Technology is changing everything we do, and in a world where social distancing is becoming the norm, companies are learning what it means to do business remotely. For the hospitality industry, this means finding new ways to engage with guests regardless of location and time.
Augmented by virtual reality, virtual hotel tours give potential guests an interactive view of all there is to love about a property without asking them to leave home. They are useful both for people looking for a venue for a wedding or other event, and for guests simply looking to book a stay. Learn about the inner workings of virtual hotel tours and why more travelers are embracing these 3D walkthroughs.
Benefits of Virtual Tours
Before the COVID-19 pandemic made social distancing and isolation a necessity, hospitality industry insiders were beginning to embrace virtual tours as a cost-saving measure that helped guests see amenities on their own time. These virtual visits have grown exponentially in the past few years. According to data compiled by Google Trends, virtual hotel tours are growing even more rapidly in the wake of the global pandemic, even as the hospitality industry has effectively been put on pause.
The biggest benefit of a virtual hotel tour is the fact that travelers can view a property without booking a flight or making a road trip. Viewing everything the hotel offers in a 3D virtual environment allows would-be guests to decide if a property appeals to them. Being able to go for a tour remotely also allows potential visitors the opportunity to compare different properties. Before this technology, consumers often had to take a leap of faith and rely on photos and online reviews to assess a property.
Another benefit of virtual tours is the savings they can yield. For hotel owners and managers, virtual tours eliminate the need to hire and schedule personnel specifically to conduct tours. While the initial cost of producing a virtual tour may seem high, this money only needs to be spent once. Compared to ongoing payroll costs, virtual tours just make sense for most properties.
Additionally, virtual tours allow visitors to get an accurate look at the hotel that is more interactive than still photos on a website—and so they are a powerful marketing tool. The hotel industry is competitive, and those who offer virtual tours communicate to their guests that they care about making things easier and are willing to invest in the latest technology.
Besides, people who shop and book online are demanding this technology. An Adobe survey revealed that 92% of internet users reported that the ability to see a 360-degree photo of what they are purchasing is one of the most essential features for online shopping.
How Are Virtual Tours Produced?
Virtual tours are designed to provide a realistic view that helps potential visitors connect with the property they are viewing. Virtual tours take a lot of technological know-how to produce, but the best in this industry understand that offering a quality digital tool can increase bookings.
Virtual tour producers produce high-resolution, interactive videos that highlight everything there is to love about a property—from the room to the pool and beyond. Guests can literally walk through the entire property, choosing which way they want to go. In addition, many of the top VR companies produce tours that include a variety of marketing tools that allow consumers to easily go from viewing the property to booking a room or contacting the property for more information.
Virtual tour technology utilizes 360-degree camera equipment that gives viewers an experience that rivals an in-person tour. Viewers can even expect to see what it looks like inside the pool—VR tour producers can use waterproof cameras to capture the experience of being underwater. For hotels that offer views of unique local features and landmarks, expect to see crystal-clear views captured by drones or other mobile cameras.
First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions
Hotels that offer virtual tours take pride in their brand reputation and strive to make a good first impression on guests. Virtual tours are also more effective at winning consumers’ trust than still photos.
Those who view hotels in a virtual environment are more likely to spend a lot of time exploring all the property has to offer, and data shows that hospitality websites with virtual tours have a lower bounce rate versus sites with only photos. The best virtual tours showcase both property amenities and local features to give potential visitors a well-rounded visual preview of their stay.
Brand awareness is a major benefit for hotel owners, and offering virtual tours is a way to enhance it. Even for people who are not actively planning a trip, a professionally produced virtual tour can make a memorable impression on casual browsers who may later remember the property when they go to book a trip.
Virtual tours are an excellent way for hotel owners to connect to potential visitors who want to view a property at their leisure. For viewers, looking at a property in 3D from a smartphone, laptop, or tablet is the ultimate in convenience; for hotels, offering a virtual tour is an effective form of marketing. If you own or operate a hotel, there’s no reason you shouldn’t at least consider creating a virtual tour of your property.