Virtual Hotel

Attracting new guests is an ongoing challenge. Where a polished web site and engaging social media presence were once powerful tools to help your brand get noticed, now these features are considered status quo—guests expect them, they aren’t dazzled by them.

But with each advance in technology comes a new opportunity to showcase your hotel in a new, eye-catching way. One of these new trends that’s gaining buzz is a virtual hotel tour. Through virtual reality (VR) tools, potential guests can tour hotels in the most immersive way possible.

But if you’re not yet familiar with the concept, a virtual hotel tour’s benefits might not be apparent. Here’s what you need to know about virtual tours, and how they can be used as a powerful marketing tool for your hotels.

What is a Virtual Tour?

A virtual tour of your hotel goes beyond simple two-dimensional photography. Using specialized cameras and software, tour designers like YouVisit capture 360-degree images of a space, giving the viewer a uniquely immersive experience.

Virtual tours can be viewed with VR headsets like the forthcoming Oculus Rift, allowing the user to shift perspective with a move of his or her head. A headset isn’t a requirement, however – simplified tours can be taken through your web browser.

The Benefits of a Virtual Tour

Virtual tours offer a number of benefits beyond traditional marketing methods, including:

  • Saving your Guests’ Time. While this also holds true for individual guests, a time saver is particularly attractive to corporate guests or convention organizers, who can view everything you have to offer before booking a trip.
  • Reaching a Larger Audience. Studies have indicated that 65 percent of all travel bookings are researched online. As potential guests are using your digital presence to determine if your hotel is the right pick for their stay, adding eye-catching content to your online platform is essential to getting your message across.
  • Distinguishing propert. While mobile apps and social media platforms have become the norm, virtual tours have yet to become widespread. Offering potential guests something new and exciting works to make hotels stand out from the crowd. According to the Pew Internet Life Study, a site with a 360-degree virtual tour and interactive media will receive 40 percent more views than a competitor’s site that is lacking media.
  • Keeping users on site longer. Internet traffic isn’t just about clicks—the amount of time a guest spends on a site is also important. Content that holds people’s attention makes a brand more likely to stick in their memory when they make their final decision.

Increased Bookings and ROI

To use a real-world example, Radisson has maintained statistics on how virtual tours have impacted their bottom line, showing:

  • Hotels with a virtual tour achieved 135 percent increase in online revenue compared to those without
  • ROI per hotel equaled less than four weeks
  • Average views per month: 2,000
  • Conversion rate: 4 percent (only including bookings made through the virtual tour page, not including those viewing the tour and then booking via telephone)

A virtual hotel tour can be a powerful addition to hotelier’s marketing toolbox, providing a way to distinguish their brand from the competition. And as guests continue to make more and more of their purchasing decisions online, supplying them with valuable, visual content might make their decision easier.