Skip to main content

The need for great photography and video in restaurant marketing

Because of the ever-growing competition within the hospitality industry, it is vital for marketers to make their brand stand alone and become the preferred provider. There are endless solutions to do this – but visual marketing is key.

Photography and video content play an integral part in marketing for any hospitality business. Whether you’re using content for social media, websites, public relations or advertising, a single image portrays a great deal of power. The visual content you communicate can make or break a marketing campaign and adversely affect your business’ sales.

Imagery can perform many functions including catching a prospective customer’s eye, bringing concepts together and enhancing the appeal of a product or service. Although instrumental in marketing, imagery is often left until last, creating an “okay” advertising campaign rather than an exceptional one.

When it comes to websites, it’s important to remember they are the face of your brand as well as the primary information source for your audience. In addition to being easy to navigate and instrumental in increasing reservations, websites must be visually appealing otherwise fundamentally they won’t deliver. First impressions are paramount.

The press is also becoming increasingly selective when it comes to what it features and photography plays a part in this selection. If you have a great story without effective imagery, it probably won’t be featured.

Social media has changed the face of marketing, providing the opportunity to reach out to your specific target market. More than three billion people around the world use social media each month, with nine in ten accessing their chosen platforms via mobile devices (source: 2018 Global Digital suite of reports from We Are Social and Hootsuite). With the popularity of image-led channels such as Instagram and Pinterest, photos and videos are now at the forefront of social media, making it increasingly important to experiment with different content and compete with your competitors locally and digitally in all visual forms.

Video marketing is an effective tool to connect to your consumers. Last year, almost half (49%) of marketers using video content grew revenue faster than non-video users (source: Wordstream 2017 video marketing statistics). Providing more detail than a single photo, video allows your brand to communicate a detailed and specific message. With the growth of YouTube, vlogs and Instagram Stories, videos are emerging as a market leader for marketers and, although the tools at hand may seem overwhelming at times, video is one not to be missed.

The channel you use is also worth noting. YouTube has more than a billion users and each day those users watch a billion hours of video, making it the leading platform for video content. On Instagram, video consumption has increased 40% but photos generate 36% more likes. On Instagram Stories, viewers tend to drop off after four seconds, showing the need to keep video clips short and sweet. It is important to understand not every channel is the same so carry out your research and ensure you’re not wasting your time or content.

It is also important to “shop around” when it comes to retaining a photographer or videographer. There are so many out there to choose from and in general they don’t come cheap, so do your research and always look through their portfolios and ensure their skills are relevant. Once hired, briefing and styling is vital – as a marketing manager you must become director of the shoot and ensure your brand is portrayed correctly. Lighting is also crucial. Photographs taken by natural daylight are always better and if daylight isn’t available, the photographer must be informed and prepared.

When posting a photograph or video you must never forget to ask yourself “why?” As well as representing your brand, the content must navigate the user to your end goal. If a picture is worth a thousand words, think about what you want that picture to say. If you own a hotel and post a beautiful image of the hotel’s spa, your main goal should be to drive traffic to your spa’s website not achieve 1,000 empty “likes”.

In the digital world we live in, you need to know exactly what will stimulate your audience and drive sales to your business. Text-based content is always going to be an integral part of marketing but visual content in terms of photography and video must be at the forefront.

Storytelling is powerful and also competitive – ultimately you write your brand’s story. Make it bold, beautiful and informative in both visual and contextual sense and you will stand out from the crowd.

Emily Chambers is the former Group Sales & Marketing Manager for Jason Atherton’s Social Company, is now a freelance marketing consultant and was listed in the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator 30 Under 30 list for 2018.