The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced many new challenges for businesses across every industry. Companies have had to increase their creativity and resourcefulness, finding innovative ways to engage and serve clients. In that spirit of innovation, Cambria Hotels is leaning into technology by facilitating virtual site tours to continue driving group bookings for future corporate travel needs.
To learn more about these virtual tours, HT spoke with Janis Cannon, Senior Vice President of Upscale Brands, Choice Hotels.
- Where did the idea/inspiration for virtual tours come from? Who are they targeting?
We’ve had to find creative ways to engage and serve clients during this time, while prioritizing health and safety. Virtual site tours are one of those creative solutions for Cambria Hotels.
As a brand that caters to the modern business traveler, Cambria’s ability to connect with meeting planners and corporate travel managers nationwide is extremely important. Virtual site tours allow us to meet their needs as they begin to think about rescheduling postponed or canceled conferences and events. The tours provide clients with a comprehensive look at our properties’ unique offerings—from locally inspired details to versatile event spaces—all while adhering to social distancing guidelines from the comfort of their homes.
- How are the virtual tours conducted?
The hotel tours are conducted via Zoom video conferencing and participants are provided with a secure link to simply click to join the tour. Seasoned local Cambria sales staff typically showcase their Cambria hotels using an iPhone or iPad to walk participants through their lobbies, conference rooms and indoor/outdoor event spaces, guest rooms, and other noteworthy amenities the hotel offers including rooftop bars, pools/patio fire pits and our signature spa-inspired baths. Participants can also utilize the “chat” feature to ask any specific questions they may have, which sales staff will respond to in a live Q&A format at the conclusion of the tour.
One of the benefits of these virtual tours is that you don’t have to be a technology expert to bring them to life. It’s been a turnkey process for our hotel management staff, and a useful tool to help them drive group bookings for future travel needs.
- What are some examples of virtual tours that have already been conducted?
Some of our recent virtual tours include the Cambria Hotel Boston Downtown - South Boston, which features a stunning rooftop bar and 4,000 square feet of meeting space; The Cambria Hotel New York - Chelsea, located just blocks away from Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building and Times Square with three multi-function meeting rooms; and the Cambria Hotel Phoenix - North Scottsdale, which offers 360° views of Phoenix and amazing sunrises and sunsets from the rooftop, four conference rooms and a grand ballroom.
- What have been the overall results of these tours?
Cambria hotels have conducted 25 virtual tours during the last three weeks, hosting a total of more than 200 attendees from some of the largest corporate travel agencies and conference organizers. We have received positive feedback from participants and group inquiries. We anticipate that the tours will facilitate further conversations between clients and local sales teams to help secure bookings for future corporate meetings and events.
- Will these virtual tours continue once we are finally finished with COVID-19?
We know that travel and large corporate gatherings are going to look a bit different as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus far, Cambria’s virtual tours have been successfully resonating with clients and uncovering new efficiencies for corporate travel. As stay-at-home measures lift throughout the country, we will continue to listen to our clients and provide the tools and services they need to feel physically and physiologically safe and comfortable.