How can VR Improve Guest Experience?

Virtual reality (VR) is predicted to become a $150 billion industry by 2020, which will bring a large number of real world experience benefits to the industry. Virtual reality is beginning to revolutionize brands via marketing strategies, bringing a cutting edge way to engage with customers as both a marketing and sales tool.

One sector that has realized the potential of virtual reality both as a marketing and sales tool is the hospitality industry. VR can provide a deeply immersive experience of a resort or hotel to inspire and enhance customers’ experiences and nowadays hotels are using VR as a sales tool to sell rooms or hotel packages. When selling packages or rooms, brochures or promo videos can be discarded and VR can take over.

A VR presentation or experience can provide a personalized and detailed tour of a resort, hotel, suites, rooms, hotel features and different areas of hotels or resorts. This can give customers a sense of being at the location, from anywhere in the world, which can give them a real feeling of what their vacation or stay could be like.

In the future, VR will allow hotels to share videos while promoting destinations on mobile applications, social media, websites and desktop computers. In addition to promotional videos, these VR videos could be used in a large number of areas within the hotel or resort.

How can hotels utilize VR?

Hotels can use VR to demonstrate or sell a vacation to customers. They can also use VR to promote a destination using videos of the resort, local attractions, rides, amenities, room upgrades or transportation. These videos can transport customers to new places and let them discover their next vacation for themselves in a way which is closer to the real experience than traditional marketing.

VR images can already be taken on smart phones via Facebook, these images are proving very powerful, realistic and to scale. Videos and images in VR are the future: hotels will no longer be required to print brochures or have images on their websites, instead they can upload interactive videos and use VR booths at fairs, shows, in press releases and at other events.

Another sector of hotels that will be revolutionized by VR is concierge services, instead of a concierge manning the desk a VR machine can be used with an interactive concierge. Guides to all trips, local amenities, attractions and even maps can be tried and tested via video before being purchased.

Hotel spas can utilize this tool to give customers a calming experience while they are waiting for their treatment or through meditation (such as transportation to a relaxing beach or destination of the user’s choice). VR can also be used as a form of entertainment including interactive video games or theatres, while also becoming an information point for marketing and providing users with a unique experience.

Several hotels have already implemented VR

• Best Western has implemented a VR experience in a small number of their hotels by using 1.7 million unique photos.

• Radisson Hotel Group has added VR virtual tours to its website and since adding these videos they have seen a 135% increase in their online sales revenue. They believe that VR videos are the key to increasing online sales. They suggested that people are 10 times more likely to book a room with a VR tour than one without and believe it is 92% essential in the customers decision making process.

• Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel is recognizing the potential of VR. The hotel’s Director of Marketing, Dianna Pepe, stated “we are in the process right now of creating our VR webpage experience.”

• The St Giles Hotel has filmed and uploaded VR videos to its website.

• Alexander Zhu from Intercontinental Hotel Group in China believes that VR will provide the opportunity to elevate guests’ overall hotel experience.

• Marriott International has made investments to create a 4D VR experience by marketing the Marriott Teleporter, which is allowing guests to transport from London to Maui in less than 90 seconds (or to any other destination of the user’s choice around the world). This collaboration with Samsung is allowing guests to choose their next destination whilst on their current one.

The possibilities of VR usage in hotels is endless, the possibilities are only limited by creativity and imagination. In the future guests could be able to have a full restaurant experienced no VR, seeing menus and translating them. VR could even be used to show now and then images. For example on a tour around Paris users could use the VR machine to view how the Eiffel Tower or other monuments looked 50 years ago or even over 100 years ago. The possibilities are endless!

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Anny Wooldridge
Travel writer, journalist, editor and blogger. Anny has travelled to 28 countries, worked in Greece, France, America and Colombia. She created her blog Anny’s Adventures to help people discover the beauty of Colombia and other countries around the world.

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