5 Tips for Preparing Your Hotel for a Commercial Photoshoot
When deciding which hotel to stay in, tourists consider several factors, which include the price, amenities, services, and freebies.
However, there is one element that can drive them to click the “Book Now” button or leave the website: the photos in the gallery.
Photos are now considered deal-breakers when it comes to increasing hotel bookings. With clear, high-quality images of the rooms, pools, café, restaurant, and other facilities on your website, you can draw in more customers and entice them to stay and even return.
However, you can’t put just any photos on your website gallery, or social media channels, for that matter. To draw in customers, all online images need to look professional and put your hotel and all its facilities in the best light possible.
This is where professional commercial photography comes in. With the help of a trained and experienced photographer, you will have images that show people what your facilities can offer them. More importantly, they will know what they will experience and enjoy when they book a room at your hotel.
Planning for a Commercial Photoshoot
Although hiring a professional photographer will make a huge difference in the photos you can get and use for your website and other marketing materials, there are other things you can do to ensure you have the perfect images.
Here are some helpful tips for preparing your hotel for a commercial photoshoot:
1. Avoid sprucing up the rooms and other facilities too much
When investing in commercial hotel photography, a rule of thumb that you have to follow is to make sure the guests get and experience the exact things they see on the photos.
The rooms, suites, pool area, lobby, and other facilities should look exactly like your published photos. As such, avoid moving and changing furniture pieces before the shoot to make a room more appealing, especially if you won’t be keeping them that way.
Additionally, avoid over-styling and reworking the areas to be photographed too much as well. Moreover, do not add items that do not usually come with the room.
For instance, if a room only has two chairs, do not add one more to make it look appealing and hospitable in the photos. If you do, guests will expect the same thing, and if they don’t see it in their room, they will complain and say they were deceived.
2. Choose the best rooms and suites for the shoot
With sufficient prep work, all your hotel rooms, and suites can be suitable subjects for the photoshoot. However, the light at the scheduled time of the shoot and views outside can also make or break the photos.
Before the actual shoot, work with your photographer to select the best rooms and suites for the photos. Have him or her visit your hotel at the time of the photoshoot, if possible, and let him or her choose the spaces that will get the right amount of natural light.
If there is a view, allow the pro to decide the best time to capture the room and suite.
3. Prepare the rooms
Since professional photographers use the best equipment for the shoot, they will be able to capture even the smallest details on camera. Although these can be removed by using Photoshop, help them spend less time editing the photos by preparing the guest rooms properly.
Have the housekeeping staff clean the room, suites, and other areas to be photographed thoroughly. Ensure the floors are shiny and tidy and that all metal works are polished.
Additionally, make sure the lines are steamed and pressed, the pillows are propped up properly; the curtains are fluffy, and the mirrors and windows are spotless.
If you give guests a welcome fruit basket or drinks, consider placing them in the rooms since they add a nice touch to the photos.
Lastly, make sure to style the beds and sheets the same for each room. By doing so, the images will show the consistency in room quality and maintenance that guests want to see.
4. Spruce up the outdoors
Guests want the full experience when staying at a hotel. As such, tidy and spruce up the outdoors as well, which should include your pool and garden, if you have them.
Have the grass, bushes, and trees trimmed. Wooden furniture and fixtures have to be varnished and check for anything that needs to be repainted. Lastly, make sure the grounds are tidy and debris-free.
Additionally, make sure the water in the swimming pool is skimmed and clean. Have the deck scrubbed and swept to remove any leaves and debris.
Ensure the other features outside are clean and look in excellent condition during the photoshoot too. These include fountains, waterfalls, and hot tubs.
5. Prepare the other areas
Lastly, your hotel has other places that you have to show on your website and other online and offline promotional materials. Here are the main ones you have to prioritize and some tips for preparing them:
Front desk and lobby
Make sure these areas are sparklingly clean and clutter-free. Add fresh and beautiful flowers and plants, so they can make the lobby more attractive. If you want some photos to feature an employee or two, choose ones that have beautiful, genuine welcoming smiles.
Restaurant, café, and bar
Have the chefs, baristas, and bartenders prepare the most popular and appealing dishes and drinks to be featured in the photos. Ensure all tableware, cutlery, and glasses are clean, and the table to be shot is set with fresh linens and crisp table settings. Lastly, if the bar will be photographed, make sure it is sparkling and clutter-free.
Clean and polish all gym equipment. Ensure the floor is sparkling clean, the trash bins are empty, and the room is clutter-free.
To avoid hampering the operations and disturbing the guests, work with the photographer to find the best schedule for the photoshoot. He or she may come at night to take photos of the usually busy areas in the morning.
As a final tip, iron out all the details first with your photographer before the shoot. These include the rooms and areas he or she has to take photos of, the number of pictures, the images you want to put on your website, and your branding guidelines.
With enough preparation, you will have the best photos on your website and other marketing channels that will help you draw customers all year round.
Stefanie Descheemaecker is the Studio Manager at Stu Williamson Photography at The Palm Jumeirah – Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. She has been with the company for almost 3 years and is the driving force behind the success of the business. A keen amateur photographer, Stef combines her natural creative eye with a strong business acumen to help Stu Williamson Photography become the most trusted and successful photography business in the UAE.