The Hotel Game Changer - Google Virtual Tours

For the technology industry, Google Business Photos is not a new phenomenon since they introduced the service way back in 2010. Many businesses have used the feature to help share an experience with consumers to give them a sense of what it’s like within their favourite company.

Hoteliers are now looking towards Google Business Photos as a potential game-changer within the industry. Allowing travellers to view a particular hotel as though they are there already through their computer, smartphone or tablet, giving them a virtual tour. This is offering them a new way to showcase their hotels to the world and enables consumers to view photos in a completely new light.

By harnessing the power of Google Street View technology, Google Business Photos will allow people to take a 360-degree virtual tour of any hotel that has introduced it.

Virtual tours are not new, but Google Business Photos has now given a platform which can be grabbed by anybody that wishes to show off their business. The most appealing aspect of Google Business Photos is the consistency in quality. Many businesses have tried their hand at creating a virtual tour experience, but nothing we’ve seen has even come close to the fluidity of Google’s.

The hugely popular Best Western International hotel chain has announced the launch of Google Business Photos for all 2,200 of its North American hotels. They aim to have all 2,200 hotels professionally photographed by certified Google photographers by the end of 2014.

Budding travellers will be able to find Google Business Photos for hotels through a Google Search result, Google+, Google Hotel Finder and Google Maps.

Best Western are not ones to shy away from digital advances, and this one joins the long list of developments they have made within this field.

“Consumer decision making in the hospitality category is increasingly moving online, and the internet is becoming more of a visually-driven medium. It made perfect sense for Best Western…” said Best Western’s Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales.

Kolbe Hotel Rome has already implemented Google Business Photos to their website offering a virtual tour through their beautiful halls, restaurant, garden and even the Deluxe room which features a spectacular circular Jacuzzi bathtub.

Figures showing whether or not virtual tours have helped increase bookings within hotels is yet to be seen, but it does look promising.

What are your thoughts on virtual tours? Would you be more inclined to book a room in a hotel after virtually ‘walking’ through their halls?