Skift Take

Between its traveler, expert and management photos, TripAdvisor now has a depth of photo content that is unparalleled for guests checking to see what the property looks like. That's why TripAdvisor acquired Oyster, for the professional hotel photography, warts and all.

In addition to TripAdvisor’s hotel photos taken by guests or submitted by hotel management, TripAdvisor now features expert photos covering more than 6,000 properties, a benefit of its 2013 acquisition of

Oyster was known for its Photo Fakeouts, which contrasted the pristine, marketing-oriented images from hotel management with realistic shots taken by Oyster’s professional photographers.

TripAdvisor has now integrated this professional photography on its hotel pages, and has labeled the feature, “Expert Photos: Taken by TripAdvisor.”

These expert photos, which now cover more than 6,000 properties, aren’t just the ones that TripAdvisor picked up through the Oyster acquisition. TripAdvisor spokesperson Kevin Carter says the more than 6,000 hotels photographed by TripAdvisor experts are “more than double the number at the time of the acquisition.”

So TripAdvisor is apparently going out to more hotels with professional photographers so it can expand the breadth of its expert-photo coverage.

“Our efforts to generate more Oyster photo content are ongoing,” Carter says, although TripAdvisor doesn’t brand them as being delivered by Oyster. “We have added photos of thousands of hotels since the acquisition.”

Between its traveler photos, expert photos and management images, TripAdvisor has a depth of photo content that is unparalleled for would-be guests checking what the property really looks like in anticipation of making a reservation.

Consider, for example, the TripAdvisor page for the Delano South Beach Hotel, which features 1,307 user reviews and 703 images, including 437 traveler photos, 234 expert photos and 32 management photos. (Eleven photos have been added since I checked yesterday.)

The first two photos, including the one showing holes in the bedsheets, are TripAdvisor expert photos of rooms at the Delano South Beach hotel.

expert pic ripped sheets

Notice that to the right of the photo is a widget to enter dates and see the prices of a stay at the property. A gallery of additional expert photos is at the bottom.

expert photo room

The photo below, taken by Nevena D in October 2013, shows a realistic shot of Room 715 at the Delano South Beach hotel. This is obviously a traveler photo.
traveler photo room 715

The next photo of a room at the Delano South Beach hotel is a management photo taken in September 2013. The photo credit is TripAdvisor by VFM PhotoImport.
management room

In its photography line-up on the hotel pages, TripAdvisor displays the traveler photos first, a bow to user-generated content including photos and reviews, which is the heart and soul of

While Oyster doesn’t get any branding in the expert photos on, still exists as a standalone site. Its monthly visitor traffic was just 830,000 visits in September, according to Similarweb.

TripAdvisor didn’t respond to a question about the future of the Oyster brand.

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Tags: oyster, photos, tripadvisor, ugc

Photo credit: A TripAdvisor-taken expert photo of an outdoor bar at the Delano South Beach Hotel. TripAdvisor

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