In today’s digital age, having a simple online presence is no longer sufficient for companies in the hospitality industry. While some businesses settle for basic websites with minimal content, it becomes challenging to measure the return on investment (ROI) of such a limited web presence. However, the potential damage caused by a lack of online visibility is evident, even for the smallest establishments like bed & breakfasts. Fortunately, the cost of developing a one or two-page website is comparable to a day’s utility bill, making it a worthwhile investment for most businesses.
Large companies with significant marketing budgets tend to offer more comprehensive web presences as a standard practice. Although quantifying the ROI for these companies is challenging due to scale, many of them fail to invest adequately in creating highly interactive user experiences on their websites. Determining the customer pull and sell-through resulting from online content may seem complex, but the impact of a captivating and user-friendly hospitality website becomes apparent from the first click to the last.
This is where virtual tours come into play. By providing stunning 360º color photography of properties, virtual tours allow potential guests to experience the amenities and ambiance of a unique establishment. However, hotel management often perceives interactive web content as a „nice-to-have“ due to associated costs. Especially during an economic downturn, upfront costs for website renovation become harder to justify, and quantifying ROI becomes a challenge.
But the reality is that virtual tours are a wise and cost-effective investment for property owners. According to research by Gómez, travel-related products and services rank as the top purchases made by consumers online. While only 15% of hotel bookings are made through the internet, a whopping 65% of all travel bookings are researched online. The internet has become the go-to platform for consumers to explore travel destinations, both for leisure and business purposes. For property owners, virtual tours serve as compelling and engaging content to attract potential guests.
Leading companies in the hospitality industry, such as Carlson Hotels Worldwide, have embraced virtual tour technology. Carlson Hotels Worldwide encompasses renowned brands like Regent International Hotels, Radisson, Park Plaza Hotels and Resorts, and Country Inns & Suites by Carlson. Radisson, in particular, actively employs virtual tours to outshine the competition in online marketing. They have successfully measured and quantified the high ROI for virtual tour photography, linking the benefits of interactive content to increased revenue.
Gino Giovannelli, Sr. Director of eBusiness Strategy for the Carlson Consumer Group, states that they have implemented virtual tours in over 165 Radisson Hotels across 11 countries, comprising more than 3,000 IPIX images. Consumers expect rich media from hotels and resorts, and Radisson’s internet website has transformed into an online brochure with lead-forward content that captivates visitors and supports the dynamic brand of the company. Mr. Giovannelli further mentions that they have expanded virtual tours to their other hotel brands as well, including Country Inns & Suites and Park Inns & Park Plaza.
Radisson actively tracks statistics on their websites, providing a clear view of their ROI:
Hotels with a virtual tour achieved a remarkable 135% increase in online revenue, equating to $7,200 per hotel per month, compared to those without a virtual tour.
The average number of views per month is around 2,000.
Specific Radisson properties like Radisson Aruba receive an average of 16,000 views per month, Radisson Lexington New York garners around 9,000 views per month, Radisson Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel receives approximately 3,000 views per month, and Radisson Adelaide, Australia attracts an average of 1,400 views per month.
A notable 4% conversion rate results in bookings made exclusively through the virtual tour page (excluding phone reservations from viewers who saw the tour).
Giovannelli’s success in achieving a high ROI with virtual tour technology lies in partnering with a full-service professional virtual tour service provider. These providers offer excellent on-property work and comprehensive backend support. Giovannelli specifically selected PhotoWeb as Radisson’s preferred vendor for virtual tours due to their commitment as a „full-service provider.“ Unlike other vendors who only offered photography services, 360PhotoMotion (360PM) offeres a one-stop-shop solution, including shooting the tours, hosting images, building/hosting virtual tour web pages, and a simple user interaface to share your tour on multiple platforms.
Virtual tours yield a high return on investment for companies that embrace them, and their startup costs and complexity can be effectively managed with a full-service provider like 360PM. Moreover, tracking and measuring ROI becomes easier as these providers capture essential statistics such as page views, unique visitors, and virtual tour views.
When utilized as a business tool, virtual tours extend beyond being just compelling images. They become a powerful visual technology that creates demand and generates incremental bookings. By immersing potential guests in the virtual experience of a property, hospitality businesses can stand out in the online realm and drive revenue growth.
Investing in virtual tours is a no-risk strategic choice that promises tangible results, benefiting both the business and its customers. So why settle for a static online presence when you can offer an engaging, interactive experience that captures the imagination of your audience? Take the leap into the world of virtual tours and unlock the true potential of your hospitality business.
Get in touch with 360PM now to offer your business an interactive and completely transparent experience round the clock, even while you sleep.