Life after the outbreak of Coronavirus has left us with a new definition of what it means to socialise and occupy public space. We all have a new and increased awareness of hygiene, cleanliness, physical distance, and personal safety. As the public returns to travelling, many with some apprehension, you need to do what you can to show them they can put their trust in you.
Let your guests know that they’re in a clean, safe environment
It has been about five months since most people have been afforded the luxury of spending the night at a hotel. Not only do hotel guests want to feel that they are spending their money wisely, but they also need to feel safe and secure.
Hotel cleanliness has always been important, of course, but now it’s about safety and having the freedom to relax. In a world where we’re having to wear masks and use sanitation products every time we walk into a shop or even go to work, that’s a big ask.
The best way to show guests you’re taking the threat seriously without compromising on the quality of their getaway, is with your images. Before you grab your camera and start shooting, let’s go over the images you should be taking and what they should show.
Capture Your Staff in Action
1. Cleaning and housekeeping staff
Taking photos of housekeeping team members cleaning public spaces or deep cleaning bedrooms demonstrates the effort you are making to ensure they are comfortable and safe. Ensure you capture images of your staff cleaning high-traffic areas such as door knobs and handles, staircases, light switches, and bar and restaurant furniture.
2. Show waiting staff in PPE
Take that point one step further by proving that it’s not just your cleaners who help to keep guests safe. Capture your waiters, bar staff, concierges and receptionists wearing masks to remind guests that they are in safe hands.
3. Show them what it looks like to check-in
It’s also a good idea to show future guests what it will look like for them to interact with your staff. If you show what it will be like to check-in, for example, they will know what it will look and feel like to arrive and be greeted by your staff. For nervous travellers, this is a huge plus, especially if you also tell them exactly what they need to do when they arrive at their hotel.
In these photos, be sure to photograph staff and guests at eye level. Shooting one person’s face upwards can give a dominating effect, and you want to give the idea that everyone in your hotel is respected equally. Make sure that your staff members pose or stand with open and friendly body language, just as they would when greeting a guest. Ask them to smile beneath their masks – it will show in their eyes!
Even though your staff may not be able to stand close to guests and offer them a friendly handshake, the sentiment is still there, and this can be conveyed through the right type of photography.
Show Guests Enjoying Themselves
1. Feel free to fake it
Photographing people checking in doesn’t necessarily mean waiting around for that perfect, candid shot of an actual guest. You can photograph team members acting as guests; use this opportunity to highlight the check-in experience, bar and dining experience and any socially-distant health facilities you have available.
2. Highlight new services
You can also highlight your room service options, displaying that guests can order food and beverages with socially distanced guest interaction. Show any express check-in and check-out options you have, as this may be a selling point if they’re comparing hotels.
3. Show how it looks to use your facilities
Show guests what it will look like to use any facilities you have with social distancing guidelines, where possible, such as a sauna, spa, gym, pool, and the like. In any photos you’re taking with guests (real or otherwise), aim to capture eye contact between your staff and the guests. This is more important now than ever because many of your staff members may be wearing masks and won’t be able to show off that beautiful hospitality smile!
Show Your Venue
1. Show the changes you’ve made
If your hotel regularly hosts business meetings, photograph the setup of your meeting rooms that adhere to social distancing. Whether this means a new coffee break area in a bigger room or a new lunch set up to offer more space, it’s a great way to inform guests that they will be safe and comfortable.
Aim to capture the whole room so that potential meeting bookers see the physical distance between the seats or any visible measures you have in place. If you’re taking these photos, keep your camera at about chest level and don’t tilt it downwards or upwards.
The same goes here for restaurants and bars – show the distances between tables inside and out.
2. Show how you’re catering to families
Taking kids on holiday isn’t easy at the best of the times, and now parents have added stresses and concerns that may prevent them from booking. If you can show how you are family friendly and doing your best to help parents, you’ll be at the top of their list.
While a professional photographer will be able to capture all the images you need quickly, you can simply do it with your smartphone if you’re on a tight budget or just need to get something up ASAP. Feel free to take videos, too – it all helps!
Once you are happy with your photos, there is a very useful, free app called Snapseed. You can use this app to adjust colours, crop, straighten or apply effects to these photos.
Any successful business owner in the hospitality industry knows that the comfort and safety of guests are paramount. Looks aren’t everything, but in the hotel industry, they certainly are important. Thankfully, we live in an era where prospective guests can get an accurate idea of a hotel’s aesthetics, services, and overall quality. These days, people can determine whether they like the look of a hotel with the click of a button, which you can use to your advantage.