How to Get Permission to Film at a Hotel

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How to Get Permission to Film at a Hotel

Filming in a resort, hotel or similar property represents a common challenge for many filmmakers who simply wonder how to get permission to film at a hotel? Whether you’re entirely new to filmmaking and you’re just learning about the various steps that cinematographers are forced to take in order to get proper permission to film both on public and on private property, or you’ve been filming for quite some time but this is your first time considering a shoot inside a hotel, we can think of many reasons why you might need to know how to get permission to film at a hotel. 

Is Permission to Film in a Hotel Required?

First and foremost, you’re probably wondering if permission is even necessary to film at a hotel. The answer is, generally “NO.”

However, you need to pay close attention to the contract that you sign when you enter the hotel property for a stay to ensure you are fully aware of your rights and any agreements that you are making when entering the property.

There is a chance that you might sign some kind of terms of use which take away your rights to film at the hotel, especially if you intend to film for commercial purposes.

Seeking Express Written Permission from a Hotel

Most hotels, especially the big resorts, will require express written permission from any commercial filmmaker that is interested in filming in the hotel.

Therefore, you should take steps in advance of your shoot to seek express written permission from the hotel, in writing, prior to your film shoot. But how?

Figuring out how to get permission to film at a hotel is not so difficult, it simply requires your effort, focus, and patience. Begin by researching the hotel website for any information regarding commercial photography and filming.

Most hotel websites will provide information about how they feel in regards to your filming on their property. Start here, and if you know a particular hotel is absolutely not open to the idea of commercial filming, you know to move on and make your move at another hotel property.

Write an Email to the Hotel Owner

Emailing the hotel owner represents the first major step toward figuring out how to get permission to film at a hotel. But what should you say?

When you email the hotel owner or manager, you should inform them of the following:

  • Who you are, and what production company you work with.
  • The size of your crew and their experience.
  • The name of the film that you are producing & what it’s about.
  • Your desire to film at the hotel, and why.
  • How long the film shoot will take, what it will entail, and how many crew members will be involved in the shoot.

Be honest about your desire to film at the hotel and make it very clear that you and your crew will respect the hotel property, the privacy of the guests on property, and the workers of the hotel. 

What if the Owner Will NOT Grant Permission to Film?

If you’ve reached out to a hotel owner in an effort to figure out how to get permission to film at a hotel and you’re finding that they are not responding.

Or that they have said that they will NOT grant you permission to film on the property, it’s important that you DO NOT FILM at the hotel! Instead, begin your search again, and seek permission from another hotel to use for your project.

Remember, if you choose to film on a hotel property without permission, or after they have told you that you are NOT allowed to film there, you become a trespasser which could result in legal punishment. 

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