Virtual reality, or VR for short, is one of the biggest emerging technology trends and the business world is gradually coming to terms with the various opportunities it provides. For those in the hospitality industry, virtual reality has particular appeal, because it can digitally transport potential customers to a hotel or travel destination.
In this article, you learn various ways hotels can leverage virtual reality to boost business results.
Virtual reality is a computer technology, which utilises images, sounds and physical sensations to make users feel as though they are physically present in a virtual world. Virtual reality technology typically makes use of VR headsets and this equipment enables users to look around and immerse themselves in a digital environment.
The concept of virtual reality has actually existed, in some form, since the 1930s, but high-quality virtual reality headsets have only become a mainstream consumer product in more recent times, due in large part to increased investment from the likes of Google, Facebook and Samsung.
While many of the applications of modern virtual reality are entertainment-based, businesses are increasingly getting to grips with VRs potential as a marketing tool, delivering important information to potential customers in a way they can actually experience, and stimulating multiple senses in the process.
Within the hospitality industry, VR has become particularly important, because of the amount of information the average customer needs before they will actually book a hotel room. Rather than reading through descriptions, which may or may not be trustworthy, it offers customers the chance to experience things for themselves.
For example, this potentially allows customers to experience a virtual recreation of a room within a hotel, or take a look at one of the nearby attractions. Essentially, this allows the hotel industry to benefit from the type of try before you buy marketing that has been commonplace within the food industry for decades.
Of course, the practical uses for virtual reality technology do not stop when the customer has booked a hotel room. Indeed, those within the hospitality industry can continue to use VR to deliver information and allow customers to experience nearby attractions once they have arrived, adding to the hotel experience itself.
The full potential of virtual reality within the hotel industry is only recently being recognised. Nevertheless, three of the best current uses of the technology are outlined below:
One of the most common uses of virtual reality in the hospitality industry so far has been the creation of virtual travel experiences, using 360 degree video technology. Through this, users can experience a virtual recreation of different aspects of travel, from the flight, to arrival, to some of the key sights.
Three examples of this can be seen below. The first is a video showing how the basic process works, and showing people who are wearing VR headsets and experiencing a virtual tour. Meanwhile, the second and third examples are 360 degree videos, which can be viewed with VR glasses or a Google Cardboard for a more immersive experience.
Example #1: A Virtual Honeymoon to London and Hawaii
Example #2: Visit Hamilton Island in 360 Virtual Reality with QantasBest viewed with VR glasses or a Google Cardboard
Example #3: Maldives VR 360 4K VideoBest viewed with VR glasses or a Google Cardboard
Another common use of virtual reality technology within the hotel industry is for virtual hotel tours. These tours can be made available on hotel websites, allowing guests or potential guests to take a look at their hotel room, or other parts of the hotel, before they book or before they arrive.
While these tours are best experienced with a VR headset, they can also potentially be made available to those without access to a headset on social media sites like Facebook, using its 360 degree video technology.
Example: Atlantis Dubai Virtual Tour VR 360Best viewed with VR glasses or a Google Cardboard
Finally, one of the more interesting uses of VR technology in recent times has been the creation of virtual reality booking processes. This has recently been put into action by companies like Amadeus, allowing customers to look for flights, compare hotel prices and book rooms through a virtual reality headset.
The potential for this has not yet been fully explored, but it is easy to see how this VR booking process can allow customers to explore virtual hotel rooms, experience local sights and book a room seamlessly.
Virtual Reality travel search and booking experience
Would you like to learn more about other digital technologies which can benefit your business? Have also a look at the articles How Augmented Reality is Transforming the Hospitality Industry and Using Artificial Intelligence in the Hospitality Industry.
With digital technology continuously evolving, it should come as little surprise that its applications within the travel and hospitality industry evolve too. In the following articles you find the most innovating digital trends in the hospitality industry.
How Virtual Reality (VR) can Enrich the Hospitality Industry