As a student studying abroad, sometime homesick takes the better of me and leaves me unmotivated. Whenever homesick hits, I would look for virtual or webcam views of the streets back in Hanoi, Vietnam to relief the symptoms of homesickness. This idea has become more popular within the hospitality industry lately and thus, we will look into why it is a trend and how to successfully install this technology for your business to stay ahead of your competitors.
Webcam travel is the act of viewing places or attractions through a webcam, otherwise known as virtual travel. You can “visit” multiple attractions from all around the world by just a simple and quick search on YouTube or Google. It could be just a view from a surveillance camera. It could be a person holding the camera walking around, or it could be attached on a car to create the feeling as if you are the one who is walking/driving through the streets. Furthermore, it could also be far more advanced if it uses a 360° camera to get the view of a whole city for example. It could also be a series of 360° photos linked together like Google Street View. You can even join on a safari trip to explore the wildlife in Africa and enjoy spotting all the wild animals.
Due to the pandemic, traveling is restricted. Thus, many people look for another way to “travel” to further locations. Being locked up inside your home and could barely go out if it is not for your groceries could be unhealthy for your mental health. Therefore, a webcam or virtual travel gives you a temporary escape from your own house during the lockdown.
Webcam travel is affordable. You can join paid virtual tours online with tour guides to even learn more about the locations from locals. Or you can just be cheap like me and look it up on YouTube. Either way, it is convenient and inexpensive for people who cannot afford to travel halfway around the world.
Webcam travel also offers a wide range of selections for locations. You can go anywhere without worrying about tickets, bookings, and all the budgeting steps. There is a combination of activities you can choose to watch too! For example, look for a safari trip if you are not interested in walking around the cities, look for a museum virtual tour if you are interested in arts and history.
For those who are struggling to plan their vacations or holiday, a virtual tour can also be a very good way to conduct research. By experiencing the atmosphere, seeing what the locals do in the background, the crowded restaurant or street food stalls, the best café in town, etc. Paying attention to these little details, and you may get the best tips for your next trip.
We have seen many examples of businesses in the hospitality industry make use of this technology: museums, resorts, hotels, restaurants. Many hotels have installed 360° virtual tours to give the guest a taste of what they can get from the rooms, MICE facilities, wedding venues, etc. This is a powerful tool to sell your hotel.
For resorts, you can live stream the footage from your surveillance cameras to show the views of the resort, maybe the beach view or Mountain View, whatever that you think is the best view of your resorts. However, this could impose a problem of privacy as many guest’s faces will potentially show up. Therefore, be careful when it comes to this low-budget solution.
Pick up a camera, you can invest in a 360° camera even, choose the best view or any view you want to showcase to your guest, film it yourself! Make sure you have a plan of which view is the best during which time of the day. Be strategical about it! For example, if the café has the best view during the afternoon, set up the camera there to film at that time. If your beach looks the best during sunset, do not miss out on the opportunities! Have a clear plan of how you walk the guests through your hotels or restaurants. This way you can show them as much as possible but also keep some to yourself to tease the guests a bit. The goal is to make them curious about other amazing experiences that you might have.
You may want to outsource this virtual tour to a specialized company or a freelancer as it would save much time if you do not have a specialized technician. It will not only save costs but also be a quicker way to have your technology set up. Some teams in the Netherlands that we recommend:
Due to the pandemic, the use of virtual technologies has been increasing. It is important for the hospitality industry to keep up with all these trends. Else you would be left behind your competitors, especially when the industry rebounds. The lockdown is a perfect opportunity for your hotel to easily install the virtual travel technology as you can film with fewer guests, which avoid privacy issues. Non-crowded hotels are convenient for filming the views of most hotel room types and their views.