Hilton Waikiki Beach Launches VR Mobile App to Attract Guests

Waikiki Beach is one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist destinations. Competition is fierce, and with the building/renovations of several hotels nearby, my property – the Hilton Waikiki Beach – needed to set itself apart from the competition and hone in on what differentiates us from other properties. To do this, we became the first hotel in Hawaii to launch a stand-alone virtual reality (VR) app experience for mobile users.
We partnered with the New York City-based VR and immersive technology provider YouVisit to create this one-of-a-kind program. It provides potential guests with an accurate impression of what their stay will be like at the hotel. Available as a 360° video tour on desktop, as well as a fully immersive VR experience on headsets, the experience visually creates an extension of the hotel experience.
The desktop 360° experience offers advanced options from booking a reservation to simply clicking on “hot spots” to view video that lets the user envision the hotel as a wedding destination, or read historical background about the hotel’s original namesake, Prince Kuhio. The unique mobile app allows viewers to enjoy the experience in fully immersive virtual reality. By using their smartphones with common headsets like Google Cardboard or Daydream, viewers can look around and feel like they’re really there.
The virtual reality experience is the best way for us to show our guests the views they can expect – before they actually arrive here to the hotel. In the past we used pictures, presentations, and videos. But the VR experience allows our guests the freedom to take their own tour. We specifically wanted to sell our unique ocean views, which guests see once they step in their hotel room doors. With the VR technology, our customers can now see for themselves that our location, which is a block from the beach, is actually a huge benefit.
After this experience, we definitely see virtual tours as a popular marketing strategy. VR will become an expectation just as travelers browse review sites prior to booking. A referral from a friend or a positive review online is helpful, but with VR guests can experience the hotel for themselves prior to making the investment.

To experience the tour: http://www.youvisit.com/tour/116842/135070 
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