Improve your hotel photography with Ross Honeysett
Ross's Honeysett's photography career has spanned everything from fashion to fine arts since he began in the 1970s, with his pictures speaking honestly in a non-contrived manner.
Influenced by the modernists, his approach has been described as timeless, minimal, insightful and yet honest and without pretence. His work demonstrates his instinctive ability to analyse, even dissect a brief and turn ideas into photographs that communicate and entice.
No Vacancy recently sat down with Ross to ask how a hotel should approach photography in this modern world of technology. Cameras in the latest smart phones might be on par with the quality of some professional SLR cameras - but is this enough? Is better technology the only thing a hotelier needs to show off their business or is professional photography a little more complex than that?
Please explain the importance in the investment of professional photography to a hotelier. How will it help them stand out and tell their brand story - as opposed to finding a stock library image or amateur photography.
It’s similar to investing in the architecture. In architecture, a client who is market-aware and has a strong business plan will want a tailored design that suits their needs. The client will have carefully researched their market and be ready with a concise brief that conveys their needs. It’s the same with photography. The client will have researched a photographer who is experienced and trained to understand and interpret a business and translate this to a contemporary and arresting visual languge.
This specialist photographer will work in a much more intuitive way than stock or amateur vision could. The ensuing photography will evoke the vibe of the building and interior rather than just be a record of it. In the case of a small-to-medium accommodation business, the photography will have a strong aspirational quality making the guests think, ‘I want to be there!’
Photography plays a key role in building the right brand and attracting the right guest but is professional photography only for large hotels and resorts? Can smaller accomodation businesses benefit from the investment?
Smaller “boutique” accommodation is becoming more popular. These establishments can be most style forward and it’s important that this unique style is conveyed to the market.A modest & well run establishment that is well designed may be far more photogenic than it’s more “boastful” and more expensive neighbour.
Photography with a strong narrative quality certainly could be applied to the visual language and communication of a small hotel.
The priority should be the correct brief and engaging the correct specialist for the job. The right photographer will understand and appreciate the product and represent it appropriately in visual language. Consequently, photography will be a natural and seamless process.
With your years of experience and extensive business and leisure travel is there anything that stands out that an accommodation business should be doing or stop doing to stand out and improve their reputation?
One important factor is the human interface of the business. A small business always benefits if the owner is “omnipresent” and a “figurehead” of the business.
A guests experience will be positive if greeted by a courteous & sincere owner of a small hotel. A wise hotelier will be aware of guest’s arrival time & date and be available to greet them.
Another key point is staff retention. A hotel’s success is subject to its ability to retain key staff. A returning client will notice immediately if key staff members are replaced by those who do not perform as well.
My experience also tells me that local culture is a most important factor. A business must accurately represent local culture. For example, a small, family-run hotel in Europe or Scandinavia may be a modest building but a guest’s experience will be enriched by a hotel culture that has been passed down through generations of hoteliers.
As soon as the guest enters the hotel they would immediately feel absorbed into and embraced by a new and local culture. A guest must feel at ease in a hotel and these hoteliers perform this task naturally. No amount of staff training, for example, can achieve this result. It’s just part of the culture.
The antithesis may be the experience one would have in a large hotel. Where an experience may be lessened by a service which is formulaic.
Any practical secrets you’re willing to giveaway to help choose the right photographer and / or imagery to best represent their business?
That’s easy… Take a sage approach to consuming photography. Choose a like minded person to provide the imagery. One who understands your business type and can naturally take a brief to produce evocative images that will immediately communicate with the market.
As a specialist, I get lots of direct commissions so, providing a hotel has done their research and has decided my work fits within their business plan, I would be happy to speak to them.
For more information and examples of Ross Honeysett's Photography visit www.rosshoneysett.com