Google Preparing Virtual 360 Hotel Tours

Google is going to change up the way we choose what hotel to stay in when we vacation or travel for business. On Thursday, January 23, 2013 Best Western International is said to announce a launch that all its North American hotels will have virtual tours in Google Business Photos. Potential guests will be able to take a virtual tour before booking a room.

The same will be available with the Rezidor Hotel group, a parent of Radisson Blu, Radisson and Country Inns and suites. They have started a pilot program of virtual tours this month with its locations in Miami, Chicago, and Washington D.C. Metro.

Google’s Street View technology is powering the complete hotel tours in their Google Business Photos. Google introduced this concept in 2010 and the business participation has grown. There are a growing number of hotels joining in the virtual tours for guests.

What this will allow potential guests to look around the entire hotel as if they were in the building. Dorothy Dowling, the senior vice president of marketing and sales at Best Western believes that this will be a “game changer” in the way consumers’ book rooms when traveling. The tours will take the guest from front door and into any area they would like to see before they book.

Google trained photographers are the ones taking the shots that you will see when exploring the virtual tour. The photos will pop up when travelers search for hotels. They will appear in Google Search, Maps, Google+ and of course Google Hotel Finder. Travelers can take an interactive tour of the establishment using their computer, smart phone or tablet. Hotels also have the ability to link their own photos to the service.

Market research has shown that over forty percent of travelers do look at photos before making a final choice of what hotel to stay in when they travel. Because of this service from Google, hotel tour photos will be of much better quality, adding to the consumer appeal.

A number of hotels have already included virtual tours of their location, but travelers are saying that the photos from Google are much better quality. Travelers have more control over their tour by clicking arrows that will lead them in any direction around the room or hotel.

The future is here, Google Business Services will change the way travelers book their stay. Virtual tours allows guests to see the room before they book it.