Use Visuals to Create an Experience, Not Just a Story

brown Blog, The Marketing Minute

We’ve said it before, and it still holds true—video and photography assets are more important to your brand than ever. Why? Because they do more than just tell your story; the best visuals will create a feeling. They transport potential guests into an experience, rather than an obvious sales pitch.

Audiences don’t like being sold to—and they can tell when you’re doing it.
Your customers, particularly those on social media (but also those who visit your website, receive your emails and view your ads), want to learn and engage. They want to understand not only the details of your property, but what it will feel like when they’re there. That’s where visuals come in. But they have to be the right visuals.

Consider standard hotel-room photos. They show the layout, the bed and bath, maybe the view. But are those photos going to get the job done if the room shown is vacant? Probably not, even if they’re high-quality shots. They’re going to feel sterile and staged.  Instead, what if the photos showed a couple enjoying the room? Laughing, lounging, having a room-service meal or just a drink. Now you’re putting a potential guest in the position of seeing themselves in that room—imagining their own personal experience at your property. The same goes for your spa, restaurant, outdoor activities and more.

Don’t think there’s a real difference? Look at these photos, taken from a Google image search for “hotel room.” You see a few people, but not many. These are the kinds of standard shots the industry has used for far too long.

Now check out some images that use an experience-based approach. They’re engaging, interesting. They make you feel something more than “that looks like a comfortable bed,” or “that’s a big room,” don’t they? Your goal is to give potential customers that same kind of feeling.

A mini-movie— here’s one great example—can do even more to immerse an audience in your brand experience. It doesn’t have to be professionally done or break the budget, either; use your judgement and create something that fits your particular brand. A handheld or GoPro-style video might perfectly showcase your outdoor activities, for instance. Put your executive chef on camera for an interview about your menu and dining options, or have your spa director walk through unique treatments. Get creative, and have a little fun, too. Your guests will come away feeling like they know your property, your staff and ultimately, your experience.


A Variety of Uses

Once you have the right photos and/or videos, you can do a lot more than just put them up on your website. Add them to social media and your advertising campaigns, use them in email marketing, and even in third-party marketing to promote special offers.  Just remember—it all starts with creating an experience. After that, your options are limitless.