I’m curious to hear how OMAAT readers feel about this…
In this post:
Hotels using photoshopped marketing pictures
Reader Richard was looking at the Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in the United Arab Emirates, and noticed something interesting. When you go to Marriott’s webpage for this hotel, you’ll see the below picture.
Okay, most of the picture looks normal, but what’s going on at the top left, with that flat green area? Is that a swamp? A polo field? A farm? After all, the color looks a bit off, and that’s not where the sea would be.
Well, as it turns out, it’s none of those things. Rather that’s where the neighboring InterContinental Fujairah Resort is located. If you look at the Google Street View from a similar angle, you’ll see the InterContinental in the background, as it’s the white building to the left.
I then checked out the website of the InterContinental Fujairah Resort, as I was curious if that hotel was doing any editing. Nope, the hotel was simply a bit more strategic with its angles, and instead blurs out the background in some pictures (though presumably for different reasons, as the Le Meridien isn’t visible in any of the pictures).
Is it acceptable for hotels to photoshop marketing pictures?
Some may remember my saga last summer at the Aegon Mykonos, a Marriott Autograph Collection property. Not only did the hotel photoshop the power lines out of marketing photos, but the hotel then lied about doing so.
Is the practice of hotels photoshopping pictures reasonable, is it misleading, or both? Here’s my take:
- Whether we like it or not, this is an all-too-common practice, unfortunately, as I’ve started to notice more since the Aegon Mykonos situation
- I think it’s common and fine for hotels to take pictures with strategic angles, and/or make sure everything looks as good as it possibly can, as that’s what you expect with marketing
- I tend to think it’s problematic if the photoshopping might actually mislead consumers about features or the general beauty of the hotel; for example, I think the power lines in the above picture do take away from the beauty of the pool, compared to what was being marketed
- I find the Le Meridien Al Aqah photoshop to be weird, though I’m not sure the (nicer looking) InterContinental next door really takes away from the beauty of the Le Meridien; I almost wonder if the picture is photoshopped so that people don’t go looking what the hotel next door might be, and book there instead
Hotels seem to photoshop marketing pictures a lot more than you’d expect, and the above observation by Richard is just the latest example of that. Personally I find this practice to be frustrating and misleading across the board. That being said, it doesn’t bother me that much if the thing being photoshopped doesn’t materially impact the guest experience.
I’m curious to hear where OMAAT readers stand. What’s the worst case you’ve seen of a hotel photoshopping pictures? Do you think it’s ever acceptable, and if so, under what circumstances?