How to take better photos of your property

Updated 2 months ago
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Key takeaway: Property photography plays an important role in helping guests choose a place to stay. To make the most of your photos, stick to our guidelines and leverage our best practices wherever possible. Not sure what photo to choose? Ask for an opinion

 


Photography guidelines

A conveniently selected and fit-for-purpose property photo gallery can be a driving factor for guests choosing their next place to stay. To help with your photo gallery, we put together this set of guidelines:

  1. Keep photos travel-related and useful to guests:

Choose photos that show your property's most relevant features to set accurate expectations for potential guests, such as:

  • Facilities and services available at your property
  • Decor, location, and surroundings
  • Your security features
  • Demonstrable cleanliness measures in place, both at the room- and property-level 
  • Global, regional, and local cleanliness or safety badges, logos, watermarks, certificates in any local language or English, whether issued by government agencies or by industry certification orgs
  • Regional and local logos, badges, watermarks, vouchers, and certificates related to COVID-19 government recovery policies in any local language or English 
  • Your Booking.com awards if applicable

Note: We’ll remove all photos that contain promotional info that encourages direct contact and direct booking. This includes photos about rates, discounts, services, or property contact info such as email addresses, phone numbers, websites, and QR codes.

  1. Always be appropriate for a global audience:

Help your future guests get the most out of your property photos by featuring quality content that’s appropriate for our global audience. We’ll remove photos that depict unlawful content, illicit materials, or graphic violence.

We’ll also remove photos depicting or indicating discrimination (on any grounds), profanity, indecent nudity of subjects regardless of their age, and sexually implicit or explicit content depicting subjects in the frame.

Last, we’ll remove any photos depicting misleading info that could to harm guests’ health and safety, or breach our animal welfare standards.

  1. Be yourself – original and genuine:

Only upload photos you have the right to use, either because you took them yourself, received official permission from the photographer, or purchased a license to use the photo on our platform.

Refrain from using images that your property doesn’t own the copyright for. This is illegal, and any photos uploaded without proper permission, licensing, or copyright will be removed either automatically by our moderation staff or at the request of the owner(s) of the uploaded photos.

  1.  Be respectful of people’s privacy:

Photos of your property are more helpful to potential guests than photos of a person’s private info, so always refrain from using photos that include any personal data.

In this context, personal data can mean photos taken with surveillance devices depicting guests in areas of your property where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g. bathrooms, bedrooms, changing rooms, saunas).

Note: Any photos taken under such circumstances that are uploaded without the explicit permission of the people they’re depicting will be removed at their request.

Based on our Property Photo Moderation Guidelines, the below table provides an accurate understanding of what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to photography.

  1. Keep photos travel-related and useful to guests:

Do

Do not

  • Include awards from professional associations or government agencies
  • Include Booking.com awards you've received (ideally recent ones to reassure guests)
  • Include any up-to-date visual info on your facilities and services
  • Include photos of your property, decor, location, and security features
  • Include photos of the demonstrable cleanliness measures in place at your property such as any global, regional, and local cleanliness or safety badges, logos, watermarks, certificates in any local language or English, whether issued by government agencies or by industry certification bodies (e.g. Estancia Sanitizada, Limpieza Certificada, Sanitized Stays, Scrubbed Clean, Clean Stay, Daily Disinfection, IHG Safe, SG Clean, All Safe)
  • Include photos of regional and local logos, badges, watermarks, vouchers, and certificates related to COVID-19 government recovery policies in any local language or English (e.g. bon turystyczyni or tourism vouchers)
  • Include text about prices, discounts rates, new packages, and free benefits that don’t imply direct contact or booking
 

Relevant examples that we’ve found include:

Image
cleaning badge
  • Don’t include any awards from other travel platforms in your Booking.com listing. Similarly, we encourage you to not use Booking.com awards on other platforms
  • Don’t include any logos, watermarks, or trademarks from any online travel platform apart from Booking.com in your listing
  • Don’t include any contact details such as links, URLs, addresses, phone numbers, emails, or QR codes
  • Don’t include promotional hashtags or personal social media accounts (either your own or your property’s) in your listing photos
 

Relevant examples that we’ve found:

Image
Photo guideline examples - Original
  1. Always be appropriate for a global audience:

Do

Do not

  • You can include photos depicting partial adult nudity when not the main focus of the photo (e.g. people in swimsuits, in towels at spas, etc.)
  • You can include artwork that shows partial adult nudity as long as the artwork (poster, photo, painting, sculpture, etc.) doesn’t indecently expose the subjects
  • You can include photos depicting weaponry and guns only when used for decoration or historical accuracy

Relevant examples that we’ve found:

Image
Photo guideline examples - Partial nudity
  • Don’t include photos of partial adult nudity when subjects are engaged in indecent activities or depict indecent behavior
  • Don’t include any photos of nude or partially nude children (e.g. at a swimming pool) when they’re in focus. This may lead to the endangerment of the children depicted
  • Never include misleading info that can cause guests harm (e.g. “NO COVID-19,” “bug-free beds,” etc.)
  • Never include any discriminatory language or imagery or photography that disparages Booking.com guests or the Booking.com brand
  • Never breach the Booking.com animal welfare standards or use photos that depict animals being mistreated

Relevant examples that we’ve found include:

Image
Photo guideline examples - misleading information
  1. Be yourself – original and genuine:

Do

Do not

  • Always use personal photos or ones for which you’ve either acquired either explicit approval from the photographer/owner or appropriate licensing.

Relevant examples that we’ve found:

Image
Photo guideline examples - Original
  • Never use photos that you don’t have the explicit right to use. If you’re in doubt whether a photo can be used or not, we recommend choosing another
  • Don’t use photos of your guests without receiving their approval beforehand

Relevant examples that we’ve found:

Image
Photo guideline examples - Not original
  1.  Be respectful of people’s privacy:

Do

Do not

  • Use photos that respect the intimacy and privacy expected of guests

Relevant examples that we’ve found:

Image
restaurant pic
 
  • Never include photos that show personal data or contain info that can be used to identify and/or manipulate, shame, or hurt people (e.g. personal documents, debit and credit cards, invoices, license plates, reservation numbers)
  • Never include photos of guests taken with surveillance devices in areas where they expect privacy

Relevant examples that we’ve found:

Image
Photo guideline examples - Licence plates

Ask for an opinion

Not sure what photo to choose? Ask other property owners for advice by starting a conversation in the Partner Community. Many of our most active partners in the Community have been running properties for years and have achieved some high scores for their properties. This is your chance to learn from the best.


Best practices

Using info from our ongoing research, we’ve created property or hotel photography guidelines to provide suggestions on taking the perfect photo – and the optimal number of hotel or rental property images that attract more guests and increase bookings.

What photos do I need for my hotel?

What photos do I need for my home, apartment, or vacation rental?

What photos do I need to attract more families to my property?

Managing your photos

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