March 1, 2017

Get Inn Focus with Top Photography

A picture is worth a thousand words – and more importantly, it can mean thousands of dollars in increased reservations! Even a gorgeous, spacious, luxurious property can look like a fleabag hotel on the web without professional photographs. If just one guest has told you, “the inn is so much nicer than it looks in the pictures” – STOP and figure out when you can arrange for professional photos. Very rarely will you find an expenditure that will result in a direct return on investment, and this one will.

Whether it’s on or your own website, having professional photographs will benefit your business. Here are some tips to make sure you make the most of this investment:

1.    Photographers are not created equal. A tripod is essential and not all photographers use them. 
2.    Quality not quantity rules. Click and pray for a great shot is a waste. A talented photographer will spend time staging each shot. This means tucking away chords, removing clutter, arranging pillows, knowing how to use tasteful props, and so on.
3.    A few good photos are better than none. If you’re a new innkeeper and have made some changes at the inn, don’t rush to change your website until you have professional photos taken.
4.    Share. See if you can arrange for the photographer to shoot several inns in your area to help share travel costs.
5.    Be ready and be flexible. If the weather is bad, the photographer may be able to change their arrival date. 
6.    Clean windows and remove screens. Photographers are expensive window washers.
7.    Have the photographer stay in your best view room. You never know what time of day they will snap that “signature” view shot.
8.    Invite an attractive repeat guest as a model. People in photos add a great deal.
9.    Be ready for long days. You need to give the photographer access when they feel the lighting is best, be it the crack of dawn or late at night.
10.  Know the difference between high versus low-resolution photos. You must have good-quality, high-resolution photographs handy for print material and media requests.

Many of these tips come from Jumping Rocks Photography, a group of talented industry photographers. I also discuss professional photography in my book, Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies, in Chapter 8. I myself enjoy and learn from reading the Jumping Rocks blog and recommend it for all new and seasoned innkeepers.

I have been helping innkeepers promote their properties for nearly 20 years, and I enjoy speaking about all aspects of your marketing plan. I am looking forward to the Innkeeping Conference and Trade Show March 26 – March 29 in St. Louis, MO, and I hope to see and meet many of you there. While I hope we visit in person soon, feel free to email me at I am always excited to hear your thoughts!

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