An interview with Leonardo’s Chief Revenue Officer, Mark Charlinski.
Our marketing team sat down with Mark Charlinski to discuss the image distribution challenges that hotel chains face and the risks to their brand integrity and presence on OTAs.
First and foremost, what is image distribution?
Mark: In simple terms, it’s about a hotel getting their images out to all the different places on the Internet where their hotel might be listed. But it’s really about ensuring that the hotel is viewed in the best possible light across the Internet, which is a more complex problem to solve.
What makes it so complex?
Mark: As a chain you have to first get images from your hotels, making sure you get content in line with your brand image, which is received on a regular basis, and is stored somewhere everyone can access it.
On the other side of things, the channels and OTAs receiving that content are essentially databases that also store images, often times from multiple sources. They typically don’t manage (especially deletions), de-duplicate, or organize images in a meaningful way. They’re just a big bucket of content. And so that makes it difficult to ensure that the channel is delivering the story you want about your hotels, which is the right content, in the right format, in the right size.
Without proper organization and technology, there’s no single voice of truth, either for the hotel or for the channels displaying the hotel’s information.
Without automated image distribution, what happens on the channel side of things?
Mark: It all starts with the hotel or chain. A process that requires people going to multiple extranets and repositories to manually add or manage images is bound to end up with errors, extra work and misrepresented hotels.
Moving on to the channels, each channel is different and will consume and display the images whichever way they want. When chains send images directly to a channel or if they use a vendor whose primary focus is on rates and availability, the channel selects which images to use and they may crop or process images to fit their image display specifications, resulting in poor quality images being displayed. They may choose to consume images for some hotels, and not for others. They may choose to get images from some other source than the chain because they have more images. The chain risks losing control of the brand image.
What should a chain look for in a software solution to solve these challenges?
Mark: A robust content management system is the solution. You need a proper way to source the images from the hotels, decide which ones are “on brand” and a central repository to manage all of your hotel visual content. Storing hotel images on a hard drive on someone’s laptop is no longer an option.
With VScape, chains have a process to source and approve content, multiple departments have global access to hotel images with proper user permissions defined by the chain while the technology and contractual obligations ensures that channels are presenting the content in a way that represents the hotels the best. Chains can ensure that they have the right quantity and quality of images available for all of their properties. Having good image presentation is not just about looking good, it is the cornerstone to getting more bookings.
When the images are sent out to OTAs and other travel booking channels, chains need software that will make sure that their image is protected. That means sending images out in multiple sizes—so channels won’t crop, compress, or change the story your images are telling. It means ensuring they take all the images, for all your hotels. It also means protecting your brand by ensuring old images are removed, copyright information is maintained, and the proper process is established to limit the risk of copyright infringement. Our solution is more than a big bucket of content. Our technology normalizes how the channels use your images, and nothing is left to chance.
Learn more about how the VScape digital asset management platform lets you take control of your asset library at scale, from each property to hundreds of travel websites across the web. Visit vscape.io today!