Instagram can be a blessing or a curse for hotel properties. On one hand, the social media platform visually conveys beautiful design features and ‘wow’ moments that engage, inspire, and attract guests in a way that would be hard to put into words. On the other hand, the wrong visual or absence of visual marketing altogether can contribute to a lack of interest or excitement. In fact, some travelers are booking their stays not based on what is convenient or what is in their price range, but instead based on what will look best on their Instagram feed.
Increasingly, hotels have to continue innovating in every space of a property—from guestrooms, to restaurants and lounges, and especially public spaces, to ensure they can secure bookings in the Instagram era. These moments can be achieved through strategically placed elements, especially notable pieces of art, that stand out visually both in person and online. When done right, hospitality spaces can create organic visibility for their brand, positioning themselves online as a trending place to stay in their respective cities—and even go viral.
What does it take to create the ultimate Instagrammable moment in a hotel through art? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, here are five factors to take into consideration to bring travelers flocking in to snap a selfie.
1. Infuse local art and culture.
A hotel can act as a window into its the culture and history of its destination. By commissioning local artists, the hotel puts itself in a unique position to display standout works that nod to regional influences. Strategically curating these one-of-a-kind details into a commanding visual presence instantly transforms the property into a go-to destination for influencers and other trend-minded individuals in that particular locale. Hotels and local artists can collaborate to create an artistic experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the world and one that has significant meaning and a connection to the area.
2. Keep the eye guessing with an eclectic mix.
Some of the hospitality spaces that are most successful on Instagram are the ones boasting unexpected elements that keep the eye guessing. What appears at first to be a static mural might actually be an avant-garde multimedia piece, and what seems to be a beautiful but simple art installation might actually be an enjoyable, interactive experience inviting audience engagement. The kind of word-of-mouth buzz these sorts of experiences create cannot be underestimated, and this is only compounded by the additional excitement generated by a viral post on Instagram. Additionally, hotels should aim to balance striking ‘wow’ moments with smaller, more intimate—but still unexpected—details sprinkled in, automatically giving the space its own cohesive visual identity that the guest knows will stand out on their feed.
3. Provide a different mood for various spaces.
The beauty of a hotel is the myriad of spaces a guest is able to experience under one roof. In the Instagram age, it is imperative for each area in a hotel to have a different visual identity, giving a guest the feel of a cohesive experience that cannot be emulated. A food and beverage space, whether it be a restaurant or cocktail lounge, should provide a completely immersive visual and sensorial experience—one that should be utterly different from what is delivered in the guestrooms and the lobby. As a guest moves through various spaces, exploring the hotel will become an adventure as opposed to a necessity.
4. Foster experiential moments.
The importance of experiential moments cannot be overstated. Today’s hotel guest is no longer looking just for a standard hotel stay, but for a one-of-a-kind experience, leading to the so-called ‘amenities arms race’ that so many hospitality brands find themselves engaged in today. Art can be an excellent way to create these experiential moments that cannot be found elsewhere, and that, in turn, can attract guests to a hotel in droves. This can be done through curating elements such as outdoor sculpture or interactive pieces.
5. Draw inspiration from the natural world.
So many properties are installing beautiful visual elements—including light fixtures, furniture, and classic artworks—that are inspired by the unique geographical features of their home cities. Whether it be the rainfall of Seattle or the canyons and mountains of the west, nature endures as a great source of inspiration. Patrons cannot help but pull out their phones and post pictures of these unique features to their feed. Use surroundings to create an inventive moment in a lobby or guestroom ensures that it will be unique to the property—people will have to travel there to see it.
Ultimately, thoughtfully curated art can inspire Instagrammable moments. Don’t underestimate the ‘free marketing’ that social media can bring to a property.