Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have taken many industries by storm. Hospitality is one of them. AR/VR in hospitality has allowed businesses to take guest/customer experience up a notch.
Let’s learn more about the two immersive technologies and how the hospitality industry, mainly hotels, stands to benefit from them.
Table of Contents
What Is AR?
Augmented reality or AR is a technology that allows the virtual world to meet the real world using digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli.
It is about enhancing a real-world image through computer-generated pictures and digital information. Various devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart glasses, and headsets, allow users to experience AR. The AR app development cost can be estimated by knowing some factors and application requirements. Keep reading the blog to know all.
This technology includes 3 features:
A blend of digital and physical worlds,
3D identification of virtual and real objects with accuracy
Initially used in military and television, AR has come a long way since the term was coined in 1990. The use of the technology has diversified and sectors like gaming, hospitality, education, healthcare, etc., are enhancing their services through it.
Technologies like GPS, 4G and 5G, and remote sensing, have further made AR more powerful and utility-generating.
Google Expeditions, IKEA Mobile App, etc., are some examples of successful apps that use AR to enhance user experience.
AR In Hospitality Industry
Augmented Reality in hospitality industry is transforming the way hotels and other related business serve their guests. Physical environments (hotel interiors/exteriors plus rooms) or the exploration of areas in the vicinity are made easy and even enhanced through the use of AR.
Following are the ways in which AR is used in the hospitality industry:
1. Offers Guests An Enhanced Navigational Experience
AR in hospitality industry helps hotels to give their guest the best navigational experience.
By pointing a smartphone at the map hung or situated in a hotel building or room, guests get to view additional information about local places of interest. This in turn enhances the usefulness and reliability of the map itself and offers guests more navigational comfort.
Additionally, users going for bike rides, backpacking trips, ski holidays, or outdoor adventures could use the virtual arrows on the AR/VR apps to give better travel route guidance.
2. Interactive Hotel Rooms
AR/VR in hospitality offer hotels the opportunity to add more interactive elements into their hotels and at the same time, offer guests a superior booking and stay experience.
Hotels often incorporate the 3-dimensional display feature on the portal for rooms. This allows guests to view the rooms in a more realistic way while they are seeking a room or any service.
It further allows hotels to offer 360-degree views or virtual tours of the hotel or room for guests to make a more informed and conscious choice.
Beacon, in combination with AR, helps hotels and other businesses in hospitality industry to send information to guests/customers when they are visiting a specific location, through Bluetooth technology.
Thi8s technology ensures that guests exploring the hotel premises have multiple wireless connectivity opportunities using their smartphones only.
This technology also proves to be highly useful in case of emergency situations. It can be used to view relevant maps and send emergency alerts and rescue plan-based guidelines.
Hotels can make their premises more fun, lively, and enjoyable for guests through gamification technology.
Hotels can either make their property a part of an already-established AR game or also develop their own apps. The latter could involve making the hotel or local area exploration part more immersive, and fun for hotel guests and visitors.
5. Augmentation Of Hotel Premises
Hotels are being very creative with the use of AR on their premises.
They created an experience using AR that allowed guests to point to their smart devices and view realistic virtual depictions of famous people in the hotel. Additionally, children could see themselves alongside their favorite Disney characters on the hotel premises using AR.
Hotels like Holiday Inn, The Hub Hotel from Premier Inn in the UK, Best Western, Starwood Hotels, The Mansion, etc., are using AR to enhance their guest’s experience and stand out.
Let’s now learn more about VR and its uses in the hospitality industry.
What Is VR?
Virtual reality produces a computer-generated environment that offers users a sensory experience in a simulated environment.
A user of virtual reality or VR is placed in a virtual environment that is created using either computer graphics or video 360. It is a computer-generated environment. This immersive technology makes a user believe that the virtual world is in fact the real world, which is not the case in actuality.
VR works by triggering user feelings or providing users with a sensory experience in a simulated environment. This environment is created using immersive visuals, audio, etc.
In existence since the 1930s, in some or other ways, the concept of VR has grown by leaps and bounds. It is now used in multiple industries, by some of the most prominent business players.
Virtual reality is experienced using VR glasses.
VR In Hospitality Industry
Just like AR, Virtual reality or VR in hospitality industry has extensive uses.
VR in hospitality industry is used to provide information a potential guest would require before making bookings. It allows guests to virtually view the rooms or nearby attractions, and not completely rely on written descriptions.
Research by Gómez states that travel-related products and services are the no. 1 purchase made by consumers over the Internet today. And VR allows guests to ‘try before buying/book’ which is a great way for hotels to build trust and reliability.
Additionally, virtual tours are one of the best ways hotels can interact with their potential guests. They are compelling and cost-effective interactive and immersive content to market to potential guests.
Let’s look at some ways VR is used in hospitality business:
1. Virtual Hotel Tours And Travel Experiences
Virtual hotel tours have certainly changed the way guests make booking decisions. These tours are usually available on hotel websites, allowing guests to take a quick look at the available rooms and make a conscious decision.
While these tours are best experienced with a VR headset, they can also be taken on social media sites like Facebook which offers a 360-video option.
Additionally, the 360-video option also helps users to experience a virtual recreation of multiple different aspects of travel. These aspects include flights, airports, some of the main attractions sights, etc.
Users can travel and explore places sitting at home.
2. VR For Booking Processes
Virtual Reality is facilitating an informative booking process as mentioned above. Additionally, it also allows users to have an immersive experience through VR headsets. This means that guests can search for flights, make room bookings as well as compare hotel prices using their headsets.
This makes the whole booking process more seamless and easier for users and enhances their experience.
3. Virtual Training
Contemporary hotels that have adopted technology for better have explored VR for staff training as well. It helps hotels to improve on the traditional training methods with some advanced simulations through virtual reality.
Staff could practice finding a room for a virtual guest and check them in, and enhance their housekeeping skills, through simulation.
4. VR For Marketing Campaigns And Sales
VR in hospitality makes hotels and related businesses offer a superior experience to their guest/customers.
Guests can view and experience the place they are about to choose and pay for. They can even take walks in rooms represented in 3D, visit common areas, and interact with virtual staff members. This allows them to gain experience that builds trust, reliability, and enthusiasm in them.
This in turn boosts sales and markets the hotel well.
Since we have learned about AR/VR in hospitality industry, let’s now look at some of the top platforms that facilitate AR/VR technology adoption and use.
Top AR/VR Development Platforms
Following are the top AR/VR in hospitality software/platforms to explore in 2023:
1. Apple ARKit
Introduced in 2017, this is used to create apps for iPhone and iPad. It allows developers to design and develop apps that include facial tracking, fast motion tracking, etc.
This allows developers to implement various AR/VR features such as geolocation, image tracking, object recognition, etc.
This is one of the most popular VR platforms for game development. The tool’s all-in-one editor makes it compatible with Mac, Linux, as well as Windows.
Another powerful platform, Vuforia helps to create native AR apps for an immersive experience. English texts and 3D objects in real-time are some of the features offered by this platform.
This platform facilitates the development of VR software. It works with most of the popular VR platforms such as Oculus Rift, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, etc.
This platform offers the development of VR apps that facilitate the creation of 3D animations, motion graphics, and VFX software.
While these were some of the AR/VR development platforms, there are many more such as Google ARCore, etc.
In fact, Apple has recently announced its AR/VR headsets that look like ski goggles and blends virtual and augmented reality features.
Thus, AR/VR in hospitality has a very promising future.
Hotels and related businesses are using these two immersive technologies to offer top-class experiences and services to their guests/customers. And well, that is what the hospitality industry is driven by; a class apart service and a seamless and unforgettable experience.
BigOh provides robust tools & platforms including Unity, AR Core, ARKit, Vuforia, and Wikitude to design, develop and deploy unique and engaging AR & VR applications that drive growth.
So, expand with AR/VR apps today and earn more satisfied and loyal guests/customers.
Q1. Which industries are using AR and VR?
Many industries including education, healthcare, travel and tourism, retail, etc., are using AR/VR to offer an enhanced user experience to their guests/customers.
Q2. What are the tools and software that enable AR and VR?
Following are some of the software/platforms that facilitate the development of AR/VR technology: 1. Google ARCore 2. Blender 3. Maya 4. MaxST 5. Vuforia 6. Unity
Q3. AR and VR which is more effective for marketing?
AR and VR are both important and fruitful for marketing. However, they both have their use cases. While AR is more effective at stimulating purchases, VR is more impactful in creating positive brand attitudes. Thus, while both technologies are effective at marketing, they both are used to achieve specific goals. You can read more about AR and VR differences in our very informative yet short and crisp blog.