The major hotel groups are starting to embrace Virtual Reality technology. Hilton Hotels has teamed up with Google to devise a system for guests to select their own room and its location in any hotel.
Best Western Hotels & Resorts, on the other hand, is moving forward with the rollout of its the Best Western Virtual Reality Experience (BWVRE), which offers guests 360-degree views of guest rooms, hotel lobbies and amenities prior to arriving at a property.
In the case of Hilton Hotels, Google will use its mapping technology to enable guests to pick the exact position of their desired room in the hotel as well as showing them the view they will get.
The facility is available to the members of the Hilton HHonours loyalty scheme via an app and only available to members who book direct through Hilton Worldwide.
Digital check-in with room selection is available at more than 4,500 Hilton Worldwide hotels across 13 brands.
Best Western Virtual Reality Experience is limited to its North American hotels at the moment. For the past three years, together with Google Street View, the group has gathered 1.7 million photos of its North American hotels which are being use as the base for their BWVRE system. It will ‘virtually transport’ the guest into a hotel with a narration guiding them through the experience.
BWVRE videos are being developed in 8K resolution and will be available on platforms including Google Maps, Google Search, YouTube and Facebook.
But, as every hotel insider will tell you, a hotel’s room inventory is always in a state of flux. People check in and out at all hours of the day and the length of stay varies too. Just digitalising the room layouts for a major hotel group is a monumental task in itself, not to mention the training involved to ensure staff can handle the system.
So far Hyatt Hotels are reportedly looking at room selection technology but Marriott and Intercontinental say they have no immediate plans to follow the Hilton lead.