The Perfect Storm: A Hotel Shoot Filled with Foreseen & Unforeseen Challenges
Embarking on a hotel photo shoot can be an exciting opportunity to showcase a property’s beauty and allure…assuming the property is actually beautiful and alluring.
However, sometimes foreseen and unforeseen challenges can turn a seemingly straightforward assignment into a tumultuous experience. Such was the case during a recent shoot where we encountered a perfect storm of difficulties.
Short version – This is why you hire an EXPERIENCED & professional hotel photographer!
Power Outage Surprise: Lack of Communication and Preparation
After speaking to the third manager in the course of a few months, we knew we were in for a challenging shoot. Especially when the second manager to hire us quit and took half the housekeeping staff in the days before we were scheduled to shoot.
As we drove ten hours to the photo shoot, little did we know that a major obstacle awaited us. Upon arrival, we discovered that not only had the hotel been without power for the past 18 hours, but the entire town was also affected. To compound matters, the hotel had rented out all the rooms that were supposed to be blocked off for our shoot so we arrived with literally nothing that we could shoot. It could have been a disheartening revelation, but we were protected by a good contract and therefore in a position to make the best of the situation.
The Power of a Solid Contract: Shielding Yourself from Natural and Manmade Disasters
Importance of a Signed Contract with Clear Cancellation Clauses
In times of chaos, having a solid contract becomes invaluable. Our experience underscored the importance of having a signed contract that includes specific cancellation clauses. Without our contract, we would have endured a 20-hour drive for nothing. Our contract clearly outlines a cancellation fee and stipulates that any disputes will be settled in our jurisdiction. This safeguard allowed us to remain calm and unworried, knowing that we had legal protection in place and got paid the same whether we shot a single picture or not.
Booking Fee: Covering Travel Costs and Providing Financial Protection
We never embark on a job without a paid booking fee.
In this particular case, the $250 booking fee covered our travel expenses to and from the shoot location. Even if the owner had disputed the contract, our booking fee would have ensured we broke even in the short term. Having a financial buffer not only protected us but also gave us leverage in case of any disagreements or unforeseen circumstances.
Jurisdiction and Dispute Resolution: Ensuring Favorable Resolution
Including jurisdiction and dispute resolution clauses in our contract played a crucial role in securing a favorable outcome. Should a dispute arise, having the agreement stipulate that it would be settled in our jurisdiction provided us with peace of mind. It minimized the potential for prolonged legal battles and increased the chances of resolving any disagreements in a timely manner…without another 20 hours of driving!
The Art of Control: Navigating Difficult Situations with Composure
Cultivating an Internal Locus of Control
While we cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we react to it. This mantra became our guiding principle throughout the challenging photo shoot. Cultivating an internal locus of control allowed us to stay focused, adaptable, and proactive in the face of unforeseen circumstances. Rather than succumbing to frustration or anger, we channeled our energy into finding solutions and remaining composed.
Creating Contingency Plans: Guardrails for Challenging Scenarios
After photographing more than 1,000 hotels, we know that things can and will go wrong on a hotel photo shoot.
To maintain a sense of control, our contract puts contingency plans in place for various scenarios. While we always hope for the best, we prepare for the worst. Having alternative strategies and backup options ensured we were ready to tackle unexpected challenges head-on.
By envisioning potential hurdles and devising preemptive solutions, we mitigated stress and approached the situation with confidence.
Asserting Accountability: Holding Firm in the Face of Late Payments
During the shoot, we encountered an additional obstacle when the manager had trouble getting someone to pay the invoice for the balance due. However, we stood our ground and refused to begin shooting until the invoice was paid. Eventually, we compromised and set a firm deadline, stating that if the payment was not received by 1 pm, our additional $100 late fee would be imposed. Holding firm on our terms demonstrated our commitment to accountability and safeguarded our professional interests while also working with them during a challenging set of circumstances.
Finding Winning Solutions: Collaboration and Relationship Building
Empowering Instead of Sulking: Encouragement and Feedback
Rather than wallowing in frustration, we chose to empower and support the hotel team in their efforts to get things back on track. Instead of making excuses for them and fixing their lack of planning ourselves, we offered constructive feedback and guidance to help them meet the demanding time frame. By fostering an environment of collaboration and encouragement without enabling bad behavior, we foster a sense of camaraderie and motivated the team to push beyond their limits.
Balancing Accountability and Reputation Protection
Our goal was to hold the hotel accountable without tarnishing our reputation or damaging our relationship. While we firmly set deadlines and expectations, we also recognized the importance of maintaining professionalism and empathy. Striking the delicate balance between accountability and understanding enabled us to navigate the situation gracefully and preserve our reputation as reliable partners.
Celebrating Successes: Relationship Building and Professionalism
In an unexpected turn of events, the hotel team managed to pull everything together just in time for us to start the shoot and complete by the deadline we had agreed upon.
It was nothing short of a miracle, and we couldn’t help but celebrate this collective achievement. Our approach of maintaining professionalism, providing support, and sticking to our expectations fostered a positive working relationship with the hotel team. The collaborative efforts paid off, leaving us with a sense of accomplishment and strengthened professional connections.
Triumph in Adversity: Reacting Strategically and Nurturing Relationships
Our challenging hotel photo shoot reminded us of the invaluable lessons we’ve learned about navigating unexpected obstacles with composure and grace.
By emphasizing the importance of a solid contract, maintaining an internal locus of control, and cultivating collaborative relationships, we not only successfully overcame the hurdles but also strengthened our professional standing.
Remember, while you can’t control what happens to you, you can control how you react to it. With strategic planning, resilience, and a focus on building relationships, triumph in the face of adversity becomes attainable.