Technology will be a disruptive force in the hospitality industry in 2017. Hoteliers need to take proactive steps to sustain growth, Deloitte’s latest travel and hospitality industry outlook report says. Hotels face a more competitive environment due to online privacy accommodation aggregators flooding the increasingly mobile market with new inventory.

Hoteliers can boost their competitive advantage online by making better use of video marketing, which has emerged as the most important new marketing technology. Video marketing will claim 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021, Cisco projects, and has become essential to competing effectively online, especially on social media.

Here are three creative ways to showcase your hotel through video tours and improve your competitive edge against online rivals.

Drone Video Tours

Including¬†aerial footage of your property shot by drones is a great way to make your hotel’s social media posts more visual. Over the last few years, real estate marketers have found drone videos effective for selling properties. Hotel marketers have also been adapting drone aerial overviews to show off their properties to travelers.

An aerial drone video can be particularly effective if your property overlooks a scenic view such as an ocean shoreline. For instance, Barnes Creative Studios has used drone footage to promote hotel resorts in the Caribbean in places such as Kamalame Cay in the Bahamas and Cap Maison in Saint Lucia. Hapimag AG has used drone videos to promote its Sea Garden Resort in Turkey.

Both these videos also include aerial footage of their hotels’ outdoor pools. If you have outdoor pools or other outdoor features such as golf courses and gardens, these also make excellent candidates for aerial drone videos.

Drones aren’t limited to showing off outdoor features, either. You can use drones to highlight any part of your hotel interior that looks impressive from a bird’s-eye view. For instance, if your hotel has a lobby or dining room with a high ceiling, a second-story view of the ground floor, a balcony, or historic features, all of these can make impressive aerial views. Drones can also take eye-level views to simulate what it feels like to walk into your lobby and enter your room, giving your viewers a preview of the experience they can expect at your hotel.

Virtual Reality Tours

Virtual reality has emerged as another powerful sales tool for hotel marketers that is poised to revolutionize the hospitality industry, says VRMADA CEO and creative director Paulo Tromp. Virtual reality provides an immersive view of your hotel environment, adding a three-dimensional sense of depth that cannot be conveyed through traditional photography.

Marriott Hotels pioneered the use of VR in hotel marketing in 2015 by allowing guests to order VRoom Service where they could have a VR headset and headphones brought to their room. Marriott also tested letting guests send VR postcards from their destination, potentially a powerful tool for generating referrals. Since Marriott’s pioneering tests, Best Western has introduced virtual reality tours of all its North American properties, testifying to the value of this marketing tactic.

Augmented Reality Tours

Best Western has also been at the forefront of deploying augmented reality marketing, the hotel industry’s next big thing in tech marketing. Augmented reality, first popularized by Pokemon GO, supplements visual footage of scenes with GPS-keyed overlays that add captions, graphics, or links to the setting depicted.

You can collect footage for AR tours from any camera source, including smartphone cameras, drones and HD security camera systems. Lorex offers cloud-based wireless cameras that can be purchased outright with no monthly subscription required.

Best Western first developed its AR marketing tactics in partnership with Disney, leading to a 2015 rollout of an AR experience paired with the Disney Movie Experience. By late last year, hotels were using AR to gain a competitive advantage, Samsung’s blog reported. O

One way Best Western is using AR is to add overlays to street-level views of hotels in order to introduce guests to the locality surrounding a property. AR can similarly be used to showcase amenities, provide guides to local attractions, or even select rooms chosen from video previews. You can also use AR to add translations for foreign-speaking viewers of your videos.

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