Moving ahead of iPads and mobile requests, Marriott has introduced ‘VRoom Service’ for the guests at two of their prime properties in New York and London. They are offering room service delivery of virtual reality kit powered by Samsung Gear VR for the guests to experience ‘VR Postcards’. These VR Postcards are short 360 degree 3D tours to Andes Mountains in Chile, an ice cream shop in Rwanda, and the streets of Beijing and feature travellers sharing stories about the value of travel.
This isn’t the first time Marriott has made a move towards virtual reality. They joined hands with Framestore last year as well to come up with virtual teleporter, booths to give 4D experience with Oculus. Marriott has always been among the first movers when it comes to new technology. They were ready with their Apple Watch app the day it was launched and also introduced mobile check in & requests to simplify user experience.
Why the move towards VR?
Marriott has always tried to position itself as a hospitality brand quick in adopting new media technologies. The VR Postcard hardly serves them a strong purpose but makes them the forerunner in the race. Earlier this year, they announced a partnership with Netflix. The ‘VRoom Service’ will position them as a preferred choice for digital travellers. The number of millennial travellers is going up fast and with these innovations, they are trying to attract them towards the brand. Their ‘Get teleported’ activity last year, which involved setting up kiosks in public places, was focussed more on marketing but the VR Postcards are about offering the guests a new experience.
“Travel expands our minds and helps push our imagination,” said Matthew Carroll, vice president, Marriott Hotels. “Our guests want to be in inventive spaces that help foster their creativity and thinking. VRoom combines storytelling with technology, two things that are important to next generation travelers.”
What does VR hold for the industry?
VR is usually related with industries like gaming and entertainment but many brands have showcased how it can find a place in travel industry. Qantas joined hands with Samsung to offer the travellers a VR tour. The idea was to inspire more people to travel to Australia. Google announced Expeditions for virtual educational tours during the announcement of Google Jump project.
While content creation is tough, the viewers have become affordable. This has led to many adventure tour operators using virtual experiences to get more people to try out adventure sports for real. Travel inspiration has moved from text to images to videos and now a new breed of content creators is coming up armed with VR content. Very soon we might see more activities like ‘VRoom Service’ from other travel brands with a wider choice of content and viewing options.