Every property has its own unique charm or remarkable history that sets it apart. But that distinguishing story can get lost in a hotel’s messaging, as marketers compete on price or promote special offers. But properties are more likely to attract and retain guests when they focus their marketing efforts on what makes their property special—the memorable experiences or one-of-a-kind amenities that keep guests coming back.
One of the best ways for a hotel to stand out is with interactive 360 media. Instead of providing prospective guests with a traditional brochure or promotional photos, a VR experience can deliver a more impactful, personalized tour of a hotel and its most interesting features. For example, YouVisit’s Aria platform allows properties to incorporate existing 2D content (like photos and videos) and place them in an engaging 360 environment—which boosts marketing ROI.
Here’s my list of the top things your marketing team can do to put the special aspects of your hotel or resort front and center.
Enable them to explore nearby attractions
VR experiences are one of the most effective ways to communicate the value of the attractions at your hotel or resort, making it clear to viewers exactly what makes your property distinct. A 360-degree video of the hotel’s poolside or beachfront will make your guests feel like they’re already enjoying the relaxing spaces at the resort.
An immersive tour of some historical spaces or on-site art, accompanied by narration or text that explains the significance of your particular features, will help convey the property’s uniqueness. Interactive videos can allow viewers to better appreciate design details and the specific spaces of the hotel, too.
For example, the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel allows viewers to experience the view from the Empire Suite or a toast at the Thread Bar Lounge. 360 media can also give viewers the experience of touring off-site attractions that would further enhance their stay. The realism of VR will excite your guests, and motivate their desire to book a stay.
Instead of providing prospective guests with a traditional brochure or promotional photos, a VR experience can deliver a more impactful, personalized tour of a hotel and its most interesting features.
Show off your dining options
The adage that one should “show, don’t tell” is especially true when it comes to your hotel’s dining options. Hoteliers can create 360-degree videos of their restaurants to show off the space, complete with helpful copy that describes the menu and signature dishes. This is what Mexico’s Grand Velas resort did with its Sen Lin Restaurant. The tour walks the potential guest through the unique backstory of the Sen Lin, and enables guests to explore the space for themselves.
Even better, show the dishes and drinks themselves, as the Hilton Waikiki Beach did with its M.A.C. 24/7 restaurant. The tour gives viewers the chance to see its famed “Pancake Challenge” up close, while in the virtual restaurant, bar, and living room dining area, giving viewers the sense of actually being in the space. Though VR can’t let customers smell and taste the food itself (yet), it does offer the closest thing to experiencing a property’s unique food and beverage offerings.
Showcase your people
What really sets a hotel stay apart is the people who work there. According to Gallup, guests who feel that employees truly care about their well-being are more likely to return to the property. VR is a terrific way to convey this human element of your property. A hotel marketer can tap the general manager or a concierge to “welcome” viewers to the property and guide them through the various rooms and spaces. Even better, create a series of immersive experiences related to several of the colorful characters on staff, similar to what Visit West Hollywood did, using the stories and interactive videos to showcase the wider offerings of the destination.
Virtual reality allows hotel marketers to truly convey what it is that makes their property unique, using interactive tools to excite your potential guests and inspire them to book.
For more information, download our Virtual Reality Travel eBook, which shows you how to improve the customer experience and increase bookings.
Alex Daniel is a travel writer and content strategist living in Brooklyn.