Best Uses of Virtual Reality in the Hospitality Industry
Many operators in the hospitality industry take the virtual reality that seriously. They all found out the benefits and applications of the tool to be far-reaching. Today the hospitality industry is looking past the novelty value of VR and AR or augmented reality. They are thoroughly trying to weigh all the benefits of immersive technology towards the owners, customers, and all the employees.
There are several uses of VR in various hotels. At IHG, the VR solution is used primarily for the design development process. It helps them save time and money and enhances their relationships with the hotel owners. The group used to have physical pilot rooms for testing design schemes. It cost the company €100,000. Now with the use of virtual reality, they were able to come up with virtual concept hotel. This enables to look around the hotel and its design regardless of their position and even when they are under the bed.
They produced one single 3D model that makes use of a virtualization system which is called Unreal Engine. This means that a single design change can update all the other related design production assets such as images, 360 virtual tours, and VR. The greatest benefit that IHG gained from the program is engagement with all the current and prospective owners. It has also helped in validating the results of current and future guest research wherein VR is a primary instrument which reduced the requirement for expensive physical piloting programs.
Hilton, on the other hand, has a different VR approach. It makes use of creating immersive environments for the corporate staff to understand fully what everyday life is for all the employees. Through the use of the Oculus Rift goggles which are linked with a laptop for high-end gaming. Customers can go around the hotel and its different departments and at the same time users are also asked to join in three operational tasks: creating a room service tray, cleaning a guest room, and checking the rewards program list found at the front desk. The result of the pilot program is positive with 87 percent of the participants saying that they now appreciate and have better empathy for team members who work in the hotel and 78 percent of them anticipating that this will have an effect on the work they do within the office. The program is set to be applied globally.
Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza
Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza is the real example of a customer-facing VR where dinner is served at €1,500 per head and guests are offered multisensory 14-course extravaganza. This includes a simulation of what a party would be like in 2050. Certain technologies are used. One is e-spoon which offers a 3D animation of a snack giving the diners more nutritional information about the food they are eating. Another technology is the leap motion technology which enables the guests to lift the snack using virtual hands and tasting it in a completely virtual environment. There are also guest-facing VR that can be found nationwide. This enables guests to see the arrival in real-time in different areas of the hotel.
Tree By Naked
In Japan, food connoisseurs can now dine at the Tree By Naked, a virtual reality restaurant. Here you can find a fusion of multiple Japanese dishes from Ryotaro Muramatsu, the creator of Naked Inc. Experience dining in a building with a facade filled with elaborate projection displays and adorned with many 3D elements.
With all the options for technology, the first question that a hotelier has to ask is if it has to be a VR. You have to think if you are solving a problem or you are in fact creating a problem that does not exist. It is also important to consider first and foremost the quality of output. It’s not enough that you are first to use a particular technology. It doesn’t matter anymore these days. It is also crucial to consider the budget since you are not only spending for the virtual reality product but also for the equipment needed for the guests, employees, and owners to experience the virtual product.
Hotel owners and managers and key players in the hospitality industry can create their own virtual tour with ease and minimal cost through the software Virtual Tour Easy. The software has many free features, and it’s user-friendly. Check the site for more information.