How to Sell Art to Hotels: 10 Tips You Need to Know

By Milan Art Institute on April 17, 2024
How to Sell Art to Hotels: 10 Tips You Need to Know

Photo Credit: Milan Art, short-haired women with tattooed arm looking up at bold-colored canvases or women posing in different positions surrounded by shapes

Navigating the market of hotel art can be a tricky endeavor but once you’re in, it can be a fruitful stream of income. Every time a hotel rebrands, the art is changed out. Big national and international franchises are buying up smaller boutique hotels, rebranding, and redecorating. Major hotels want to seem local so putting a community stamp on these environments is being accomplished by including regional artists in the new decor. A growing trend of art-focused hotels means fresh art is in demand. How do you sell art to hotels in an industry where mass reproduction prints and pieces have been common? Read on to find 10 tips you need to know on how to sell art to hotels.

Tip #1 - Identifying Your Market

When entering the hospitality industry artists need to understand an individual collector is no longer your buyer. A hotel’s art buyer’s taste will play a part in their purchasing choices, but a reputable buyer considers the hotel's clientele first. They have a mandate from their higher-ups to meet a certain look and feel in the hotel. Every hotel employs its methods to achieve its goals, yet within the hospitality industry, standard practices exist that vary depending on the hotel's size. Larger hotels are using art consultants, decorating agencies, or in-house corporate decorators.

With the rise of the Airbnb market hotels have learned to emulate the personal, home-like ambiance, distinctive décor, and local charm as they renovate and rebrand. That requires having boots on the ground directly in the community. When those boots hit your ground, you want to be noticed. The key for artists is to collaborate with art consultants, interior designers, architectural firms, and galleries in your area. You need to cultivate a relationship, demonstrating that you are a dependable source they can rely on over time.

There is a rise in hotels that value and feature original art, like the Aria or 21c Museum Hotels. Watch for new hotels being in your area, and pounce while they are being built. Keep your pulse on regional social media groups like Reddit to hear when buildings are being renovated into boutique hotels. You might have a better opportunity to enter the boutique hotel market, as these establishments prioritize providing guests with a truly unique experience. Many of the boutique hotels are locally owned and owners recognize the value of having artists from their community.

Tip #2 - Elevate Your Professionalism

Once you have identified your potential market, it’s time to connect with the decision-makers. But how can you do that if you haven’t done the foundation work for your art and brand?

Begin by offering something valuable. It might be time to enhance your skills to create artwork that not only meets market demands but also makes you proud. Take the Milan Art Institute Mastery Program to grow your skills and understanding of a career as a professional artist.

Confidence is crucial when entering this market. The initial step involves developing a cohesive portfolio that highlights your distinct style and artistic voice. This clarity makes your work understandable to potential buyers. High-quality photographs of your artwork are crucial for promotional purposes and social media engagement. While photographing art might seem daunting, today's smartphones enable you to capture professional-grade images.

The process of how to sell your art can feel overwhelming, but establishing a strong brand, a professional website, and having excellent photos of your work are fundamental steps for expanding into new venues. Even if you're just starting in your art career, you can still present yourself as a professional as you establish your presence.

Create a printed catalog or an online portfolio with pictures showcasing your art in hotel settings. Use mock-up apps to stage pictures in rooms. Make it easy for purchasers to visualize how your art will serve their market. Create high-quality work using high-quality materials, finish edges, frame your work, and include hanging mechanisms. Elevate your taste by being curious and a life learner. Study design, architecture, modern trends, and future trends. Create a CV for your website and include reviews of past projects. Don’t be intimidated by a contract, this is part of the professional world.

Depending on your arrangement, you may need insurance or to follow up on the hotel’s insurance policies. Read the fine print in your contract to make sure you are retaining the rights to your work. If you are confused and intimidated by this process, use a lawyer or services like Once you have made a deal, handle printing, framing, delivery, installation, and maintenance of purchased pieces for added convenience. Elevating your professionalism will help you stand out from the rest of the competition and help give you the confidence you need to approach the decision-makers.

Photo by visualsofdana on Unsplash Hotel room with bed, desk and nightstands, earth-tone decorations, a terrace with green plants, a robe hanging from an open closet

Tip #3 - Connect with Your Market

Some high-end hotels (like the Wynne and Encore in Vegas) have their own art collections curated over time, that include some very famous pieces. This might not be your current market, but you can learn from their model to try to get your foot in the door. How do you connect with a curator? Start by doing your research online. When you post your work, feature it in a hotel setting using mock-up apps. Tag potential curators, interior designers, and art agencies on social media platforms. Connect with local architecture firms and boutique hotel owners, interact, and comment on their social media.

Build up your LinkedIn presence by adding your CV, website, and pictures of your work. Search for specific positions on, like interior designers and art agents, and try to connect. Be relentless until a door is cracked open for you. Keep up on your online presence. This shows that you can be a trusted value-added partner to potential buyers.

Be bold and go to a hospitality industry conference. Bring a catalog to pass out. This will also help you keep a pulse on what the industry is looking for. Research contractors and decorators that focus on hotel revitalization and renovations. Online marketplaces such as Artfinder, Singulart, Esty, and Fine Art America are places to list your art for a potentially broader audience. Network with associations or centers for economic growth in your district to be a recipient of insider knowledge of upcoming projects.

Tip #4 - Pitch with Confidence

Knowing your pitch looks like knowing your brand and knowing how your brand can serve the hotel’s brand. You are no longer selling to enhance an individual’s home; you are selling to reach a broader clientele: the hotel’s guests. Align with the hotel’s brand values. Look into the vision and mission of the hotel you are approaching when creating your presentation. Use sustainable products in your art and feature them as part of your brand value. This could meet a broader corporate goal, which would make you more appealing as an environmentally conscience artist.

Share details of your art that make it unique. Explain how your art can increase their guests’ experience. Emphasize your art being a good investment with facts about art being recession-proof. The hospitality industry values serving its customers. How is your art serving their customers? Create a personalized catalog showing your work mocked up in their hotel (use mock-up apps or Photoshop to create). You may only have one chance with a buyer, so make your pitch count.

Tip #5 - Become an Established Artist

What does that look like? Become the person in your circles that is known as “the artist”. Participate in local shows and design fairs. Join art associations and guilds. Create art that honors your area. Use your social media following as a sales tactic to draw new customers in. You need to be a champion of the arts and do what you can to elevate the arts in your region. Curate and create your own events. Many art dealers use a network of galleries to source their purchases. Getting your art into your local galleries is a great place to try to get seen and will help establish you as a trusted community artist. Being “established” looks like being consistent. Get in the studio, create regularly, and maintain a consistent online presence. Play the long game and let short wins fuel your endurance.

Tip #6 - Create Art that Sells

Creating art that sells for this industry will depend on the buyer and the vision they have for their specific clients. Some hotels want art that is touristy and location-specific. For example: a beach-themed art series for a hotel located in the Florida Keys.

Larger branded hotels usually already have a particular look they want, so if you are targeting a specific hotel, create an exclusive series that will enhance the existing décor. Universal appeal, not political or controversial art will always win in these environments. The art should complement the values of the hotel. Curators are looking for art that is already made by an established artist. Foundationally, you will need to have scalable art solutions like the ability to make prints for multiple rooms.

Boutique hotels love to feature trendy pieces themed around a more personalized style or decorating trend. These hotels are experiences and they want art that compliments those experiences. They are more open to emerging artists.

For both environments, buyers want the art to make people feel welcomed, safe, and comfortable.

Photo Credit: Milan Art, person in black standing in front of two large art canvases, one painting of a unicorn among clouds and butterflies, the other a mermaid underwater

Tip #7 - How to Price for the Market

Pricing your art in this new market can be overwhelming. Before you negotiate a price with your buyer, make sure your art is easy to purchase and see. This can be done by adding a new menu tab and page to your website. Having a clear path to purchase your work will help remove roadblocks and show you are a professional. A buyer may want to purchase your art on commission, at a wholesale price, with a lease agreement, rental to own, or rental. Do your research and come ready with your price structure and options. Price your art at market value while making it worth your time. Hotels might already have pricing in mind, so stay flexible. Have a contract and read all the fine details before signing a deal. To avoid scams, keep in mind if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

Tip #8 - How to Compete with Mass-Produced Art

There are many companies dedicated to creating and mass-producing art for the world’s needs. How can you compete with that? Position yourself as a convenient and value-adding partner who enhances the guest experience with high-quality, original art. This approach goes back to Elevating your Professionalism, Connecting and Identifying your Market, and Pitching with Confidence. Building your network will be key so that when an opportunity comes up, you are the first to be thought of. The hotel industry is adapting to meet the desire for a more personal unique hotel experience. Many companies are moving away from bulk-ordered generic art. Mass-produced art feels inauthentic. You have a rare opportunity to capture a market share in this industry where personalization is now a value.

Tip #9 - Be Willing to Pivot

If you keep finding a closed door, it’s time to pivot. Overcome by staying persistent in your approach. Try exploring a new medium like sculpture or murals. Try approaching other residential business options entirely like nursing homes, rehab centers, hospitals, corporate long-term housing, and cruise ships. Offer your art to realtors and house stagers. Contact high-performing Airbnb owners and collaborate on renting wall space or offer an art-focused Airbnb experience on their property.

Many hotels have gallery space for rent. Show that you can be a trusted partner by first renting gallery space in a hotel. Create a collection with other area artists and book the show at hotels and lobbies. Join business networks that might be connected to hotels and the hospitality industry. Activities directors at hotels are interested in having a unique hands-on experience for their guests. Suggest an event to draw tourists in hotel doors creating a mutually beneficial relationship such as live painting, workshops, or artists’ talks. Some hotels offer competitions and grants or are interested in a seasonal rotating art display. Another approach is to suggest being an artist in residence or offer to create a temporary exhibit. Consider licensing your work for the textile industry. Try the Milan 100 painting challenge and then use these pieces as marketing samples as drop-off promotions.

Tip #10 - Follow up Like a Professional

Stay in potential hotels, attend their events, and try to get face time with potential buyers. When you go, take pictures, tag, and post. Show that you understand their market because you are part of their market.

Hotels are looking for maintenance-free solutions so offer to check on your installation and maintain your pieces regularly (put this in your contract). Document the installation of your art. Post your experience on social media, and submit your project to get featured in regional magazines, hotel publications, or local news media. Do a Google image search to see if your art is popping up in pictures of the hotel and if so, make hotel decision-makers aware of your reach/success.

Stay connected and send new collections yearly to decision-makers thanking them for their continued business and investment in your artistic journey. Offer a loyalty program for return investors and offer exclusivity to new collections created. Maintain the relationship by offering packages that feature art tours, workshops, or meet-and-greet events with artists. This would not only enrich the guest experience but also incorporate the art into the hotel's range of activities. Negotiate the addition of a QR code, art explanation, and artist bio to be displayed on the side of your artwork to try to capture additional sales and followers.


Getting your foot in the door to a hotel will require tenacity, hard work, and determination. It all starts with believing you belong there. Visualize your art on those walls. Imagine hundreds and thousands of people seeing your art for the first time. Set achievable goals and resolve to become the artist you know you can be.

Still not sure where to start? Take our free course 7 Steps to Achieving a Career in Art or begin your ultimate creative journey by enrolling in Milan Art Institute’s Mastery Program.


Milan Art Institute
Milan Art Institute

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