As we come out of the COVID-19 lockdown, the marketing of hotels has never been more important, especially with the widespread acceptance by the traveller of AirBnBs and how easy they make it to practice social distancing.
Hotel photography has a huge part to play in any marketing strategy, but is more important than ever now. Like scrolling through books on Amazon, the first image your potential customer or buyer sees will either intrigue them, repulse them, or perhaps worse, allow them to scroll past it altogether.
It’s not enough for images to simply be crisp, clear, and well lit. In 2020, your hotel photography needs to do a lot more than simply show someone what it looks like, they need to know how it will feel.
Here are 5 reasons why hotel photography will make or break your marketing.
1. It Shows Potential Guests How it Will Feel
Any good marketer knows that people don’t buy something because it’s the most practical, or solves their problems, they buy it because of the way it makes them feel. You can’t simply show them what the rooms look like, the image has to tell a story about how it will feel to walk into that room and put their bags down. The better you convey this, the more bookings you’re going to get.
2. It Builds a Brand
The story every image involved in your marketing should be building on your brand. Are you a hotel where people come to relax? Do you cater to business trips? Or are you a family resort? If it’s the latter, you don’t want dull images or those that emanate relaxation in every photo. Sure, parents want to kick back, but if they can’t imagine entertaining and corralling their kids at your hotel, they’re going to go elsewhere.
3. Differentiates the Hotel vs Airbnb Experience
If your customers are purely comparing price when it comes down to whether they stay at your hotel or an Airbnb down the road, you’ve got your marketing wrong. A study by Morgan Stanley revealed that 49% of the people staying at Airbnbs surveyed were using them to replace hotels, and this figure is likely to grow, so you need to take yourself out of the race to the price at the bottom.
Prices for premium AirBnBs are often comparable to those for three and four star hotels, but many choose the home-sharing service because of the individuality of the accommodation and the flexibility inherent in the process. Many hotels are taking this into account with individually designed bedrooms, more relaxed check-in times, and so on.
But what is undoubtedly true is the sheer quality of the photographs used in the marketing of AirBnBs, often much higher than many upmarket hotels. You need to capture interest immediately or the potential customer will have clicked away and will choose somewhere else. Don’t try to outcompete Airbnb, offer a premium experience guests can’t get at Airbnbs, and convey this in your marketing through incredible photography.
4. Undervaluing the Power of Photography Can Be Your Downfall
Good photography will repay the time and money spent on it by attracting more guests. More guests equals more revenue and happy hotel managers and investors. Photographic excellence, i.e. choosing a photographer who has the technique, vision, and skills to create perfect pictures, can add strength to your brand and build a rapport with corporate clients. Remember that your photos are your first contact with a potential guest, so don’t squander that opportunity with bad or lacklustre photography.
5. This Goes For Investors, Too
But what about investors? Investors need to see as much of the property or business as possible if they are going to think about taking the next step. They will all have their own key indicators of what makes a good potential investment, and by failing to deliver with your photos, you may fail to show them that indicator.
It’s also important to remember that investors are human, too, and so while many know how to look past things like shoddy photos to the reality of the opportunity beneath, you don’t want to make it difficult for investors, especially if you’re looking to generate plenty of interest. You also want to show investors you’re serious, and if you’ve simply gone around on a dark day with your phone camera, you’re going to look rushed and, potentially, desperate. That’s not a good position to be in. Good photography is at everyone’s fingertips, but “good enough” should never be a term you use when you’re thinking about your marketing. If you’re going to attract the right guests and/or investors, you need the eye of a professional photographer who can help you tell the story of what being a part of your world (whether as a guest or investor) is like.