Despite being a fairly recent innovation, virtual tours have taken off in several industries, especially the real estate and luxury hotel sectors. With guests and customers increasingly relying on the internet in order to research holiday destinations and event venues, it’s no surprise that digital hotel marketing strategies have embraced innovative and expertly-crafted hotel virtual tours as a high-impact marketing tool for increasing bookings and market share.
What is a Hotel Virtual Tour?
A hotel virtual tour is a slight misnomer – it doesn’t always require a VR headset or exclusive technology to view (although you can create it with that in mind). Instead, it is created with specialized cameras and apps that create a 360-degree, interactive photo or video environment for customers to enjoy on their smartphone, computer or tablet. It allows viewers to walk through your hotel premises, viewing rooms, amenities and seeing the views at their own pace and from a first-person viewpoint – just like they would in person. It’s ideal for luxury hotel marketing, as it showcases what you offer in 8k, crystal clear detail.
Why Offer Hotel Virtual Tours?
Hotel marketing strategies are especially well-suited to virtual tours because the product is so visually engaging and focused on creating that wish-you-were-here feeling. Here are just a few benefits of hotel virtual tours, along with great examples that deliver inspiration and tips on how to conduct hotel virtual tours.
#1 – Increase Web Traffic and Bookings
Reports show that hotels that showcase virtual tours on their website see customers spending 5-10 times longer on their website, get 50% more clicks and 87% more views. Perhaps most importantly, 75% of potential customers say virtual tours have a positive impact on their purchasing decision. In fact, West Hotels by Hilton achieved over 250,000 views and an increase in booking by 7% with their virtual tour campaign.
#2 – Support the Customer Journey
Research plays a significant role in the hospitality customer purchasing process, with 81% of people reading reviews and testimonials before committing to a booking and 79% of people reading at least 6-12 reviews before they feel confident in making a decision. Hotel virtual tours give people the chance to feel what it’s like to be in your hotel – a rich, detail orientated experience that shows that your luxury hotel is the perfect option for their vacation or event. The virtual tour for Atlantis Dubai does a great job of this, showcasing amenities that illustrate how every guest experiences 5-star service. Similarly, this simple, elegant take from the Valamar Dubrovnik President Hotel allows you to experience the offering of this hotel in a captivating yet detailed way.
#3 – Increase Your Hotel Marketing Strategy Reach
These interactive tours can be shared on your website and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube), they can be broken down into sections for different audiences or frozen into interactive photos. This makes them an effective means to boost your SEO, reach new audiences and engage with your customers. This virtual tour from the Maldives does a great job of showcasing a specific activity available to guests, reaching audiences who may not be considering the Maldives but are attracted by a love of scuba diving, pristine marine environments, and the luxury of island life.
#4 – Promotes Engagement with Customers and Guests
Virtual tours are also a great way to reach more people and show them exactly what your hotel offers in the most in-person way possible without a physical visit, which is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. People are changing their travel behaviours, looking for an escape and are hungry for a safe, luxurious haven.
Standard professional photography is always good, but virtual tours take this experience to a new level by letting viewers engage with your hotel and amenities, build excitement and anticipation, and conduct detailed research on your offering – all from the comfort of their own home.
The virtual tour of the Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa achieves this with stunning effect, with a personalized introduction from the manager instantly creating a welcoming and engaging environment for visitors.
It’s Time to Take Your Hotel Marketing into the World of VR
With the world of luxury and independent hotel marketing more competitive than ever, hotel virtual tours are cost-effective and versatile marketing products that deliver critical, bottom-line results. If your hotel marketing strategies are focused on generating more bookings, reaching a wider audience and generating high-quality digital traffic while supporting an exclusive brand and offering, then virtual tours are the right tool for the job.