Jason Mattis

Hotels, Resorts, & Virtual Reality

Global use of both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) has been on the rise for years. In fact, between 2020 and 2022 alone, the number of VR users (both with and without headsets) worldwide grew from 50.2 million to 64 million.

If your hotel or resort is looking to take its marketing to the next level, then using virtual reality to showcase all that your property has to offer is a sensible option. After all, there are many ways in which your brand and its target audience can benefit from great VR content. We're covering those below—as well as some tips and best practices for introducing virtual reality to your marketing campaign.

What Does VR Look Like for Hotels and Resorts, Anyway?

The possibilities are limitless when it comes to the potential applications for VR in the hotel and resort industry. Many properties, for example, use 360º video tours as a means of showing potential customers around a property before they book. Others may take this a step further by offering live video walk-throughs with a staff member readily available to host and answer questions as the viewer explores the property itself.

With other innovations, such as volumetric video, it is even possible to digitize real people into virtual environments. This is done by capturing a three-dimensional video of a person and "placing" that person into a 3D or 360° environment. This type of technology can be used in the hotel/resort industry to elevate the experience of a 360° tour, bringing these encounters to life with real tour guides.

At the end of the day, VR content can be enjoyed regardless of whether the viewer has a VR headset or not—though using a headset does provide a more realistic and immersive experience.

Benefits of Virtual Reality for Hotels and Resorts

So, what does your hotel or resort have to gain from creating quality VR content?

1. Offer an Immersive Experience

Let's face it. Travelers (like the ones you welcome at your property) are all about the experience. Virtual reality meshes well with this idea because, by its very nature, VR allows your potential hotel guests to experience your hotel before they secure their booking. This marketing method is able to deliver an immersive experience that photos and traditional videos simply cannot.

2. Stand Out Among the Competition

If you're not using virtual reality to market your property, there's a good chance your competitors are (or will be in the near future). Stay ahead of the competition and gain an advantage by getting involved with VR marketing now. Offering quality VR content that properly showcases what makes your hotel stand out could be the difference between a traveler booking with your resort or giving a competing resort their business.

3. Boost Your Bookings

If you're looking to increase direct bookings to your property, virtual reality is the way to go. This is especially true when you consider the difficulty that many hotels/resorts face obtaining direct bookings due to the popularity of third-party travel sites. However, if an immersive VR experience is offered on your hotel website and potential customers have the option to book seamlessly from the same location after they view your VR content, this can drastically boost your direct bookings. Meanwhile, your property will generate more revenue because you'll be reducing your commissions paid out to third-party travel websites.

4. Encourage and Increase Upselling

In addition to attracting more direct bookings at your property, VR content can also increase your ability to upsell. With VR content that clearly showcases and demonstrates some of your property's available upgrades and add-ons, potential customers can more easily see the benefits of adding these upgrades to their own bookings. As a result, they may be more likely to purchase these upgrades for themselves.

You might, for example, offer VR content that highlights the differences between a hotel room with a standard view and one with a view of the sweeping city skyline. You might also offer VR content that allows potential customers to see the differences in room sizes and layouts available.

5. Improve Your Marketing Reach

Last but not least, VR content is a great way to boost your marketing reach to areas of the web that can be difficult to infiltrate with photos and text descriptions alone. Specifically, VR video content invites sharing across social media platforms. The great thing about this is that when somebody stumbles across your video content on their social media feed, they may not currently be in the market to travel or book a stay at a resort. However, once they see the content for themselves and feel immersed in the experience of staying on your property, they might become a new customer right then and there.

Ideas and Best Practices for Virtual Hotel Tours

Now that you see how your property can benefit from offering VR tours and other VR content as part of your marketing plan, there are some tips and best practices to keep in mind as you develop your strategy.

Offer a Comprehensive Property Tour

One of the best ways to showcase what your property has to offer is to create a comprehensive video walk-through tour of your hotel or resort. From your viewer's perspective, walk them through the entire process of arriving at the hotel, getting checked in, arriving at their room, and then taking a look at the facilities. This is your opportunity to highlight all the incredible amenities that set your property apart from others, whether it be the beautiful decor, the incredible dining, or the breathtaking views.

Provide a Behind-the-Scenes Experience

Another component to consider including in your VR content is that of a behind-the-scenes experience. Show your audience around the state-of-the-art kitchen in your restaurant, or showcase what the set-up process looks like for a meeting or event at your property. Offering VR content of these inner workings is a great way to position your customers as insiders themselves, which can encourage bookings and improve your brand perception.

Show Off Your Team and Customer Service

Virtual reality also poses a great opportunity to showcase your property's amazing team and the unrivaled customer service that it has to offer. As you create a video tour of your property, for example, be sure to have various team members stop and "greet" the viewer throughout. From the valet and the front desk host to the hotel chef and housekeeping staff, getting to "meet" these team members first-hand can make all the difference. This can also help potential customers experience the kind of service they can expect once they arrive at your property.

Provide Insider Travel Tips

You can add even more value to your VR content by offering some insider travel tips as part of your marketing. For example, if one of the selling points of your hotel is its proximity to local attractions, you might showcase this by creating a VR video that actually takes the potential customer on a walk from the front doors of the hotel to nearby locations. A team member could even "tag along," providing local insights and further recommendations.

Elevate Your Marketing With VR

Virtual reality is no longer the way of the future because the future is here and now. Successful hotel and resort brands are using VR to show off their unique features, boost bookings, and improve the customer experience. If your brand is serious about setting itself apart from the competition, now is a great time to put these tips into practice and get started with a comprehensive VR marketing strategy.

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