Experience and tradition tells us that if we want to achieve something, we have to make the effort. However, this is not always the case, as relaxing is just as important as persistently taking action.
2017 started right for me. I got a new marketing stint in a different field.
I’ve been in the hotel industry since 2011, and I know it’s not as long as it sounds, but I always wanted to widen my skill set or just plain curious to try something new. Thanks to my headhunter, I got the said opportunity.
Unknown to most of my colleagues at The Lind, my career did not start as a Marketing and Communications Professional, but as a supplier. I was originally hired by the resort to revamp their branding, and to design their hotel and event collateral. Research became sketches, sketches turned into graphics, and finally developed into actual materials. From naming a restaurant to choosing colors and fonts, it was nice to see my ideas come alive. I will be forever grateful for the trust and creative freedom they’ve given me.
Designing with freedom is a bit tricky though. You have to remain focused in creating art with purpose rather than just art for art’s sake. You have to make sure that the design can take different forms while being able to resonate with the brand’s target market.
You can check my other designs for The Lind here.
While photo shoots are exciting, especially when you see the products of your hard work, managing your first hotel shoot can be a little nerve-racking. But don’t worry, your resourcefulness will get you through the endeavor. Here are 7 things you need to remember in managing a successful hotel shoot.
1. It is a necessity.
First, recognize the fact that you need a Hotel Shoot. There’s a ton of stock photos to choose from, but nothing compares to having your own pool of images. In some cases, you may purchase or download a photo based on a certain promotion. The photo then becomes tied to that single purpose, after the grueling effort of finding the closest thing to the actualities.
Moreover, when you do your own shoot, you get to stretch creativity, test your management skills, meet and collaborate with other talented individuals, and present your spaces or offers in the manner that actually fits your style.
Allocate budget for the shoot. After recognizing the fact that you need it, you should be prepared to allocate a chunk of your marketing budget for the said effort. It may cost you a lot once you execute it, but it will save you money, time and effort in the future. Remember that in doing a shoot, the collective effort of talents will be used, and believe me when I tell you that it costs more than what you would normally assume.
Approximately you would need the help of the following, especially when you’re doing the first official shoot of the property:
a. Photographer – Remember that photographers also have their fortes. Do your research, check their portfolios and talk to them. For base shoots, choose someone who has a keen eye for details like a fold on the bed sheet or a finger print on your glassware. Checking their portfolio will give you a preview of their style and editing skills. See if the photographer’s artistry fits the mood of your property.
b. Photographer’s Assistant(s) – Professional photographers will usually bring their editor(s) to discuss outputs play-by-play, and an actual assistant to manage lighting systems and coordinate during setups. Although smaller scale shoots like a new campaign for a restaurant may not require an assistant, hotel facilities are more complex and will need additional manning.
c. Stylist for the spaces - This could be you, but in case it’s your first time to manage a shoot, it wouldn’t hurt to add another expert on the field.
d. Model Manager / Coordinator - This would depend on the agency you’re working with. If you’re shooting a resort, an agency would normally ask someone to fly with their talents if they don’t personally know you or if your property is homegrown, as compared to an international chain.
e. Models - The number of models will also depend on your concept, purpose and spaces. Most cases, you will only require 1 male and 1 female model. Remember that you can also ask your colleagues to act different roles, but not all the time.
As a rule of thumb, it’s better to hire a professional model with a fee than a good looking person without an experience. Professional models understand angles, emotions, and lighting systems, allowing them to deliver what is needed in one or two takes compared to a good looking friend who will hit-and-miss.
f. Hairstylist - For lifestyle shoots, your hairstylist must be prepared to comb, clip, and spray repeatedly. Models may be asked to stay active (dive into a pool, do an actual workout, etc.) to get the required shot, depending on the layout, setup, spaces and other external factors.
g. Makeup Artist – Don’t go overboard with the kind of makeup that you want the models to wear. Remember that you’re trying to imply actual hotel experience in your photo. Similar to the hairstylists, retouch and concealing impertinent details are done frequently. Although photos have become more “casual” and natural-looking, you can always enhance a canvas with a little touch of paint.
h. Wardrobe Stylist (and assistant) - Depending on how extensive your shoot is, wardrobe requirements range from one rack to two or three or four; uniforms included, unless you plan to shoot beautiful views and facilities without people to experience them and colleagues to deliver signature service.
As mentioned, colleagues can act roles different from their actual jobs. A Sales Executive can dress as your Guest Services Manager, depending on the look that you want your property to evoke. Although I’m pretty sure that every department involved in your layouts has someone who can deliver a genuine warm smile in front of the camera.
Stylists should be briefed with the other members of the crew, especially with your photographer. Discuss details with your stylist at least two weeks before the start of the shoot, then check everything a week before the starting date.
A certain garment (e.g. wedding gowns, swimwear, etc.) may look good on its own, but it may not work with a certain layout. Remember that the focus should always be your property or the product and service for that matter.
Although stylists bring extra clothing, always ask them to prepare one or two more per layout. One cannot be always lucky to have a perfect match just across the street.
i. Florist – The allocation for plants and flowers will depend on the number of spaces you want to shoot. It is advisable to coordinate with your in-house gardener to lower your cost. Occasionally, leaves can actually suffice.
Not so sensitive plants should be stored in the hotel before the starting day of the shoot, especially if you’re doing a resort. Otherwise, setup should start hours (and I mean hours) and end an hour before the schedule. Storage should be air conditioned or well ventilated at the very least, as high temperature will hasten the aging process of plants.
Some florists may go over than what is needed, as they would love to highlight the kinds of plants that they have in stock or can order. Just be present when they’re setting up. Be involved and learn how to edit. The concept of less is more will sometimes apply.
As for the accessories, check your inventory. What you already have in the hotel or purchased for some other purpose can potentially lower your rent.
Although they are creative individuals, it’s better to discuss pegs so both parties can be on the same page.
In addition to the talented individuals that you need to hire, you may also need to allocate budget for items not found in the property like accessories, card boards, etc.. Do ask the assistance of the Purchasing Department, as they may have a wider pool of suppliers.
In creating your budget, include room allocations, meals, other hotel services like spa treatments, and modes of transportation. Working closely with your Director of Revenue or Revenue Manager is important.
Niguel is an experienced creative and marketing professional pursuing his dreams while growing with infinite possibilities.