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    Google 360 Virtual Tours now available for your website

    Google 360 Virtual Tours now available for your website

    Ever wished you could take your prospective guests by the hand and guide them through your hotel to show them just how high a standard it is? Now you can with Google 360 Virtual Tools.

    Ever wished you could take your prospective guests by the hand and guide them through your hotel to show them just how high a standard it is? Or wished you could show them what you mean about your exceptional facilities, interior décor and the welcoming look and feel of your hotel? Well, Google are offering something which is the next best thing to doing just that, online virtual tours.

    What are Google 360 Virtual Tools?

    Google Business Photos are 360-degree tours powered by Google Street View technology. Many businesses have used the technology since Google introduced it in 2010, but a growing number of hotel companies are now adopting it.

    Google Business photos take traditional photographs to the next level. The online virtual tours comprise of photos taken by photographers trained and certified by Google. Their still photographs are incorporated into 360-degree views using panoramic camera technology. The photos will appear in searches done for the hotel on Google Search, Google Maps, Google+, and Google Hotel Finder. The interactive tours will also be accessible on smartphones, tablets as well as the more traditional computers. The hotels also can link to the images from their websites.

    The power of photos

    The presence of photographs on your website already plays a key part in the decision making process of consumers as regards whether they make a booking with you or not.

    According to market research firm PhocusWright, 44% of travellers look at professional photos when choosing a hotel.  According to Douglas Quinby, Vice President of Research for PhocusWright, that is up 4 percentage points over last year. The presence of photos on your website therefore, is not something to be ignored.

    How will this help me sell?

    Google photos are reputed to be more consistent than traditional photographs and reputed to be trusted more by consumers because they are taken by a Google Certified Photographer. The advantage for consumer is that they have more control over the experience by clicking on arrows that will take them in various directions within the virtual tour, so that they can view the hotel from every angle.

    An online virtual tour will trigger a different emotional response in consumers in comparison with plain descriptive text on your website. Ultimately, an online virtual tour could potentially increase your chances of securing a booking, simply due to the powerful visual impact on the consumer who experiences it.

    From an Irish perspective, O’Donoghue Ring Hotels are at the forefront of the introduction of the Google 360 Virtual Tours into their online offering. Commenting on the success of the initiative at O’Donoghue Ring Hotels, Con O’Sullivan, Group Online Manager, stated,

    “We had conducted extensive research into how to keep consumers on our websites for a longer duration and looked at the various different ways we could trigger interaction with the consumer once they landed on our websites. We found that the Google 360 Virtual Tours provided consumers with an opportunity to interact with the page and to gain insights into the character of our hotels and the quality of our hotels at micro level.

    “In addition, the Google 360 Virtual Tours provide us with an opportunity to showcase specific areas of the hotel as they relate to specific sections of the website. For example we can show them specific rooms that have been set up for a wedding, right down to the quality of the cutlery and the linen, on the wedding page of our website. The Killarney Avenue Hotel already has a live virtual tour online on their website and the Killarney Plaza and Killarney Towers will be going live with their virtual tours at the end of next week. We look forward to measuring the impact of the Google 360 Virtual Tours on our online business in the months and years to come.”

    Find out more about Google 360 Virtual Tools

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