is overly cropped, it’s safe to assume that the hotel is trying to hide something. Perhaps, an overly cropped photo of the pool area may try to conceal a few eyesores that surround the place, like ugly construction sites or dirty walls. A cropped image of a hotel room, where you can only see a tight shot of the bed and side table, may try to hide the fact that the room is too small. 

7. Wide-angle lens for a wider-looking hotel room

Ever wondered why the hotel room looks smaller in real life even if it seems bigger in the photos? Chances are that the photographers used a wide-angle lens, which has a field of view that’s wider than that of the human eye. In simpler words, it can make cramped and narrow spaces look wider and bigger. It’s essential in real estate and interior design photographers’ arsenal. 

8. Colors that are too Pinterest-worthy to be true

Another post-processing trick is enhancing the colors of the image. Many travel businesses nowadays, from lodging to tours, are notorious for overdoing their color grading, making their properties Instagram-worthy. With presets, the greenish waters can turn aqua blue, the wooden elements become more vibrant, and everything feels like a dream. 

While it’s not bad to enhance the colors, it can sometimes give guests the notion of a “tropical island paradise” that awaits them. They, however, get disappointed by the room being dull and average-looking in real life. 

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the resident writers for Cahernane House Hotel Killarney, a charming four-star boutique hotel, beautifully set on a picturesque private estate and near the bustling Killarney town centre. Her fondness for travel, food, and cultural appreciation makes it easy for her to write inspiring pieces of content about them. 


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