Sam Williamson of Supercontrol Holiday Booking looks at the benefits the holiday rental industry is already seeing as businesses turn to VR for their marketing.
Business listings on Google Maps with a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest, according to data released by Google. Now, business owners in industries such as the holiday rental industry are realising that including similar virtual tours on their own websites can produce similarly exciting results for their business. High quality photos, detailed descriptions and genuine reviews have become standard practice, but holiday rental business owners looking to stand out from the competition are increasingly incorporating Virtual Reality into their listings.
Alexa Voisey, Founder of Bath Holiday Rentals says, “The internet has allowed us to showcase our business to potential clients all over the world. The 360 VR tours we’ve embedded on our website take that to a whole new level; people can virtually walk around our properties and explore exactly where they might stay before they make their decision to book with us.”
This could be an additional revenue stream to support your passion project.Sam Williamson
As with Google Maps, business owners can hire a Google-approved photographer to visit their property and take photos for a virtual tour. While it would be possible to take these photos themselves, it’s a much better idea to hire a professional. The tour to should reflect the business as well as possible, and getting a professional to handle the images is the best way to ensure that the end result looks great.
Google-approved photographers are hard to come by in some areas, so if you're a VR pro and you notice that there is a lack of businesses offering this service in your area, then that could present a good opportunity to fill the void. You could even be proactive about it and contact local holiday rental business owners who don't have a virtual tour on their website. If you're good at sales, then this could be an additional revenue stream to support your passion project.
Nothing To Hide
There are more than a few benefits to letting potential customers view a property via a virtual tour before they visit, with the main benefit being that it immediately establishes trust. There are so many sites out there claiming to have the best property in the world, and uploading highly edited photos of their rooms to make them look as spacious as possible. But it's near impossible to create the same illusions with a virtual tour, and they show potential customers that a business has nothing to hide.
Invest In The Best
Another benefit that not a lot of companies seem to talk about is that having a virtual tour shows customers that the business is willing to invest money to provide as much information about a property as possible - people will appreciate this effort! A virtual tour is also much more impressive than a boring slideshow of images, helping a property to leave a lasting impression on anybody who views it. I always picture a parent showing their kids two holiday properties online that they're considering renting out for summer - one with a virtual tour and one with a slideshow of images. Which one do you think they'll pick?
Virtual tours keep people on commercial websites for longer.Sam Williamson
Virtual tours keep people on commercial websites for longer. As search engines like Google develop more advanced algorithms and methods of determining where to rank websites, the length of time a user spends on a page has started to increase in importance and now correlates with higher organic rankings. Creating a really detailed virtual tour that users spend lots of time interacting with and even revisit, tells Google that the page is valuable and could lead to an increase in organic visibility.
Dive In Headfirst
So far we've mainly been talking about how people can experience a virtual tour of a holiday property on a flat screen, but it becomes really exciting when you consider the possibilities of Virtual Reality tours for anybody with access to a headset, even if it’s just one of the simpler and less expensive headsets like the Google Cardboard. Holiday rental businesses could give someone the opportunity to visit their rooms from the comfort of their home, helping them to make a really informed decision. Any worries or hesitations they might have about the room would immediately be answered by simply letting them tour the room for themselves.
We're really excited about the potential of virtual tours.Sam Williamson
VR Empowers Smaller Businesses
If you can't tell yet, we're really excited about the potential of virtual tours and the impact that they could have on the holiday rental industry. It's a great opportunity for smaller and independent rental properties to stand out from the larger competitors, many of whom have remained reluctant to add these tours to their websites in fear of what users may uncover.
About The Author
Sam Williamson is a marketing executive for Supercontrol Holiday Booking, a booking and management system company. He writes many of the posts in their 'resources' section and loves helping small and independent businesses compete with the big dogs.