Framing Art for the Hospitality Sector

For any aspiring artist trying to make a living selling art, there may be an industry that’s not caught your eye, up until now. That’s the hospitality sector as art is a big part of each hotels brand image.

Cast your mind back to the 1990s when you stayed at any hotel or bed and breakfast, anywhere in Britain. Chances are you’ll remember the usual floral prints to line the walls of hotel hallways, receptions and the rooms.

Nowadays, that’s all changed, and it’s thanks to the impact of digital. Digital prints and framing have had a profound effect on the wall displays in the majority of hotels around the country. It’s the art and frames that contribute to a brand’s identity. The familiar feel they all use to encourage loyalty to keep customers booking time and again.

To use just one example, take Hotel Indigo, which is part of the IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group), which also owns all the Holiday Inn brands. As part of the Indigo brand identity, every hotel maintains a uniform style for their frames, sticking to black frames and a near-white mount. But the art is different in every hotel. Instead of the old-style of florals and fruits, each photograph is a local print of somewhere close to the hotel location.

The same happens in large pub chains, such as JD Wetherspoon where their wall art line the walls with historic photos of each town they’re located in. The art in this chain are always local but focus on the heritage of entire towns rather than what’s nearby.

Why Such a Transformation across the Hospitality Industry?

Because digital art has become so affordable for reprints. But with pricing getting lower, art became bland and predictable. With digital rights, chains that take the heritage approach are often able to print images that are in the public domain, which happens 50-years after the picture was taken. Therefore, most images of towns taken before 1970 or thereabouts can be reprinted for free, or have digital touchups done to them ready to print and frame to put on display at a minimal cost.

As nearly every hotelier, brand or chain and even the smaller bed and breakfast operators are trying extremely hard to differentiate their brands and their customer experiences; the hospitality sector is taking a more unique approach to their artwork and framing. They often opt to work with art consultants to commission local artists to create bespoke artwork for their premises.

Brand identity is what most companies commission their artists for. To create pieces that work for them, and in larger businesses, it’s often the case that the framing is dealt with separately, as frames can be supplied to fit the brand identity across every hotel in the chain and discounted because of the mass volumes of frames they need.

When you take into account the number of rooms hotel chains have, there’s an astronomical amount of prints needed. As of 2019, Hotel Indigo operates 102 hotels with a combined total of nearly 13,000 rooms. That’s a lot of art, reprints and frames and that’s just one brand.

If you’re an artist looking to get more exposure and sales, the hospitality sector could be a good opportunity. Any hospitality business you’re considering pitching your presentations to, take a look at their frames, and you’ll get a better feel for how to present your artwork that fits in with the brand identity.

A quick tip: Monotone is a firm favourite as it fits with most designs regardless of the colour scheme within hotels. Bright or bland, black and white works.