Shangri-La launches Oculus Rift sales tool

The hotel group claims to be first in the industry to fully integrate virtual reality technology into its worldwide sales process

Shangri-La has launched a VR tool to assist its global sales efforts.
Shangri-La has launched a VR tool to assist its global sales efforts.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has launched a virtual reality (VR) experience in a bid to be used as a sales tool.

The group has rolled out Samsung Gear VR headsets across all global sales offices and produced a video for over a quarter of its 94 hotels and resorts. Nearly half of the hotel portfolio will have VR videos available by January next year, with full roll out to be completed in 2016.

Powered by Oculus, the Gear VR headsets enable travel advisors, meeting planners and potential corporate clients to virtually experience the hotels and destinations around the world.

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They will be used as promotional and educational tools at tradeshows, industry events and sales meetings.

“Shangri-La is investing significantly in technology and the future of travel content, which is why we are embracing virtual reality on this scale,” said Steven Taylor, chief marketing officer of Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd. “VR is a revolutionary new sales tool. The technology has evolved so that it is now affordable, light and portable; virtual reality is on the cusp of becoming more mainstream.”

“Travel experts play a critical role in their fields and the traveller’s decision-making process. This is why our first VR efforts are focused on them,” said Taylor. “Their clients depend on them to ensure holidays, business trips and meetings are enjoyable and effective. Shangri-La’s VR experiences will enhance their knowledge about our hotels and their ability to sell with confidence to their clients.”

Shangri-La began developing virtual reality videos in May with Brand Karma and previewed ones of Shangri-La hotels and excursions in Ulaanbaatar, Lhasa and Shangri-La City at ILTM in Shanghai this past June. Video production was accelerated given the positive feedback in order to roll the headsets out to the group’s 17 global sales offices.

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