This post is the second of a two-part series.
In the last post, I asked you to use your imagination and book a hotel room.
You visit an online booking site and compare the pictures from two different hotels. Your first choice looks nice but is not available. Your second choice looks dark and dingy but the location is perfect so you book.
You arrive to find an amazing property and that your presumption was totally inaccurate.
You realize the hospitality property owners do not know how much money they were losing by not showing their property in the best light possible.
I looked at how many hospitality property owners end up in this situation.
What questions you should consider when deciding how your property should be reflected.
I then looked at why good quality photography and video are essential to your bottom line.
In this post, I will continue with what you should consider when planning a photo/video shoot.
You need to decide what images you need.
Your Photo/Video Shoot Budget
You should update your images every four to five years so choose photos that will represent your property effectively for that time. When deciding on your photo and /or video shot budget think of it as a long-term investment. Take your photo and video budget and divide it into the next the four or five years of your marketing budget.
Let me give you an example of what I mean:
The average hotel room mattress lasts between 5 and 10 years so for this example let’s use 8 years.
If the average queen size mattress cost $1600
$1600 ÷ 8 years =$200
The annual budget for that mattress would be $200.
When you look at the annually cost of the mattress that way, it is not that expensive. You have to look at the photo/video shoot the same. It is easier to justify paying for quality and cultivating an asset.
Choosing Your Shoots
You have to create a shot-list
What is a shot-list?
As shot-list is a list of the different shots you want as part of your properties portfolio.
The shot-list can be divided into 4 categories
These images are the bare minimum shots you need. Whether it’s for your website, social media platforms, Global Distribution System, whatever.
- a really good exterior shot of your property.
- shot of each type of rooms you sell online ( i.e., a room with two queen beds and a room with two double bed should be shot separately)
In addition to Basic Shots, Enhanced Shots will enrich the feel of your property by leveraging the amenities show off you place.
- Your lobby
- Banquet and/or meeting space
- Pool / Gym
- Any other amenities you have to offer
This is where you truly begin to showcase your property and give the guests a real feel for your place.
Think of your potential guests when choosing these shots. Will the person be more or less likely to book after seeing these images?
Don’t do photograph anything that will affect you negatively.
Showcase your strengths, not your weaknesses.
These are valuable if you want to be aggressive with your marketing.
- Comprehensive restaurant shots including some excellent food photography.
- Pictures of your banquet are meeting space in different seating arrangements
- Shots of key points and attractions in a neighborhood such as landmarks, sighting areas, business areas.
Whatever has been important to you guests in the past?
These shots are for hospitality property owners who are thinking long term about the marketing material they want to share.
Your infomercial, this is a combination of all the above shots with an interview with the owner or general manager about the property.
Now know the shots you need, how to find the right photographer?
Here are a few guidelines for getting the photographer who’s right for you.
- Make sure to establish your budget ahead of time. What’s the minimum and maximum range you’re willing to spend?
- Ask others in your industry who have had success.
- Search Google for interiors photographers in (your location)
- If you have a smaller budget you could even go to Craigslist. Contact a few and clearly, explain your shot list. They should provide you with links to their previous work. This is essential if they don’t have a portfolio, you have no idea what you’re getting into.
- They must be able to provide you with both high and low-resolution shots. The high-resolution shots are the ones that you’ll be using for print jobs like brochures etc. The low resolution are the ones that you’ll be using for a website the G.D.S. and all online channels.
- Tell them that you want to quote to include all post processing. That means all the retouching work.
- Take a close look at their style. Does it match your style or the style you wish to show?
The Day of the Shoot
Now, I know you don’t have control of the weather but a cloudy day would be good. Sunny days might cause a problem with shadows. A good interior shot will have an even light with no shadows.
Try to have all the rooms you are going to shoot on the same side of the building.
If the light coming from outside will be consistent on one side of the building that you don’t end up with one room looking kind of dark and the other one looking really sunny.
Also, instruct the housekeeping staff in advance to carefully clean these rooms, including ironing the bedspread and pillow cases.
On the day of the shoot, take a walk with the photographer and show them what is important to you. Make sure they understand your perspective.
And lastly, give the photographer your direct number or your cell phone number in case they need anything. This will be well appreciated.
The day of the shot if finished and you have the images. What do you do next?
- Get the on your website
- Social media platforms
- Expedia, Travelocity and all the other channels
- Wherever your property is being featured
I’ll give you a small tip here.
Give your designer a list of the photo size or the dimensions for everywhere your images will be featured. Your designer can do this in no time and it will preserve their clarity.
Please keep multiple copies of the master flash drive, CD or DVD your images are stored.
People come and go in every organization and it is very easy for this type of project to unwillingly disappear along with them.
I am speaking here from experience.
I hope after checking out these you understand the importance of great images for your property and how they can be achieved.
If you have any photography or video strategies and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section or visit our website.
Let’s work together to put heads in your beds.
Until next time, have a fun day.
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