Hotels are more likely to attract and retain guests when they focus their marketing efforts on what makes their property special.
Getting families to splurge on a vacation can be a challenge for destination marketers. Families are on budgets, and schedules can make it difficult to commit to travel purchases.
These challenges can be overcome, if marketers utilize the right tools and tactics to attract families to a destination, and allow potential vacationers to see, hear, and even feel all the things a destination has to offer, and help families overcome their travel-related trepidation. With the power of 360-degree immersive content, you can increase your destination’s influence on family-focused tourism. I’ve outlined six actionable ways that 360-degree technology can help your destination marketing organization transform families from viewers to visitors.
1. Fill in the gaps of their expectations
Families may not know what to expect on their first visit to a destination. Going on a vacation is an event families eagerly anticipate, so they want to make sure they make the right choices when planning. Parents with young children will want to be sure there are places for kids to play where they can also keep an eye on them. Those with infants will need to be assured that there are nursing and changing facilities, while families with grandparents may need to confirm that the destination is easy to navigate and the attractions are wheelchair accessible. VR can help show them what they can look forward to, what they can expect, and help validate the purchase.
2. Offer a window to their emotions, not their wallet
360-degree technology can get hesitant purchasers to open up and remove the emotional spending barrier by trying something new and fun right then and there. Get them in the vacationing mood when it’s the off-season, or help them prepare for future travel. Show them how exciting it will be instead of overwhelming them with the focus of the price.
VR can help show families what they can look forward to, what they can expect, and validate the purchase.
3. Reduce travel worries and get practical
Let consumers see their destination in real-time. Give your customers control of where they want to go and what they’d like to see. For example, any parents wondering how their family would navigate the historic and cultural attractions of Philadelphia can access Visit Philadelphia‘s VR experience (see below) to feel as if they’re physically seeing the Liberty Bell, exploring the Reading Terminal Market, biking along the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, or running up the “Rocky steps” of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
4. Target your demographic
Ensure your message speaks to the parents you’re aiming to attract. For example, Visit West Hollywood targeted younger travelers with its VR experience that introduces potential visitors to a local chef, mixologist, and organizer of WeHo Dodgeball. The experience also introduces viewers to the Taylors, who have lived in the area for 15 years and have two children, showing families that West Hollywood is a destination that’s welcoming to those traveling with kids.
5. Let them experience what it’s like to be a local
Enable the family to see what it’s like to visit the destination and explore its attractions ahead of time. Give them a tour of attractions and get an insider’s view of some under-the-radar hot spots. Seeing destination restaurants, bars, breweries, shops, and locals-only hangouts beforehand is proven to prime the senses, which often leads to real-life purchasing.
6. Invest in the future of your company
The promise of the VR experience can transition website visitors into interested consumers who will visit your destination. VR can also help cross-sell future vacation packages and experiences and lead to future business growth.
Families seeking to explore destinations are less likely to be engaged by a promotional offer than by an experience, since the latter is more emotional and memorable. For these reasons, 360-degree content can be used to increase customer engagement and lead prospects further down the funnel. Most importantly, VR can help your DMO strategy succeed in the rapidly changing landscape of the hospitality and destination marketing industry.
For more travel ideas, download our free eBook, the Virtual Reality Playbook.