There are many tools hoteliers can use when it comes to selling their properties. The strongest and most influential are photos. It can’t be stressed enough how important quality photos are to a merchandising a property. Adding more photos is a great way to really stand out from the competition. Find out how many photos your website and booking engine can handle and use that as your new target. Upload as many unique and quality photos your property has to offer. Chances are the hotel across the street is doing the same thing. So where do we go from here? What new tools are out there to really make highlight your property in new ways? Virtual tours are the next step in merchandising your property and can help increase direct bookings and website traffic.
Virtual Tours are 360 degree panoramic views of your property. Think of Google Street View, but for your hotel. When guests visit your website, they can explore all of the common areas of your property or get a much better feel for the size and amenities of a room type. Having these tours can greatly increase the length of time guests stay on your website, and the more time they spend the less exposure they have to OTA ads on other sites.
There are a lot of consumer level cameras or programs that can help you create these tours, but the rule about Quality applies here even more so than it does to Pictures. Panoramic views can easily become distorted or give off misleading impressions about an environment. Professionals are again recommended. This is where Google comes into play with their network of trained professional photographers. If you do decide to book a session with one of these photographers, you will first need to have claimed your Google+ Page. After that you will need to pick a photographer and book the time. Rates can vary depending on property and how you plan to use the Virtual Tour. Once the photographer has uploaded the Virtual Tour onto your Google+ account, you will have access to a widget called Google Photo Sphere, that can be places on your website to show off the Virtual Tour. Not only will this appears on your Google+ page, but Google will also incorporate it into their other services like Google Maps, Places and Street View. The more places this can be found the more your Hotel will stand out from the competition.