While many of the applications of modern virtual reality are entertainment-based, businesses are increasingly getting to grips with VR’s potential as a marketing tool, delivering important information to potential customers in a way they can actually experience, and stimulating multiple senses in the process.
Within the hospitality industry, VR has become particularly important, because of the amount of information the average customer needs before they will actually book a hotel room. Rather than reading through descriptions, which may or may not be trustworthy, it offers customers the chance to experience things for themselves.
For example, this potentially allows customers to experience a virtual recreation of a room within a hotel, or take a look at one of the nearby attractions. Essentially, this allows the hotel industry to benefit from the type of ‘try before you buy’ marketing that has been commonplace within the food industry for decades.
Of course, the practical uses for virtual reality technology do not stop when the customer has booked a hotel room. Indeed, those operating within hospitality management can continue to use VR to deliver information and allow customers to experience nearby attractions once they have arrived, adding to the hotel experience itself.
Examples of How to Use Virtual Reality Within the Hospitality Industry
The full potential of virtual reality within the hotel industry is only recently being recognised. Nevertheless, three of the best current uses of the technology are outlined below:
1. Virtual Travel Experiences
One of the most common uses of virtual reality in the hospitality sector so far has been the creation of virtual travel experiences, using 360 degree video technology. Through this, users can experience a virtual recreation of different aspects of travel, from the flight, to arrival, to some of the key sights.
Three examples of this can be seen below. The first is a video showing how the basic process works, and showing people who are wearing VR headsets and experiencing a virtual tour. Meanwhile, the second and third examples are 360 degree videos, which can be viewed with VR glasses or a Google Cardboard for a more immersive experience.
2. Virtual Hotel Tours
Another common use of virtual reality technology within the hotel industry are virtual reality hotel tours. These tours can be made available on hotel websites, allowing guests or potential guests to take a look at their hotel room, or other parts of the hotel, before they book or before they arrive.
While these tours are best experienced with a VR headset, they can also potentially be made available to those without access to a headset on social media sites like Facebook, using its 360 video technology.
The hospitality and travel industry has realized the potential of virtual reality to attract guests, increase online revenue and generate more bookings. One way hotels are embracing this technology is with virtual tours. These interactive tours use virtual reality to give prospective guests an immersive, 360-degree walkthrough so they can explore the hotel before booking.
Top Three Benefits of Creating Virtual Tours for Potential Guests
When you incorporate virtual tour and interactive media into your hotel marketing campaign, you can enjoy these benefits:
1. Increased Bookings
Virtual tours make your website appealing and highlight captivating aspects of your hotel, which helps increase traffic. With a high-quality virtual tour and straightforward booking process, more customers will be motivated to make direct bookings with your hotel. You can even add direct calls-to-action at strategic points in the tour that lead to the booking page.
Interactive media also helps visitors stay hooked on your website for longer periods of time. This ensures they’ll continue browsing your site to learn more about your hotel and make a direct booking.
2. Long-Lasting First Impression
First impressions matter. If they’re positive, your guests will likely remember you for a long time. An engaging, interactive virtual tour helps grab your audience’s attention and create a positive first impression. With eye-catching features and media in the tour, your hotel will be more memorable to potential guests.
3. Interactive Experiences
Virtual tours and interactive media give your guests control over their experience. Every visitor has unique needs, and can interact with the media by zooming in or panning up, down, left and right. Customers love having the freedom to choose what to view.