As we all know, this isn’t the best time for the hospitality business. There is uncertainty in many parts of the world, and it will be a while before long-distance travel goes back to where it used to be pre-Coronavirus.
Having said that, COVID-19 clearly has an end-time, as experiences in many countries, from China to New Zealand have shown. With the pandemic in full swing in many parts of the world, and travel has come to a halt, there are two ways to look at the situation. The first is to simply live this situation out amid a general environment of fear and panic. The second would be to actually take advantage of this free time to invest in marketing assets that will help you generate bookings as soon as things are up and running so that your business can find its feet faster.
As far as hotels go, whether it’s an opulent 5-star property or a boutique place, being able to showcase its beauty to prospective customers is the first priority. While high-resolution images were enough to do that up until a few years ago, today state-of-the-art hotel virtual tours are a must on your website. Here’s why virtual tours for hotels have become so popular in the last few years:
First impressions are important
Think about it from the point of view of a prospective customer. Would you rather book a room in a hotel that has some standard, poorly-lit photos? Or a hotel where you can see a 360 virtual tour of the entire property— from the room and the bathroom to the lobby, the breakfast buffet, and the sprawling grounds. A virtual tour is an easy way to make an incredible first impression and get that online booking.
A Google Street View virtual tour means that you’re showing your property with an incredible level of detail. With a regular website and photos, it’s easy to use clever angles to hide or emphasize some parts of the property. And customers are now aware of this. So when you create a hotel virtual tour, you’re creating a level of transparency that is rare in the business, and that will make customers trust you instinctively.
More control over the viewing experience
Every customer wants something different when they look at a property online. A customer might be looking for the perfect family vacation, another for a honeymoon, and yet another for a business conference. A comprehensive hotel virtual tour allows prospective customers to customize the viewing experience for themselves. They can zoom in and out of areas that they are more interested in, go through the information given in the hotspots, and pan left, right, up and down to get a better view.
Having a virtual tour on your website gives you an immediate edge over the competition. The Google Street View 360 tour will automatically help you when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Having a virtual tour is also one more step in completing your Google Business profile, and a completed profile also makes your hotel more searchable. Having your business consistently rank high during Google searches is a big advantage of having a virtual tour.
Likely to get organic shares
A good hotel virtual tour has high entertainment value. People love to browse through these tours and do some vicarious traveling. Even if someone is not booking your hotel immediately, chances are that they will enjoy the tour so much that they will share it with friends on their social media. This will immediately give you organic reach among your target audience.
It’s understandable that you’re going through a period of turmoil and uncertainty. But the best way to make the most of this time is to have a long-term view of your business and to invest in relatively reasonable marketing assets that will last you in the long run. Hotel virtual tours are the best way to do this. Not only are they relatively easy to create, but they will also give you an immediate competitive edge as the hospitality industry starts getting back on track.