Hawaii, Chile or maybe Bhutan? Marriott, Hilton or Airbnb? Virtual Reality is taking the guess work out of travel and in turn, is changing the hospitality industry. Recently released to the public, the new VR technology is revolutionizing how we interact with our environment. These advancements are not only impacting how we entertain and how we game, but for architecture and design firms (like WORTHGROUP) it is changing the process of how we design and build; and for hospitality brands, how to market to potential guests.Virtual Reality is a completely immersive, sensory experience using visual and audio simulation to transport the user to another place without leaving the room. The possibilities for its implementation in hospitality design and marketing are practically endless, but here are some of the ways that we see VR changing the hotel industry:
Trends in Design and Development
Using Virtual Reality during the design phase:
• Drives decision making and allows solutions to be more thoroughly and instantly communicated. Client and project teams are now able to step into designed spaces and experience them from their own perspective. They can manipulate furnishings and finishes in real-time.
• Empowers clients by providing access to information previously unavailable without a full size mockup. Virtual Reality produces true correlation of sightlines and views including lighting, sun angles, shading, etc.
• Aids in consensus building among stakeholders. Owners, developers, and investors can walk through a proposed space, interact with their surroundings and get excited about the project.
• Reveals patterns in user behavior and elevates understanding of how people interact with a space. Observe, in real time, if users operate as predicted while still in the design phase.
Trends in Hospitality Marketing
The savviest brands and operators will:
• Use Virtual Reality to align with expectations regarding unique, authentic travel experience (an advantage particularly important for those trying to appeal to the Millennials).
• Apply Virtual Reality to promote their brands. Now guests can travel (virtually) to destination locations all over the world, get a taste of local experiences, and tour the brand’s luxury hotels in that area.
• Showcase premium rooms so that guests know exactly what they’re getting before they book and to encourage upgrades once they experience that penthouse view.
• Utilize technology internally for functions such as concierge stations to sell activity packages by offering guests a sneak peek at adventure options like skydiving, zip-lining, or scuba diving.
• Maximize the time guests spend on site by offering virtual reality enhanced amenities. For example, spas might offer a choice of relaxing, Zen-like simulations as add-ons to treatment packages and interactive skill-based games can be offered within the hotel.