Hotel Photography: The Asset You Aren’t Assessing

Hotel assets all have a lifespan, be it the alarm clock in room 348, dining table in the restaurant, or computer at the front desk.  Like most hotels, you are likely using something like IQware’s TracNcare or other asset management system to track what you have and when it needs to be replaced.  Just like your other physical assets, your property photos become outdated and need to be replaced. And, unlike that alarm clock, great photography can lead directly to a great RevPAR.

So, why should you depreciate your photos and have a plan to replace them?  The simple fact is customers aren’t going to book a room they’ve never seen and they are surely not going to book a room that sports mid-1990’s bedding, tube TV and dated furniture. Just like that 1990’s room, your photography gets old and by budgeting accordingly, you can plan your photo shoots much better.

If you’re already behind the curve on your hotel photography, these tips will give you the tools you need to get great shots for the summer season.

#1: Choose The Right Photographer

Yes, I have a digital camera too. Yes, your iPhone CAN take great photos. Just like having a kitchen doesn’t make you a chef, owning a camera doesn’t make you a photographer.  We suggest you talk to your industry partners, find hotel shots you like and track down a photographer that specializes in what you need. This means the photographer who is right for your room shots may not be the one for your lifestyle and amenities.

#2: It’s All About The Rooms

TheBridge-Bedroom-Silk-SmallThe good news is you’ve likely updated your hotel’s rooms and amenities; however, if no one knows… did you really do anything?

When shooting a new room, work with your photographer and make sure that you are set for success.  This includes:

  • The best bedding in the house
  • Plenty of lighting to create a bright, cheery, room
  • Room staging
  • A member of your housekeeping staff to ensure a clean room with a freshly vacuumed floor

Room photography most often requires post production and combining multiple exposures to create a stunning image.  The room shown here was shot by Matt Silk at North Beach Plantation.

Once you have your great shots, don’t forget to post them to your site, booking engine, search profile pages and OTAs.

#3: Amenities Make The Vacation

CompassCoveHotTub-Silk-SmallYour next shoot after your rooms should be your amenities. These are the things that make your hotel unique and keep people coming back for more and is where many hotels miss the mark.  How, you ask?  They forget to put people in the shot.  A vacant hot tub is flat and boring, but a shot of a couple enjoying a relaxing soak can put your prospective guest in the moment.

When planning a hotel amenities photo shoot:

  • Line up your talent in advance & do not rely on staff to be your talent
  • Have a maintenance staff member standing by to help
  • Plan your shots based on time of day and sun
  • Expect that your photographer will have to do significant retouching on any photos before they are complete. This is especially true for outside shots and shots with people.

After the shoot, don’t forget to update your site, photo galleries and print materials with your new hotel photos.

#4: Your Lobby Makes The First Impression

TheStrandLobby-Silk-SmallWhen planning your shot list you should also focus on areas of the resort that are not typically considered an amenity such as your lobby, covered parking, valet service, and so on.

These areas are where staging and talent can turn a good shot into a great, engaging, photo.

Though these areas might not be as important as rooms or amenities, which tend to really sell a property, they are still an important part of the overall story of your hotel. Besides, how would you feel if a hotel conveniently left out every other aspect of their hotel? You’d notice the holes and your potential guests will too.

#5: Put Your Photo Assets to Work

Now that you have a bank of great photography it’s time to put it to work driving new guests in to your hotel.  This means updating all your social profiles, search listings, OTAs such as Expedia, Trip Advisor, and your own hotel website, of course.

Speaking of your website, the trend toward massive images on sites makes having great photography even that much more important.  If you are planning a new website design and like the large-image style of sites like North Beach Plantation, first start with the photography because your 1990’s era room shots aren’t going to cut it and stock images only take you so far.

Lastly, update your asset management system and begin planning your next photo shoot.


A special thank you to Brittain Resort Management and photographer Matt Silk for the photos used in this post.

Be sure to check out our Hotel Web Design page for more information on how Fuel can help refresh your outdated hotel website.

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Pete DiMaioHotel Photography: The Asset You Aren’t Assessing
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