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Captivate Guests and Drive Hotel Sales with Immersive Virtual Tours

Captivate Guests and Drive Hotel Sales with Immersive Virtual Tours: Your guide to VR in Hospitality Marketing  

By Gecko Digital Tech Blog

Virtual reality (VR) is revolutionising the hospitality industry by facilitating a convenient “try before you buy” approach that gives consumers a realistic preview of hotels and resorts.

This technology is enhancing customer engagement and aiding in travel planning and decision-making in attention-catching ways. 

Currently, forward-thinking players in the hospitality industry are rapidly adopting VR to enhance various aspects of operations and customer service. From facilitating staff training to virtual tours, virtual reality has untapped potential to catapult hotel sales and bookings.

What are virtual tours?

In hotel marketing, virtual tours refer to interactive digital experiences that enable users to explore a hotel’s facilities, rooms, and surroundings virtually. 

In practice, virtual tours employ technologies like 360-degree photography, videography, and even virtual reality (VR) to provide a realistic and immersive experience. It, thereby, enables prospective guests to remotely ‘visualise’ themselves staying at the property without having to physically travel to the facility. 

Virtual tours allow potential guests to assess amenities and experience the ambience of the hotel, enhancing the booking experience, reducing uncertainty, and increasing the likelihood of bookings.

Furthermore, virtual tours create transparency, trust, and personalisation for travellers. Additionally, virtual tours enable staff to better anticipate and meet guests’ needs. 

Types of virtual tours

Virtual tours constitute various types, each offering unique experiences to users, namely: 

  • 360-degree videos: These provide panoramic views, allowing viewers to intuitively explore every corner of a hotel. This makes them ideal for scenic views and aesthetics that can captivate potential guests. 
  • Interactive walkthroughs: These offer a more immersive experience by enabling users to virtually “walk through” a space. As such, they provide a sense of depth and space akin to being physically present. 
  • Virtual reality (VR) experiences: These take virtual tours to the next level by providing users with a fully immersive and interactive environment. VR experiences allow users to engage with a hotel space in a more realistic and engaging manner that goes beyond traditional videos or walkthroughs. They provide unique elements like spatial information and even a “dollhouse view” that provides a virtual model of an entire property for users to explore in detail. 

What technology is used for virtual tours?

In practice, VR tours rely on a combination of cutting-edge technologies to create immersive and interactive experiences, for example:

  1. Cameras: Often equipped with wide-angle lenses and high-resolution sensors, these advanced cameras capture detailed visuals from various angles to provide a comprehensive view of hotel spaces. 
  2. Dedicated software: These play a vital role in programmatically stitching together the images or videos captured by the camera to create seamless transitions and interactive elements within the virtual tour. 
  3. Virtual reality (VR) headsets: These allow users to virtually explore hotel spaces as if though are physically present, providing them with a unique sense of immersive presence that goes beyond traditional hotel viewing experiences. 

Evolution of virtual tours in hospitality

Before the Internet, the hospitality sector relied heavily on traditional hotel marketing methods like brochures, print ads, and word-of-mouth for visibility. However, with the rise of the digital age that powered online travel agencies (OTAs), hotels needed to adapt their marketing strategies to stay competitive and relevant. 

Subsequently, the introduction of hotel websites allowed hoteliers to showcase their offerings through static photos and videos. This provided potential guests with a glimpse into the accommodations and amenities. 

Despite the internet’s accessibility, websites alone could not provide a comprehensive and immersive experience for users that aids in decision support. 

The advent of VR over the last decade has revolutionised the way hotels market their properties. A testament to this revolution is virtual tours which leverage 360-degree photography, videography, and even VR headsets, to allow clients to explore every aspect of a hotel. 

What are the advantages of virtual tours for hotels?

As a dynamic and immersive way to showcase hotel properties, from anywhere in the world, the benefits of virtual tours are undeniable. For example:

Enhanced online presence

Virtual tours enhance the online presence of hotels by making their websites more engaging and interactive. These immersive experiences captivate potential guests, keeping them on the website for longer periods. 

In fact, the engaging nature of virtual tours not only attracts users but also augments the likelihood of direct bookings. This is because guests are more inclined to make reservations after experiencing a detailed walkthrough of the property.

Improved customer engagement

Interactive elements within virtual tours, like clickable hotspots, elevate user engagement by facilitating a personalised and detailed exploration of the hotel. These features allow guests to interact with specific areas of interest, leading to a stronger emotional attachment and a heightened sense of familiarity. 

This, in turn, creates a memorable and engaging platform that encourages them to consider the property for their stay.

Higher booking confidence

Virtual tours offer guests a realistic view of the rooms, facilities, and surroundings, instilling confidence in their booking decisions. By providing an accurate representation of the hotel through immersive experiences, virtual tours reduce uncertainties and hesitations that guests may have when making reservations. 

This transparency offered by virtual tours ensures that prospective guests have a clear understanding of what to expect, leading to increased confidence in their choice of accommodation. 

Consequently, this enhanced confidence often translates into a higher rate of direct bookings, as guests feel more assured about their selection after virtually exploring the hotel.

Reduced booking abandonment

Virtual tours significantly reduce the rate of booking abandonment by setting clear and realistic expectations. This consequently minimises the chances of last-minute cancellations due to mismatched expectations. 

Suffice it to say that the transparency and authenticity offered by virtual tours create a sense of trust and reliability. This gives guests confidence in their decision to book a stay, which, in turn, reduces booking hesitation. 

Catering to diverse traveller needs

Virtual tours in the hospitality industry cater to the heterogeneous needs of different types of travellers. For instance, business travellers seeking conference facilities can benefit from virtual tours that highlight meeting rooms, technology features, and business amenities. 

So, this interactive approach targets specific segments of a hotel’s audience by tailoring the virtual tour content to align with the interests and preferences of disparate traveller groups. 

Extended reach to potential guests

Virtual tours are democratising access to hotel information, providing a level playing field for hotels of all sizes. In practice, smaller boutique hotels can showcase their offerings on par with larger, well-known chains. Thereby, attracting guests who may have previously overlooked them due to limited marketing resources.

This accessibility levels the playing field across geographical locations and enables hotels to compete for a share of the global travel market. 

How to create an effective virtual tour?

Creating compelling virtual tours for hotels to convert prospects involves a nuanced process that dictates specialised expertise, software and equipment. For example:  

  • Planning: This step involves establishing the objectives of the virtual tour whether it’s to showcase rooms, amenities, or unique hotel features. 
  • Execution: This phase involves leveraging high-quality cameras to capture immersive 360-degree photos and videos. Then, programmatically stitching the media to create a seamless and interactive virtual tour that allows users to navigate and explore the property effortlessly.
  • Integration: This step involves integrating the virtual tours into the hotel’s website and booking platforms for prospects to explore and engage with the tour.
  • Promotion: This stage entails sharing the virtual tours on social media platforms and prevalent search engines to reach a broader audience and generate ‘convertable’ interest in the hotel.

The steps cited above are not straightforward, as they sometimes involve incorporating interactive elements like hotspots, navigation features, and information pop-ups. They also require competent professionals who have a deep understanding of 360-photography, videography, virtual tour software, and user experience design. 

So, given the technical intricacies and creative demands involved in creating impactful VR tours, partnering with a specialist organisation can offer several advantages. For example, VR design houses typically have access to advanced equipment, like specialised cameras and software, specifically designed for creating immersive experiences. 

Leveraging virtual tours for increased sales and marketing impact

Virtual tours have a direct and significant impact on bookings and revenue in the hotel business. 

By furnishing potential guests with an interactive preview of the hotel’s facilities, rooms, and amenities, virtual tours create a sense of anticipation and fear of missing out (FOMO). This consequently results in higher conversion rates and, ultimately, a greater probability of direct bookings.

Furthermore, virtual tours tend to offer more transparency and trust than traditional marketing methods. In essence, access to realistic simulations of a hotel enables potential guests to make more informed decisions about whether the hotel meets their precise needs and preferences. This consequently drives up bookings and revenue for a hotel business. 


As VR technology continues to advance, more players in the hospitality sector are recognising its potential to revolutionise guest experiences. 

However, without specialist help to bring creative visions to life and create virtual tours that effectively showcase hotels’ unique selling points, hoteliers cannot drive bookings and sales. 
By partnering with a specialist VR company like Gecko Digital, hotels can benefit from the technical proficiency and creative immersive tours of showcasing their property!