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May 7, 2022

We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and it’s especially true when it comes to promoting luxury travel experiences. Hospitality brands, like lifestyle brands, create buzz when they feature awe-inspiring and aspirational marketing visuals that create a sense of FOMO.

One has only to look at Instagram to understand the persuasive power of a captivating photo: The platform was built on the idea that people are moved by visual mediums, and according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media. That’s just one of the many reasons you’ll want to make sure your hotel or resort has the kind of visuals that help it stand out. Here, we share some photo/video dos and don’ts.

Show, Don’t Tell

In today’s world, travel photography and videography have been elevated to new heights. Amid a crowded visual landscape, it’s important that your brand’s imagery leave an impression.

Don’t think about relying on old standby shots of an empty guestroom or a poorly lit spa. We cringe when we see hoteliers market their properties with scenes of empty lobbies and restaurants or overly Photoshopped shots of guestrooms and bathrooms.

Do incorporate visuals that engage and inspire. They should be an integral part of your brand story and create an emotional connection. Imagery must reflect the consumer mindset and feature content that aligns with the lifestyle and experiences luxury travelers seek. Remember, lifestyle photography is more than just close-ups. It should also draw people in and let them experience the expansiveness of the space.

Promote Outdoor Pursuits

The pandemic created a renewed interest in the great outdoors. A Getty Images analysis of its top imagery reveals that photos set in the outdoors are more popular among consumers, as they showcase the variety of settings and activities people missed over the past couple of years.

Don’t overlook your property’s outdoor assets, such as stunning views, beautiful grounds, colorful gardens, and more.

Do consider incorporating more visuals of outdoor activities, such as al fresco dining and spa offerings as well as more adventurous pursuits. Your photography needs to sell the experience.

Focus on Sustainability

Many of today’s high-end consumers are looking to brands that are mindful about issues such as sustainability and the environment; visual assets that highlight this commitment are more likely to attract them.

Don’t rely on the uninspired and overplayed luxury shots everyone has seen before. Too often, luxury travel visuals follow a cliché “luxury playbook”: lavish interiors, Champagne, etc.

Do think of creative ways to show how you’re giving back to the community or helping to minimize your environmental footprint. For example, you could incorporate some stunning shots from your on-site organic garden or of your resort’s bee-saving efforts.

Pay Attention to Representation

One in four Americans lives with a disability—and despite the fact that this group spends an estimated $19 billion a year on travel, you’d be hard-pressed to find much visual representation in marketing materials. The same can be said for the LGBTQ community, which contributes an estimated $211 billion to the travel industry.

Don’t forget that people come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes.

Do pay attention to diversity and inclusion when you plan your photo and video shoots. Representation matters.

At Brown Marketing & Communications, we work with you to direct all aspects of your photo and video shoots—carefully considering the story you want your visuals to tell, and then managing vendors, talent, and more while developing a comprehensive shot list tailored to your individual property. Contact us today at 949.310.8662 or