Travel booking app Igoroom has revealed that Six Senses, Shangri-La and Soneva will be among the ‘early adopter’ hotel brands embracing VR bookings. Jenny Southan reports

Launching soon, Igoroom has revealed the “VR vanguard” of forward-thinking luxury hotels that will be featured on its app, which uses 360-degree virtual reality resort tours to entice guests to book. In addition to Six Senses, Shangri-La and Soneva properties, Igoroom will also be working with Hyatt and Kerzner International; Dubai’s Atlantis, the Palm; and Cora Cora and Joali in the Maldives.

James South, CEO and founder of Igoroom, says: “Thanks to Igoroom’s unique technology, potential guests will soon be able to explore – and get excited about – these world-leading, forward-looking luxury resorts at the crucial decision-making stage like never before.

“With our 360-degree gyroscopic VR content, consumers can check out the features and views that really matter to them, whether that’s the layout of their room, the bathroom amenities, the views from the sun loungers… even the underwater landscapes of the resort’s house reef – bringing the sense of wonder back to the booking process.”

How is Igoroom monetising the app? South tells Globetrender: “Much like the current generation of online travel agents, Igoroom will generate revenue by taking commission on bookings made through the app.”

In 2019, a study by PwC found “at least eight of the global leading hotel chains have already implemented VR experiences in their marketing strategy” and interestingly, “hotels that are using virtual tours are getting up to a 135% increase in online revenue.

South says: “The Covid-19 pandemic has noticeably hastened the development and rollout of forward-looking technologies and whilst home adoption of virtual reality has largely been driven by the gaming industry, the travel industry is increasingly realising the potential of this technology.

“Increasingly, travel consumers are looking to purchase experiences, rather than products, and VR offers an effective and engaging way for hotels to provide a ‘try before you buy’ experience. This creates a much more seamless booking journey, where the user can explore a variety of rooms and facilities in a hotel, compare room categories, and seek out key information all in the same place.

“As consumers demand more unique and interactive content, hotels must synchronise with changing guest behaviours to stay on top and attract new business.”

Kyp Chalambous, vice-president of sales for the Atlantis, the Palm, says: “We’re very excited to partner with the Igoroom team, who embody the same forward thinking and pioneering spirit we challenge ourselves with every day.

“Innovation is at the heart of the Atlantis brand DNA – whether it’s our new digital room key, Atlantis app or wearable technology at Aquaventure, we’re continually embracing technology to enhance the guest experience. We have no doubt that Igoroom will revolutionise current guest booking behaviour and we’re thrilled to be one of the launch partners for this exciting project.”

Deepshikha Sehgal, director of revenue optimisation SEAA for Shangri-La Group, says: “We are excited to partner up with Igoroom to offer our customers a unique shopping experience through VR content. We piloted our first property in Malaysia and results are impressive – the quality of content is impeccable.

“VR is certainly gaining popularity and is probably the future with millennials and GenZ as target audience for many industries. Applying this to travel/hotels is certainly thrilling and I think a niche that’s yet to be tapped. It’s really going to elevate the customer experience while selecting their next stay.”

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