Don’t Make Dave’s Instagram Your Hotel Social Media Marketing Strategy

If you’ve worked with a hotel photographer before, you know the hours that we put into meticulously planning, lighting, shooting, and editing to produce perfect shots for your hotel’s social media marketing strategy.

So, if you asked us if your hotel should be using the Valencia-filtered Instagram photo that Dave in room 14 just posted, you’d probably expect our answer to be no. And it is. Let’s be honest, Dave’s photo was blurry, badly lit, and he definitely should have been wearing clothes. But, Hannah’s view of the sunset, or Peter’s shot of his kids jumping in the pool? Those we love.

We’re hotel photographers as well as marketers, and understand the value of guest photos to help show off your hotel. Hannah and Peter’s photos aren’t an alternative to professional photography or our competition, they serve a completely different purpose than do professional photos.

Slide the red line from left to right to see before and after lighting.

Our eye-catching photos capture and communicate the unique details, feeling, and experience of each of the hotels we work with. The romance, the adventure, the joy are brought to life through careful lighting and the right styling. Guest photos help emphasize those feelings.  @HannahL, sipping wine and watching the sky turn orange, and @PeterSmith, playing with his kids in the pool, will inspire other guests. 

Read more about our interior photography lighting technique here.

Where to Use Guest Photos

Those jaw dropping photos we spent so long meticulously lighting are the promise you’re making to possible guests, and give your current guests something to brag about.  

Guest photos (otherwise known as user generated content, or UGC) are best used to capture the personal experiences inspired by a hotel. So, use them as a visual proof points and put them where guests will go looking for proof – on your social media.

How to Get Guests to Post Photos That You Can Use

  1. Have strong visuals of your own. If you have an emphasis on strong, beautiful photos and videos then you’ll inspire guests to create their own.
  2. If you build it, they will come is only the beginning of the story. It takes vision and work to create a place that people want to visit and participate with. Whether you are launching a new channel or building your existing content—regular engagement and attention is a must.
  3. Spend time curating a social media presence that represents your hotel. Have a clear idea of the type and feel of the photos you want to share, and put work into growing your audience.
  4. Introduce a hashtag, and start encouraging guests to tag the hotel. Reward them for using your hash tags by sharing and featuring their photos and stories.
  5. Don’t repost everything. You should comment on most everything (probably not that weird photo of Dave’s), but only repost images that fit with your brand. Make a list with questions like: is the photo high enough quality? Does it communicate the right feeling? Does it fit with our Instagram color scheme? Before reposting the image make sure to ask for permission.

Engaging on social channels is a key part of social media marketing strategy, but there is never a substitute for a perfectly composed professional image or video.


We would love you to join us on our Instagram feed. Here are some of our recent pics: