In this article you will find out how:
- New York hotels are struggling to fights against existing competition and new players on the market
- Virtual Reality is being used to sell penthouses and luxury suites in NYC top hotels
- New tech’s ROI is particularly attractive for luxury hotels
- Hotels worldwide are adopting innovative ways to reach their clientele
New York City hotels struggling on the competitive market
The city is bustling with tourists like never before. New York City welcomed a record 60.3 million visitors last year, making 2016 a banner year for tourism in the Big Apple: for the first time, the total number of city visitors exceeded 60 million. The rapid growth of tourism is also reflected in an increase in the number of new hotels and rooms available built in NYC. “In 2015, New York City had more than 107,000 hotel rooms, 48 percent more than in 2006. The industry plans to add another 26,500 rooms by the end of 2019”. On top of that in the recent years, the Short-term rental companies like Airbnb have flooded the market with rental options, not previously available for tourists.
This increase in rooms and options to choose from creates a higher demand for hotels to stand out amongst the growing competition throughout New York City. Their sales teams are struggling to find ways to make their properties stand out from the competition – incentives, free giveaways, mailing campaigns and even cold calling, no longer work. To compete hotels must step up their digital image.
How hotels market themselves online can make a huge impact on sales and brand image. Airbnb has recognized the importance of having a strong digital presence by showcasing all of their properties and rooms in an online experiential way. They promote the full experience that their properties offer, and allow potential guests to experience the places visually before physically arriving. The damage caused by Airbnb is especially felt by the hotels offering high-level suites. These suites are the key sale for any property, but selling out of these top suites is no walk in the park.
One way in which we see hotels trying to fight off competition like Airbnb is by providing this experience through 360 photography and virtual reality tours. These tours help showcase all of the rooms, meeting spaces, lobby, exterior, and amenities in a more immersive way.
Re-inventing luxury suites sales
Virtual reality and 360 views are used to provide buyers with fully encompassing views of these suites, and helps to promote the amenities and size of the space, which is the most sought after qualities of top level suites. By creating a new way to view a Penthouse suite, clients are more willing to spend the money on a higher level suite, because they have the knowledge and a fair expectation of what they will experience.
One hotel that has incorporated this experience into their sales objectives here in New York City is The Knickerbocker hotel located at 6 Times Square. Mario Busquet, the Director of Sales and Marketing at the Knickerbocker, has seen an increase in sales since using VR Global’s platform,
“We have seen a conversion ratio of 13-17%, based on the number of leads we are receiving.”
By using this 3D/360 technology to showcase the higher end spaces, it creates value to the salesperson and client, allowing them to access a better way to view any hotel room from anywhere in the world.
Mario told us that,
“Having the tour rotating during a trade show, allows us to use this as a presentation or walk through experience. Being able to walk through a hotel or room that is not available to show is a huge perk, especially for executive suites or tribute suites that might not be available to show…”
Through the use of the 360 photography and video, the Knickerbocker was able to not only highlight these suites but also form an interactive experience with their Caruso suite.
Tech investment worth the risk
Within the last couple of years, we’ve seen hotels using VR in various marketing and PR stunts with different results. However, it seems that the use of VR and 360 technology to better showcase hotels offer might be the best way to help form a more even playing field between companies like Airbnb and hotels in terms of marketing. The investment in this technology is typically less than one to two nights stay in the top Penthouses of most New York City Hotels, which makes it a much more safer investment than VR marketing stunts.
Already by investing in 360 and 3D technology hotels like The Knickerbocker, The Quin, Westhouse, and Ritz Carlton have all had success in selling their highest level suites and room types. The average user will spend significantly more time engaging on a website that contains 360 content, providing an easy avenue for hotels to engage with their clientele from anywhere in the world. Mario at the Knickerbocker contends,
“Our Clients have been amazed at the abilities of the tool and were not expecting the Knickerbocker to have access to the tool, This is a great selling tool and having the ability to showcase on the phone or tablet has helped set us apart from the competition.”