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Victoria Gibbs Photography: Why is high quality imagery so important to hospitality marketing?

This article was written for Arise by Victoria Gibbs Photography. Victoria is a renowned architecture and interior photographer with a vast portfolio in the hospitality sector. 

With the ever-increasing noise online, it’s a challenge to stand out as the best, from the rest.

There are many things which can be done to market your hotel and put the property in front of guests. The difference in the prospective guest seeing the property and booking a stay is, largely, down to the images being used.

Digital Tools & Their Photography Needs

Did you know, it takes one tenth of a second for your brain to judge whether an image is good or not? I still find that surprising and it only serves to remind me just how important quality imagery is to marketing. With that in mind, I have summarized the significance of good photography across the channels key to hospitality marketing

Social Media

(Just keeping in touch)

With so much noise on social media, it is ever more important to showcase your most inspiring images so you stand out from the competition. It’s vital that your feed is kept up to date otherwise it could look like you don’t care. Using images on social media is a useful way to let past and future guests know of upcoming events happening at or nearby the hotel, motivating them to come and visit you again and again. 


(You are more than just a logo)

Branding is not just logos, design and what colors are used throughout your website and stationery. It’s about what sets you apart from similar businesses, what makes you and your hotel different. Coherent branding is important, so the viewer knows you understand and have similar standards to them. These things are not always tangible but with the use of excellent images you can capture that feeling and the distinct difference across immediately.

Food Offerings 

(My eyes were bigger than my stomach)

Showcasing delicious-looking food and inviting drinks will always inspire dinners to want to eat with you, so much more than if they just read the menu.  I have worked in hotels that displayed the menu, with photographs, in the lifts. After a busy day, spent shooting the hotel and using the lifts a few times, I’m usually pretty keen to try out the food!


(But I saw it online)

The most obvious use of photography is via your websites. Most people don’t read the copy, so having quality and informative imagery on the website becomes a must. That way, potential guests can look at a website, whether it’s your own or a competitor's, see the different room types and what each hotel has to offer. 

The biggest complaint I hear is that the room they stayed in was nothing like the one they saw on the website. And this is always to the hotel’s detriment! It’s a good idea to show all the room types from single standards to deluxe suites. 

Promote the Area

(What else can we do near here?)

Photographs are a perfect way of showing off the property’s location and surrounding. It is not sufficient to tell guests you are in acres of stunning countryside or conveniently located in the city centre. Show and inspire them with gorgeous atmospheric pictures! You can then use social media channels to show upcoming local seasonal events so that guests will want to attend these and stay at the hotel.

Email Marketing

(Popping into an inbox)

Emails with images are far more likely to get read than those with copy alone. This is also an opportunity to show off amenities in the hotel, like the spa, restaurant, food, as well as events and seasonal offerings. 

High quality image of afternoon tea7

      Victoria Gibbs Photography

Advice for In-House Photography

As much as I believe professional photographs should always be used there are times when shots can be done in-house. Here are my suggestions and tips for shooting great images for social media use and to capture your guests’ imagination.

Keep it bright

The word photography is derived from the Greek words phos meaning “light”, and graphe meaning “drawing or writing” - drawing with light. With this in mind, ensure you have a good light source and, wherever possible, place the subject near the window to use natural daylight. It’s best to avoid flash, it can be rather harsh (unless you can bounce it off the ceiling).

On food shots, try putting the plates on a table in front of a window, then use white card to reflect the light back to give a nice natural look.

Keep in simple

All pictures should have a “hero” in the image: the item the picture is about, be it the bed in a bedroom or big plate of food, surrounded by smaller ones. Busy shots with too much going on and no clear subject matter can become messy. 

Keep it clean

It’s a good idea to review the image for obvious mistakes. That thing in the background you didn’t notice while taking the picture but your eye cannot stop seeing it now. In my experience, this includes crumpled linens, wonky curtains, a mark on a coffee table, a fire extinguisher, unsightly reflections and even trees growing out of peoples’ heads. Attention to detail really is the key delivering a perfect result.

Keep it straight

This might sound obvious but it’s surprising how often it occurs – keep the horizon straight. Most cameras and smartphones have a setting, the grid, placing two horizontal and two vertical lines over the camera view, this is useful for ensuring the camera remains level.

Similarly, having converging verticals in the image, when the lines of the building appear to incline towards each other, make it look like the building is falling down. One way to avoid this is to keep the camera low and straight so all the walls are upright and then crop out the foreground. Alternatively, there are some apps which can straighten the image.

Keep to the thirds

The grid is also useful for composition. The rule of thirds is a guideline, whereby if the hero of the shot sits in one of the four intersection points of the grid it will create a more natural and aesthetic image.

Keep it odd

Florists have a rule to use an odd number of blooms in a bouquet as odd numbers always work better when grouped together. Unless we are talking about a dozen roses, but I guess all rules are there to be broken

Keep on trying

Experiment and try different things to see what works. There are some great apps which can enhance images; I would avoid using filters and overlays, as some can look a little tacky. Its best to keep things as natural as possible 

Keep it professional

The tips I have shared with you just scratch the surface of what a professional hotel photographer can bring you. This is someone who has experience shooting hotels, bringing technical skills, attention to detail along with an understanding of the hospitality industry. They can bring out the best in the property, making it attractive online and in brochures to guests and ultimately, increasing revenue. 

It is known that viewers look at the images before reading the text and OTA’s have a ton of statistics and advice around how quality images make a significant difference to prospective guests considering booking a hotel. My biggest soapbox is that the photography on your website should be of the highest quality: it’s your shop window and there to inspire guests to make that booking, as well as share with their family, friends and colleagues afterwards. 

Learn more about Victoria's work and explore her wonderful portfolio on her official website, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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