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Google Virtual Tours for Hotels

As you may be aware Google are really revolutionising the way consumers are able to view and book hotels online. Google's Business View programme must be one of the best marketing tools for many years and is a great way to attract more bookings. Now Google have introduced an even more hotel friendly version of this, showing how seriously they are taking the hospitality sector.
A Google Virtual Tour uses the same technology as Google Street View except that it shows off the inside of your hotel or B&B. It gives your customers the chance to take a fully interactive, 360° virtual 'walk-through' of your hotel and this really brings your business to life and allows you to showcase your premises and service in incredible detail. A Google virtual tour also makes your website a lot more visible on internet search engines and it will be prominently listed on Google Hotel Finder, Google Search, Google Maps and Google+. It can also be embedded into your website, blog and Facebook page with links easily sent via Twitter etc. Google virtual tours use Street View Technology that is tried and tested. It works on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones; your customers can see inside your business from pretty much any device.
I am authorised by Google as one of their Google Trusted Photographers and I am able to carry out and produce virtual tours. To find out more and see examples of virtual tours, take a look at the 'Google Virtual Tours' page on my website.
To be part of the Google Virtual Tour programme, please just contact me. I’d be delighted to explain more so please do not hesitate to email me at insidestoryphoto@aol.com or phone me on 01289 305735.

Your Hotel's Christmas Marketing
I remember reading a survey carried out by a leading holiday company that showed that weeks 40-42 (roughly October 3rdst to 25th) are the busiest period for enquiries and bookings for Christmas and New Year.
Thinking on from the above, the Christmas/New Year period is financially one of the most important to any hotel owner and for this reason alone, its worth making a bit of an extra effort to ensure your accomodation is well booked. One idea is to add some suitable Christmas photographs of your hotel. For example, a photograph of your function room or lounge area with beautiful Christmas decorations and tree along with a roaring open fire or log burner(if you have one!). You could take this a step further and, in the latter half of the year, it may be worth adding an extra page to your website dedicated to the Christmas period with perhaps spelling out what you have to offer with details of party facilities and Christmas dinner menus.
So thinking ahead to next year (unless you are really quick and well organised for Christmas this year), I can help with Christmas photographs. The idea would be to take great photographs of your hotel while its decorated and prepared this Christmas and these could then be used for next year’s Christmas marketing campaign. I know quite a few hotel's had a fairly quiet Christmas last year, losing out on a large income so a little planning may well pay off.



Fire safety at hotels and B&Bs – a warning
We’re quite sure that most hotel owners take fire safety very seriously. Even so, its worth mentioning that the regional fire brigades are actively carrying out audits on hotels and will take a dim view of owners who fall foul of the regulations. In fact a quick internet search shows quite a number of successful prosecutions and these often result in some huge fines. many of the most common regulation breaches involve not having smoke detectors and blocking a fire exit. However, one issue that may catch many hotel owners out is a failure to have an up to date and a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment. The 'suitable and sufficient' part is important. Your fire risk assessment needs to show that you have made a real effort here and have not just performed a quick box ticking exercise. Its a fairly simple thing to draw up but its as well to remember that this is a legal requirement, not an optional activity and again, your local fire service will not hesitate to prosecute if this is skimped on.
Here’s a link to a handy guide to what you should know, as published by The Chief Fire Officers Assocaition, though this really relates to smaller hotels and B&Bs only:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/11085/payingguests.pdf

Food Photography
Another service I offer is that of food photography. Now I really don’t want to be a jack of all trades – I certainly won’t be photographing weddings and babies anytime soon – but food photography ties in very well with my work as a specialist interior photographer. I was constantly being asked by the owners of the hotels and restaurants that I was photographing, if I could offer this service. I completely understand the logic of professional food photography: many establishments still use stock photographs but of course, its so much better to show exactly what your kitchen or chef can deliver. The food you produce is unique and personal to your business and high quality images will undoubtedly reflect your values and give your guests a direct insight into the kind of quality they can expect from you and give a good reason to make a booking.
Good quality food photography requires a special set of skills as well as a comprehensive set of specialist equipment and it’s an area in which I particularly enjoy working. Please visit my website to see examples of food photography produced recently for local hotels. As ever, I’m most happy to chat about your requirements so please, just phone or email.

Photography options and prices
I thought it may be useful to quickly outline what I do and how much its going to cost: I am conscious that every property and client is unique and therefore my approach to each is tailored accordingly. I offer three simple packages that cover the most popular requirements though of course I am happy to chat about tailoring a service to suit your individual needs.
1. Photography covering both interior and exterior of the property. You can choose five images which are digitally enhanced. This is ideal for smaller properties that appear on listings where the number of photographs are limited or the images are to be used on a leaflet or business card. £175.00
2. A more in-depth shoot covering property interior, exteriors, details and views. This will include some HDR finished photographs. You can choose 10 images which are digitally enhanced. This is my most popular package and is perfect for a holiday cottage or small B&B/hotel with it’s own website, where getting across the atmosphere and quality of your property is important. £250.00
3. A full day shoot covering property interior, exteriors, details, views and area shots. To include some HDR finished photographs. You can choose 30 images which are digitally enhanced. This package is ideally suited for cottage complexes, larger B&B and hotels. £500.00
I will always take a large selection of photographs to ensure you have a good choice and extra photographs can be purchased at an additional cost. I am happy to be as flexible as required in order to produce the images that you require. Whether you are new to digital photography or are an experienced web designer, my dedicated download site allows you to access your photographs quickly and easily.

Winter 2014

Newsletter - Winter 2014