Businesses have to be money-savvy, or they’ll fail. And after a year that has pushed many in the hospitality to the edge, this goes double. However, successful businesses have a stand-out quality from the rest: they know when to invest. They know to hire the manager that demands a higher salary but also has the experience they need to jump in and take the reins. They know when to push their marketing budgets and when to outsource. 

One area many businesses are tempted to cut corners is with their photography and videography. On one level, it makes sense: almost everyone nowadays has a smartphone in their pocket with better camera technology than many of us had twenty years ago. And how much can it really hurt for those small images, like the ones of afternoon tea or of a cocktail that’s unique to the hotel bar? 

While this seems harmless, this may actually cost you more money in the long run. Let’s take a look at 7 reasons why in more detail. 

You’re Paying for Experience and Equipment 

Yes, getting your advertising and marketing photography done by a good professional is going to cost you some money, but that money might be well spent and work out cheaper for you in the long run. A photographer’s day rate may make you wince when cash is tight, but you have to remember you’re not just paying for time and equipment, but experience too.

Many hotel managers are falling back on a staff member to fill the role of photographer. It’s all too easy to see. Poor lighting and viewpoint are the most common mistakes made by amateurs. They don’t have the necessary skill set to produce top quality images and usually lack the proper kit. It’s all too easy to end up with pictures that are just “okay” when okay is not good enough. You need images that wow and tease the viewer with what they could experience at your establishment. 

If You’re High-End, You Can’t Cheap-Out 

You want to use their snaps on your hotel’s social media feeds? Go ahead, social media is all about the quick hit – and to some extent, quantity is more important than quality. However, even on Instagram, the skills of a pro will win out. Making a picture stand out in a crowd is an art. 

You need to think carefully before trusting a colleague to produce top quality images to publicise your up-market afternoon teas, remodelled bar décor or new restaurant menu. Can you imagine Gucci, Chanel, or Ferrari using iPhone images taken by a personal assistant for their major advertisements? If you share the same customer base, remember what standard of marketing materials they are used to. 

Editing Software Makes a Good Image Better 

Just throwing an Instagram filter on it won’t quite cut it. Photoshop is a wonderful tool, but it should be used to perfect an already good picture, not to try and save a disaster. When you hire a professional photographer, they’re not going to use a free app on their phone to perfect the images. They’ll use their extensive knowledge of top image editing software to give your marketing materials that final polish. 

Pros Have “It” 

Professional photographers charge what they charge because they bring a lot to the table. Not the least of what they bring is their eye. Pros know instinctively what viewpoint will give an image the greatest impact and understand the difference between a picture meant for social media and one needed for print, for example. They will also help you deliver your hotel’s brand with a unifying style that helps support what your marketing and sales strategies are trying to achieve.

Photos Taken Inside Require Additional Expertise 

You should understand, too, that interiors, architecture, and food all require a high level of technique to be successful. A professional knows how to use and control light so that a picture tells a story, carries an emotion, informs, or entertains. Think about what your marketing is trying to achieve and how important it is to the hotel. Your images may be the difference between a fully booked restaurant and one with empty seats. 

Your marketing materials set expectations, and while we should all strive to overdeliver for our customers, that doesn’t mean you should set the bar low! Set the bar high with stunning professional images, and strive to exceed it. 

High-Quality Images Build Trust 

Marketing drives business, attracts customers and builds revenue. A successful campaign should cover the costs of a professional photographer with no effort at all. Using substandard images, however much the apparent savings makes no sense. People are extremely photograph-savvy these days. 

Twenty years ago, any old picture might have served but not in the 2020s. We are all bombarded with photographs and videos all day, every day. People know the difference between good and bad photography, no question. A bad photo creates mistrust, while a good one shows economic success. 

Customers May Assume You’re Struggling 

Not only will poor photographs doom your carefully crafted marketing move to failure, but they will also reflect badly on your brand. The hotel industry is going through tough times. COVID-19 has had a massive effect on the hospitality sector, and with schemes like “eat out to help out”, customers will want to support you when your doors are open. But also don’t forget that, as humans, we’re not attracted to failure. Imagine you are going to get a takeaway pizza, and there are two pizzerias next to each other: one has all new equipment, a new sign, bright lights, and bright pictures of the pizza options in the window. The other has peeling paint, dingy lighting, and a faded menu in the front window. We’re going to choose the first every time, because we judge quality based on what we see. So put your best foot forward with professional photography.