Why You Need Seasonal Hotel Photography (and how far ahead to plan)

hospitality and hotel photography

Festive Banquet Photography by Gerry O’Leary

Marketing for hotels and resorts is highly competitive and always evolving. Having access to new content, in particular professional photographs, is crucial. With several decades of experience as an international hospitality photographer, Gerry O’Leary understands the need for festive imagery. Here he discusses why you need to plan your festive photography in advance.

At this time of year, people scroll through images of roast turkey with all the trimmings and grand trees festooned with decorative ornaments in exotic locations. Have you ensured that you have a bank of high quality images for all seasons? If you don’t have a generous amount of these images, you’re missing out on a vital chance to market your hotel before and during the most wonderful time of the year! The good news is that it isn’t too late to plan for 2024.

Why professional seasonal photography is necessary

The benefit of taking photos of your hotel during different seasons is that it captures the ambiance of the hotel in various moods. It shows off more than just your stunning space – it evokes emotion in guests. Sometimes it’s just the meticulous set-up that can spark excitement – consider a 90-metre outdoor terrace with tables set for New Year’s Eve –  the right image is sure to captivate people and make them book with you.

Seasonal photos work very well with people in them, as you can showcase the vibrant atmosphere of a Christmas party or the warm iftar gatherings at Ramadan. When you craft an image with care, it oozes the energy you wish to create in your clientele. However, photographing people requires time, production and good shoot management, hence extra planning is required.

Create a seasonal photography strategy

It may be too late to book a top photographer to capture your giant gingerbread house in the lobby or children crafting snowmen from cotton wool, but as your guests tuck into their festive feasts, it is time to think about next year.

Think rose petal creations for Valentine’s or romantic dining under a heart-shaped lantern. A giant bunny leading an egg-hunt through your resort garden to invite guests for their Easter getaway. Seasonal photography isn’t just for Christmas, it should be a part of your marketing strategy to attract guests in different months.

Consider every season and holiday at least three months in advance. For instance, you should be planning your Ramadan and Easter photography just after New Year.

Every hotel and resort shines at Christmas. The extra lighting, the towering tree and themed décor create an emotional connection for those viewers dreaming of getting away for the festive season. However, there may be a better time to photograph your property, depending on your destination.

Staging photography vs real-time photography

If you have a full hotel photography shoot planned for March, it’s obvious that the hotel will not be decked out in yuletide finery. However, if you plan well, you can take advantage of the opportunity. Why not compose a festive set-up in one of your banquet rooms? Or select an area that is used less frequently to hang some lights and add some presents? It’s likely that you have the festive decorations in storage so you can put them to good use.

When you have a hospitality photographer booked, you should plan the shoot carefully. Think of this as a time to get the best seasonal images for use in your festive brochures, extra landing pages and special event flyers that you send out at different times of year.

If you’d like to capture the magic of the festive season at your hotel in real time, it’s worth discussing the photograph selection with your commercial hotel photographer ahead of the shoot. Consider your occupancy and events during the time of the shoot. You may need to photograph bars or restaurants in the morning or the middle of the night in order to cause the least disruption to your guests.

If your decorations are up in early November, this is the best time to plan your festive photography shoot, especially if your property is not fully occupied. It allows time to plan and execute the schedule of images, with less chance of interruptions from seasonal parties and last-minute bookings.

Where to use your seasonal hotel photography

Firstly, the obvious – your social media following will be eager to see high quality new images of the set-up for the season. If you add the images to your website, it will be good for your website performance and SEO ranking.

Don’t forget that you can reuse the photos for next year, enticing potential customers who are planning a holiday get-away or an event at a certain time of year.

Remember that guest/travellers want to see cozy imagery in winter – think armchairs by the fire and twinkling lights over sumptuous feasts.

In summer, they prefer seeing outdoor images – pools, beaches and barbecue scenes.

Different times of year are appealing to different guests, which is worth keeping in mind. This is another reason why you should create a repository of high quality images with excellent composition to complement user-generated content and stories collated by your marketing team.

Seasonal hotel photography is inviting

When it comes to booking a hotel stays for the holidays, guests actively seek a memorable experience. The ability to craft and promote these experiences through seasonal photography of your hotel or resort is crucial, not only for attracting new guests but also to foster lasting loyalty. Actively engaging with your guests by sharing unique and festive photos encourages them to return to your hotel, where they can immerse themselves in the mood the photo has inspired.

If you have an organised strategy, using these images to target your ideal market in advance will help you capitalise on early bird offers, filling those rooms far in advance.

Seasonal photography should be part of your hotel marketing toolkit, keeping your guests continuously interested and hungry to experience everything your property has to offer.

If you’d like to learn more about booking a professional hotel photography or hotel shoot in different seasons, please get in touch and I’ll get back to you.