Courtyard by Marriott Banja Luka
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

Is Photographing Inside of Hotels Allowed?

Picture not having to lobby for a better answer.

Whenever I stay at a hotel or resort property, I usually intend on reviewing my experience with both text and photographs — and sometimes video — in articles here at The Gate With Brian Cohen, but I have been told by members of the staff at a few hotel properties that photographing the lobby area was not permitted; and I then wondered: is photographing inside of hotels allowed in general?

Is Photographing Inside of Hotels Allowed?

Residence Inn by Marriott Sarajevo
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

What was confusing is that each hotel property where I was told had a different set of rules which seemed to be arbitrary set, as the reasons I was told was that:

  • Not only was I not permitted to photograph the inside of the lobby; but I was also not allowed to photograph the exterior of the building as well.
  • I was allowed to photograph inside of the lobby — as long as the corporate logo of the parent company was not included in the photographs.
  • I was not allowed to include employees in the photographs — which I strive not to do anyway whenever possible to protect their privacy.
  • Photography is not permitted inside of the public areas of a hotel property for security reasons, which is understandable to an extent.

I sent a question to each of the lodging companies via Twitter — as though I were an ordinary customer and not someone specifically reporting on a story, which is why I initially chose not use official contacts which I have — and the responses which I received were as follows:

  • Choice Hotels — Hello, thank you for reaching out to us. Kindly know that all of our properties are individually owned and managed, and we don’t have access to their daily operations. Therefore, per privacy and security policies, some of our hotels do not allow pictures. However, this is subject to change according to each hotel’s policies. We hope this information helps. For further questions, you may reach us back at any time.
  • Hyatt Hotels Corporation — I was advised by my supervisor that you would need to direct this inquiry to the hotel’s management team for further assistance as each hotel policy may vary. Guest overall can take or post pictures during the stay however an issue may arise if the profit was being made with the use of the Hyatt logo. If I can gain the hotel’s direct number or email please let me know which Hyatt I can gain this for.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group — Hi, thank you for reaching out to us. We appreciate you as well for checking on our hotel brands. Please note that each hotel has different policies. You can refer to the link below that might be related to your query:
  • Marriott International, Incorporated — Thank you for reaching out to us. Each hotel has its own rules, so please kindly check with the relevant department of the hotel. Thank You.
  • Radisson Hotels — Hi there. Thank you for your message. The hotel is individually owned and operated. Therefore, they have their own policies and processes. May I know which specific property location are you referring to so I can get you the contact details of the hotel management for more information with this. I’ll wait.

At the time this article was written, I still have yet to receive a response from Accor, Best Western, Hilton, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts — but I have a feeling the answers from them will also be similar.

Final Boarding Call

Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis
Photograph ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

What I did not understand is why the employees of a hotel or resort property would have an issue with someone photographing the corporate logo inside of the lobby. I would think that would be free advertising or free publicity for that hotel or resort property.

The answers I received at the time this article was written were all similar: management at hotel and resort properties set the policies of photography; but not the lodging company itself, as at least one employee claimed.

Technically — and legally — hotels and resorts are private properties; and management can set the policies, rules, terms, and conditions as they please…

…as long as they do not contradict or violate the policies of the parent lodging company.

The next time you find yourself using a camera in the lobby of a hotel or resort property to take photographs, do not be surprised if an employee approaches you and asks you to cease and desist from doing so…

All photographs ©2022 by Brian Cohen.

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