When you run a hospitality business, you’ve to figure out two main things simultaneously — getting more customers and making sure the operations run smoothly. Virtual tours are a new-age marketing tool that can help you get booked much in advance, so that you no longer have to worry about finding more customers. You can just focus on getting your operations right and growing your business.
What is a hotel virtual tour?
A virtual tour of your hotel helps you use panoramic 360 images to showcase your hotel in an in-depth, immersive way. If you’re wondering why make a virtual tour for your hotel, a study says that virtual tours increase online sales by a whopping 135%, and generate 46% more sales than still images.
5 key steps for a hotel virtual tour
Here’s a 5-step guide to creating the perfect virtual tour for your property:
Step 1: Find the right partner
Virtual tours are fairly technical to create, and require fairly advanced equipment. Moreover, hospitality is the one industry where you don’t want to create something amateurish. Hire the right virtual tour company to create the tour. Given that you will save on the costs of purchasing/renting equipment, hiring a cameraperson, and buying virtual tour software; hiring someone will probably prove to be more cost-effective as well.
Make sure they have done enough work in hospitality before, especially with a property of your size and scale. Make it a point to get some references before you get anyone on board.
Step 2: Timing key
Figure out the right time to take the photos and videos. You don’t want to take outdoor shots in the middle of the day — the overwhelming light will lighten the natural colour of the objects. Just before dusk, when the sun is about to set, is usually the perfect time for outdoor shots.
Step 3: Build a story
Many hotel owners/ managers want to fit in every single detail about the property in the virtual tour. But this goes against the basic principles of marketing. You need to find areas that your customer will find exciting— and then build a narrative around them.
You have an all-you-can-eat rolling sushi bar at the restaurant? That definitely deserves some great shots! On the other hand, taking photos of the same standard room from different angles is a no-go. Figure out the USP of your property — what would make someone really want to visit— and focus on those areas.
Step 4: Focus on presentation
This is especially important in the hospitality business. You need to make sure that every single location in your hotel virtual tour looks its best. Arrange for a thorough clean-up the day before, rearrange the furniture if you need to, add a few aesthetic touches here and there, and make sure all the selected locations look as close to perfect as possible.
Step 4: Leverage hotspots
Use the hotspots in the virtual tour to add meaningful descriptions. For instance, you can mention any special discounts or schemes that you’re running. You can also use photos of specific areas to highlight what makes them unique — for instance, add the list of specials to you restaurant photos or highlight unique features of your architecture in the lobby pictures.
If you’re looking for that one marketing asset that can really transform the demand side of your business, a good virtual tours is the answer. If you’d like more details around hotel virtual tours and how to get yours up and running, do let us know in the comments below.