Empowering hotel clients: VR revolutionises booking autonomy
In the 19th show of the second edition of BW HOTELIER’s The GM Show, industry experts discussed the topic, Virtual Reality (VR) for Sales and Marketing: How VR can be used to showcase hotel facilities and event spaces to potential clients
In the ever-evolving world of hospitality, staying at the forefront of technological innovation is essential for attracting and engaging clients. Virtual Reality (VR) has emerged as a powerful tool for sales and marketing in the industry, allowing hotel GMs to offer immersive experiences that showcase their facilities and event spaces to potential clients. This panel discussion brings together experts to explore the innovative applications of VR in the hospitality sector and how it revolutionizes the way hotels present themselves to the world.
During the 19th episode of BW HOTELIER’s The GM Show Season 2 titled Virtual Reality (VR) for Sales and Marketing: Discussing how VR can be used to showcase hotel facilities and event spaces to potential clients, a group of distinguished panellists from the hospitality industry voiced their opinions on the subject. These included Rajesh Ramdas, GM, Grand Hyatt Kochi; Subhankar Bose, GM, Kochi Marriott Hotel; Deepraj Mukherjee, GM, Le Meridien, Kochi; Dinesh Rai, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Kochi and Fino Babu, GM, Holiday Inn Kochi.
The show took off with the host-moderator Bhuvanesh Khanna putting up the first question to Rajesh Ramdas on defining Virtual Reality and its relevance in the hospitality industry. He emphasised on the transformative potential of VR in the hospitality sector, stating, "By the use of Virtual Reality, you would have the ability to sit wherever you are in whichever part of the world you are and be able to practically walk through hotels and look at the facilities that they offer. Also, look at the amenities they offer." Ramdas pointed out that VR allows potential clients to make informed decisions independently, reducing their reliance on event planners or third-party descriptions of the property. However, he acknowledged that VR has its limitations and that it cannot fully replace the tangible experiences of hospitality, such as the warmth of service or the taste of food.
Next up was the question for Shubhankar Bose, General Manager, Kochi Marriott Hotel, on how a VR can revolutionise hotel marketing and engagement with clients. In answering the question, he echoed this sentiment, highlighting that "In today's time, with this fast-paced world and time being very important aspects, especially to a potential international client, the VR gives immense opportunity to digitally transport themselves into that surrounding." He added that VR, with its immersive 360-degree technology, offers an opportunity to provide a client with an immersive experience and exposure to the property.
Fino Babu, General Manager, Holiday Inn Kochi, discussed VR's impact on marketing. He noted that "VR can create immersive experiences that outperform traditional marketing methods in terms of conversion rates." Additionally, he pointed out that VR experiences are tailor-made for social media, enhancing engagement and optimising its potential. On the importance of customisation in the hospitality industry, the GM of Crowne Plaza, Kochi, Dinesh Rai, explained that "VR can cater to the specific demands of clients, providing a unique and personalised experience that aligns with their needs. At travel marts, we can create stalls with such facilities and customise options for different segments of our clients." He emphasised the significance of time and said that "when it comes to customization, we need to respect the guest’s time, so when someone comes looking for a spa, we need to get to the spa first and then the hotel if required."
Deepraj Mukherjee, General Manager, Le Meridien, Kochi, closed the discussion on a forward-looking note, stating, "Through VR, we're trying to predict the future, be in the future, live through the future, and envision what the entire storyline is going to be." He emphasised that hotels embracing modern tools like VR are poised to gain a competitive edge. Mukherjee highlighted that VR is not merely about aesthetics; it has the potential to be a formidable sales powerhouse.
After another round of interesting questions to each of the panellists, the show culminated with the host-moderator Bhuvanesh Khanna thanking the esteemed panellists for sharing their thoughts and views on the subject and informing about the next GM Show at 4 pm on September 15.
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