The hospitality industry has always prided itself on the ability to offer guests not just a room or a service, but a complete experience. Hotels in particular work hard to create a vacation environment that can provide everything a guest could want or need. Between the gym, restaurant, shop, and spa, a guest who wanted to spend an entire week in a hotel could have a complete, diverse, and rewarding experience without a single day repeating itself in activity or menu.

What hotels can’t provide inside their walls, they make available to guests through services, recommendations, and concierge travel management. In fact, hotels are notorious for laying claim to local tourist attractions surrounding their building like historical districts and shopping centers as part of their venue appeal. When guests do leave the hotel to explore, hotels go out of their way to arrange for transportation, offer directions and tips, and will even help bring you back to the hotel if you get lost (or drunk) while out adventuring.

To better provide these services hotels need more and diverse ways of communicating and owning the local experience. 

The Ideal Affordable Vacation

The reason hotels focus so hard on other nearby locations that are walking distance from their doors is because this appeals to the adventurous budget traveler in all of us. Why book in a hotel far from the action when you could save taxi or rental car money by walking everywhere you want to go? Hotels that are surrounded by museums, parks, shopping, and restaurants know that many of their guests come for the convenience and affordability of adventuring on foot instead of by vehicle. In other words, a hotel surrounded by attractions can provide the ideal affordable vacation solution, Even if guests spend a bundle on their room, services, and nearby activities, their vacation budgets are only going to things that are actively fun. Not taxis.

To promote their tourist-attraction neighborhoods, hotels traditionally include a gallery of pictures and venue descriptions on their websites and write articles about local venues in their business blogs. They recommend locations to customers and offer verbal, written, or quickly sketched directions. They might even have a glossy printed theme park style illustrated map. But what if there was a better way?

3D Maps for Hotel Tourism Promotion

Over the last decade, our ability to render both 360 video tours and realistic 3D renderings has increased massively. Paired with our advances in data management and mobile app technology, it is finally possible to use the “Show, Don’t Tell” principle for showing potential guests the local experiences surrounding a well-placed hotel. The one thing hotel promotion of local venues has been missing is actually capturing the feeling of walking the streets of the city. Static photos of storefronts and happy crowds don’t give future guests the full impression of walking between towering historical buildings sprinkled with sparkling modern venues. It doesn’t give them the impression of how conveniently close the city park is or how safe the sidewalks are for children between the hotel and the local museums. But 3D maps can.

Using a 3D map rendering or a sculpted 360° virtual tour, hotels can give guests the opportunity to explore ‘on foot’ before they ever book a room. Future guests can walk the streets, take in the sights, and even catch a glimpse of food vendors so realistic they can almost smell the hot street cart tacos and gyros. For travelers looking to immerse themselves in local culture and stay in a hotel walking distance from historical downtown areas, this is the perfect way to show that you’re not claiming restaurants three blocks away. That legendary steakhouse or renowned city aquarium really is right outside the hotel front doors.

Navigating the Local Attractions

Of course, enticing guests is only the beginning once you have created a 3D map of a hotel neighborhood. Being able to walk the streets in a web browser or mobile app is delightful enough, but with this technology, hotels can finally put aside the hastily sketched napkin maps to attractions and help guests to never get lost two blocks from the hotel ever again. With real-time GPS location markers, guests will be able to use the interactive version of the hotel’s 3D map first to plot their route to nearby attractions and then to find their way back to the hotel if they decided to wander at will enjoying the sights, smells, and local culture.

Of course, not all tourists fly solo. With an interactive 3D map program, hotels can also provide a platform for groups of guests to split up, coordinate routes, and meet back up again with ease because they are able to reference real venues, landmarks, and street signs in order to navigate. Using two devices, they can also simply set the same restaurant or shop as their destination and let the map take them to the meeting spot with ease.

An Edge vs Airbnb

As a closing note, it should also be mentioned that a fully immersive 3D tour of a hotel’s local neighborhood could finally provide the competitive edge the hospitality industry has been seeking against the rising popularity of Airbnb. The biggest appeal of Airbnb for many tourists is that hosts often offer to take their guests on live tours of local culture, cuisine, and attractions. However, with the help of a VR- virtual tour hotels can not only better show off the cultural opportunities they have to offer, but the hospitality industry can also offer guests the ability to be their own tour-guides. For more independent and introverted tourists, this is far more appealing than relying on a strange local.

Whether you are a hotelier or part of the hotel’s back-end technical and marketing team, consider the possibilities of a 3D map or virtual tour(s) for your venue. If you want to test the experience, simply take a walk outside the hotel and imagine how beautiful your neighborhood would be rendered in a 3D experience useful for both enticing new guests and guiding those already staying with you. You can even get two maps, one in the daylight and an enchanting alternative that allows guests to explore your local nightlife.