How can 360-degree VR videos help hotels?
I explained in one of my previous posts how VR is going to be such an important technology in hotels, and it’s exhilarating to see that it is turning into reality so soon. The reason I’m excited about is not just because it is an amazing piece of technology which will make the guest’s stay more enjoyable, but also because it will be a huge marketing tool for hoteliers like you.
VR videos or 360 degree videos are now easier to make, and as costs come down a number of hotels are investing in it. I feel the full effect is best enjoyed on a VR headset, but watching them on desktops and smartphones is impressive as well. Come to think of it, the immersive experience offered by a VR video is perfect for a hotel’s marketing efforts. Let me tell you about some advantages.
- Create a strong emotional connect
The purpose of travel is to go someplace foreign and exotic. People want to be transported to another place and time. And VR lets you do that (almost). You won’t just show your hotel, you will let your guests experience it. In another one of my blogs I had said, “A picture speaks a thousand words, a video; millions!” Adding to that, a VR video speaks as many words as sand on a beach.
- Increase visitor’s confidence
It is possible to lie with photos and normal videos. But a VR camera doesn’t lie, and that’s a good thing for you. Since VR shows every single angle of a scene, your potential guests will book with greater confidence.
- Sell your USP
I ask this question from almost every hotelier I meet – “What makes your hotel different from countless others?” I get lots of wonderful answers, but it is disappointing to see their Unique Selling Point not being marketed properly.
With VR videos, it’s easier to differentiate your hotel’s features from others. Offer them a chance to wander in your lounge, to sit by the poolside, and to explore your famed restaurants. The only thing left will be to actually taste the dishes and swim in the pool, and for that your guests will book with you.
Tips for VR
- Show-off the best features
Only once you have decided what areas or features to show, you can start working on content and production. In images and videos, there is some scope of hiding some unattractive details. But since that is not possible in VR videos, make sure you show the best parts of your hotel.
Also, I strongly feel you should think beyond the physical property. If it is placed in a great location, why not create a story around that? After all it’s all about the experience.
Watch this video by Vidanta, a chain of resorts in Mexico, to know what I’m talking about: https://youtu.be/2tDVd5O7G48
It used VR to promote its sprawling range of properties, and it proved more effective than traditional marketing campaigns.
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts also do great 360 degree videos, transporting visitors to places like the top of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa – http://www.shangri-la.com/vr/en/index.htm
- Keep costs in mind
While much cheaper than before, VR video production still involves a lot of money. It also varies according to the quality of the video. But keep in mind that any commercial video production requires a similar amount of money. Since you can use individual frames for separate 360 photos, there is also higher return.
It’s also a great idea to keep VR headsets on the property to let guests indulge in the experience. There are plenty of affordable options, like the Google Cardboard.
If your budget allows it, I strongly recommend spending on VR videos.
- Go social
Social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube have been supporting 360 degree videos for a while now. Tourism pages like Lufthansa and Tourism Australia launched a series of highly engaging videos on Facebook. For example, this video by Tourism Australia garnered over 30 lakh views – https://goo.gl/zNZ8Vu
With this wonderful opportunity to reach millions of people through social media, creating VR videos is even more exciting now. What are you waiting for?
Interest in VR video is at an all-time high as technology advances and becomes more accessible. Not just high-end luxury brands, smaller chains can also keep up in the race. If used the right way, it can both increase your social media engagement, and drive your direct bookings. The key lies in using it creatively, while the competition is still low.
For other trending news, topics, and tips to help your business, you can follow the #AskAviArya show. Click on this link and watch all my latest episodes – https://goo.gl/EVkePp