You’ve seen it in the gaming industry already (as well as the adult entertainment side). That iconic song by Jamiroqua is no longer a poetic concept. Virtual Reality has hit the playing field; and it’s already turning into virtual insanity.
Businesses from all over the world are scrambling to get their claim on a great customer experience for their target market, via the magic of Virtual Reality (V.R).
More and more leaders in the hospitality industry are getting in on the trend, and are spending the money, to ensure that their customers know what it’s like to be with them right from their own homes.
But what is Virtual Reality?
The term “Virtual Reality” refers to the usage of complex equipment and software to create a synthetic or 3D environment in which people can interact with and observe.
These pieces of machinery involve goggles that allow users to explore these environments, and allow them the freedom of their own perspective, with 360-degree optimization. Audio equipment is also there to provide ambient sounds, and corresponding audio reactions, to events taking place in these environments.
On top of that, users may also interact with objects (and people) in these environments through joysticks or special gloves that simulate real hands in these worlds. If your equipment is powerful enough, these 3D environments also respond to you in the forms of haptic feedback!
Why use Virtual Reality in the Hotel Industry?
From the explanation above, it may look like gaming and entertainment could be the most obvious and immediate applications of this technology but, in the right business minds, virtual reality doesn’t have to be just a game.
Imagine being able to show your potential guests around the lobby of your hotel, while they are miles away from you. What if you could show your customer all your rooms so that they can make up their minds before planning their vacations? With V.R. this is now possible!
Now, the hotel industry isn’t just capable of sending discounts, coupons and greetings to their target market. Now, the hotel industry can send experiences, which their customers can savor long before they book anything! Doesn’t that scream marketing genius?
Virtual Reality Applications
With the right imagination V.R. has many applications, which can be applied by the hotel industry; you just have to be creative enough to identify where to use it, to guarantee a good viewer experience resulting in customer satisfaction and loyalty. Fortunately, plenty of industry leaders are finding creative ways to incorporate V.R. into their approaches.
The Travel Experience
What better way to bring the magic of your locality right to the screen (and eyes) of your customer? In today’s market, it isn’t enough to describe your hotel as being home to a breathtaking view of the ocean, or central to the festivities of the locals. Today, you’ve got to bring that very experience to the customer before they choose you. With V.R. that is now possible and many of the big players, such as the Shangri-La and Marriot Hotel Chains are already applying this (Welcome to the Future of Hotels Marriot Hotels).
How about taking your customer to the best view in the house? What if your best-selling point is a picturesque scene, which sits atop a restored lighthouse right at the end of the nearby peninsula? What if your money-maker is access to well-known events celebrating local life and diversity? What if your focus is in trying to promote the beauty of your natural beaches and rock formations?
Static pictures can help with such promotion, but what if you could really bring that experience to your customer’s doorstep? Better yet, what if you could bring that experience right to their bedroom where they’re vulnerable and comfortable? Wouldn’t you want to be associated with these feelings as a connoisseur of customer satisfaction?
With the right program, you can send these experiences to your prospective customers. Imagine taking them to where they want to go, giving them the freedom to take in the sights and sounds of your place, capturing their interests. If that isn’t the best way to entice people to visit you, what is?
The Philippine Department of Tourism utilised this very technology in their 2016 campaign, in London UK (view here). Offering Virtual Reality Pods to London commuters and tourists, which showcased some of the Philippine’s famous tourist spots. This resulted in a lot of interest from people determined to visit having seen, in 3D, the beauty of the country.
The Hotel Tour
If you’re better off talking about your own hotel rather than relying on just the sights and sounds, that works too! Through V.R. you can take guests on a virtual, and guided, tour of your property!
You can walk them through your lobby and show them around. You could show your guests the best that you have to offer! Why not take them through to your infinity pool,which gives them a front-row seat of the sunset or the city skyline? Why not show them your brand-new furnishings and rustic architecture? Or take them for a walk along your beautiful hallways and elegant rooms? How about a drink at your five-star restaurant? Better yet, why not show your guests the highlights of the nightlife at the hotel? Do you have local acts and entertainers that bring in the crowds? Let them see a preview of it!
With V.R. these experiences are now streamable and downloadable events, which you can use as marketing materials to push your business into the minds of your customers.
V.R. isn’t just applicable as good bait for your market. In fact, this technology can be used to enhance the experiences of people that are already in your rooms!
Some hotels, such as the Marriot and Best Western chain hotels, are already starting to provide V.R. entertainment for their guests. V.R. kits are available to their guests who want to engage in games, experiences and other presentations available through this technology!
This is great for customers who are looking for something specific for their stay. Imagine guests willing being cooped up in one of your hotel rooms, with a good V.R. experience, while ordering room service from your restaurant or bar. How about plastering your guests to their beds with some good V.R. concerts or movies, so that they associate your hotel with a comfortable stay?
Take note though, V.R. applications in the hotel industry encompass, but are not limited to, these avenues. It really depends on how you look at the situation. With all that being said, one thing is for certain; the trend is already here. It’s happening and it will take over the market; with or without you.