Delta Hotels by Marriott is becoming the first hotel chain to introduce 3D photography across its entire brand.
Greg Durrer, global brand leader, Delta Hotels by Marriott, says the project will serve as a game-changing advertising differentiator. "We are comprehensively thinking about this from the consumer to the back of the house."
Developed with technology partner Matterport, the hotel chain is currently scanning all of its properties with a specially-equipped camera that will produce 3D views of hotel rooms, as well as across the property, including the fitness center, meeting spaces, and lobby.
"Photos can lie or at least they don't give you enough information," says Christopher Howard, senior director, business development, Matterport. Adds Durrer: "With meeting or events, sometimes it is hard to have a personal visit or walk around, now you can know exactly what you are going to buy."
These highly detailed images enable viewers to explore rooms or experience a "doll's house" look where they are standing outside of the space. When the models were paired with Google’s Street View technology, Delta Hotels’ models were, per Howard, “more nuanced.” They had to be stripped of complexities to match Google’s technology.
A 3D Gallery app will provide a direct link to all enhanced models for properties to use during sales
and business meetings. Select sales managers will be equipped with both virtual and augmented reality technologies to enable viewers to have a "truly immersive experience." Prospective brides, for
instance, will be able to adjust and view an empty ballroom complete with buffet tables and chairs.
The first phase will launch in February during a webinar with all franchisees. Delta Hotels will then track and monitor feedback and results.
“This data capture will enable hotel operators to adjust this investment accordingly,” says Durrer. The service may turn out to be more appropriate for business conferences rather than weddings or reunions.
The second phase will be more consumer-focused, enabling potential guests to experience the 3D images themselves before booking the rooms via the Delta Hotels website. Later, Delta Hotels hopes to work with third-party partners, like Expedia and TripAdvisor, to embed the images on their respective sites.
The technology also serves as an competitive advantage for one of the first major new hotel chains to be introduced on a massive scale. Marriott acquired the Canadian-based chain in 2015, but now operates 49 locations in North America and one in China. There are 41 new openings planned during the next 18-24 months.
The photography push is in line with Delta Hotels' target traveler. This middle-of-the-market brand seeks to deliver everything Millennial-aged business guests need and eliminate what they don't, such as expensive room furniture or room service. "They seek location, reliable wi-fi, and two free bottles of water. Little touches," says Durrer, underscoring the brand's tagline, "Simple made perfect."