The following post is from McLean Robbins, Copywriting Manager.
I love hotels. I love the feeling of freshly-laundered Frette linens stretched so tightly over a springy mattress that I could bounce a quarter off the top. I love the mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner (but not the two-in-one kind – gross) from boutique purveyors like Red Flower and Bulgari that I don’t allow myself the luxury of buying in full size. I love bedside tables with built-in plugs and mini bars with their $47 splits of Moet champagne. I love room key cards (ones with maps on the back are my favorite). Hotel lobbies of all shapes and sizes call my name.
Before I wax poetic any longer – do you care why I love hotels? You should – because these things I love about your hotel showcase the beauty in the details, and it’s those very details that make an image stand out.
According to the industry’s preeminent study on hotels and digital effectiveness, the L2 Digital IQ Index, photos generate the best engagement rate on Facebook, and those posts referencing hotel features – the lobby, spa and pool, for example, generate the most interest.
Why should you care? The two hottest new social channels, Pinterest and Instagram, are 100% image-driven.
Today, I’ll offer ideas of photos worth sharing via social channels that take your standard hotel photography to the next level, plus some general tips on improving the overall quality of your photos. By focusing on things that standard hotel images won’t share, you’ll engage readers by offering them something they can’t get anywhere else. Plus, if you utilize creative filters, camera angles, and properly-written captions, you’ll realize that it doesn’t take a pro to proactively improve your photography.
Six Photos Your Property Can Use to Spice up Their Image
- What makes you unique? What makes you stand out from your competition? Do you have great bathrooms? Beautiful local art on your walls? A stellar herb garden? The tiny details of a hotel’s service can make or break a stay for a guest – so highlight some of your best unique selling points in images. Photograph everything from pristine white bedspreads and stunning views from your penthouse suite to great artwork in the hotel lobby to a freshly-shaken martini in the bar. Make viewers feel as if they are at the property and getting something unique and exclusive they wouldn’t be able to find on the website.
- Remember the sunrise – and the sunset. Mother Nature does the work for us twice a day – capture a rainbow, the dew on the grass after a storm, the sun peeking out over the horizon or dipping low over the building When the sky lights up in pinks, purples, blues and oranges, you’ll note that even the most basic of buildings takes on an ethereal, magical glow. Filters on apps like Instagram can add extra “oomph” to these images as well.
- Capture the people. Your staff helps ensure that guests come back time and again, so bring them to life in your social media photos. Have your bartender photographed holding a drink or your spa therapist snapped mid-manicure. Opt for photos that look authentic, so that guests can see the faces and names that bring the hotel to life.
- Love the food. There’s no wonder that Pinterest does so well with recipe postings – great food makes us hungry! You can photograph everything from haute cuisine to hamburgers – just make sure you play with angles and filters to get a shot that looks appealing. If you have a signature dish, you can even share the recipe to further boost engagement.
- Play up the pretty. Even the most basic of meeting rooms has a visual element – a great light fixture, an interesting display of pencils and notepads, or technological element that makes your property stand out.
- Details, Details, Details. Focus in on individual details as well as broad, all-encompassing photos. Remember that these pictures are supplemental to your hotel’s “official photography” and are supposed to make guests feel as if they are really there at the property with you.
Photography 101: Four Great Tips for Taking Photos
Sure, everyone would love a DSLR camera, and, if you have the resources to pick one up, a Nikon or Cannon of professional quality will set you back about $700 to $1,200. But whether you’re using your iPhone camera, a basic point-and-shoot or a specialized lens and tripod setup, these basic tips apply.
- Have an eye for pattern and perspective. Creating contrast adds depth to photos, and images with repeated shapes, patterns, and leading lines are often more visually interesting than static or flat images of a single subject.
- Anticipate the moment – and wait patiently for it. The best shots come to those who wait, those who know when to snap the shot, and those who manipulate their surroundings to suit the photo. Don’t be afraid to kneel down, get on a ladder, or snap 20 shots of a moving object to get the one you like. With a digital camera, it’s easy to take many shots of the same image from different angles and lighting methods to get the shot you prefer.
- Light makes the photo. Great lighting can make or break a photo. Remember that the same shot at sunrise, noon, and sunset will look totally different! If possible, try to shoot during what photographers call the “golden hour” – the first full hour of sunlight during the day or the last hour before sunset. These times lend the best shadows and softest light. Remember to work with the light, not against it, using shadows to create depth and perspective, and avoiding backlighting.
- Remember the rule of thirds. Close-cropped, front-and-center images do not always a great photo make. Visually divide your frame into horizontal and vertical thirds. You should remember to balance out the dominant elements of your photo within these sections.
Want to learn more? MICROS eCommerce mixes social media strategy with targeted data analysis to help you understand what types of content work best for your property. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your business.
Interested in ramping up your online strategy? Check out the full suite of MICROS eCommerce interactive marketing tools, send us an email, or give us a call +1 301.841.4700(US) | +44 (0)20 3004 9468(UK).