Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has become one of the first hotel and hospitality chains in the UK to make widespread use of the technology that allows guests to explore its hotels prior to booking.
Already sixteen hotels, including Macdonald Compleat Angler at Marlow in the heart of Buckinghamshire and Macdonald Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh, can now be explored through 360 degree online tours and by the end of 2018 that figure will have risen to around 20 hotels and resorts in the group’s portfolio.
It can be difficult to fully appreciate the opulence and comfort levels of the bedrooms, bars and restaurants without actually visiting them, but the new tours bring the hotels and resorts vividly to life.
Using high resolution photography and infrared technologies developed initially for the residential real estate industry, guests can now click on the hotel website then walk through the front door, explore the lobby, bars and restaurants, see the full range of bedrooms and even take a stroll in the grounds. It is a real taster of what is on offer and one that delivers not just the layout, but also the ambience.
At Macdonald Portal Hotel, Golf & Spa near Chester, guests can step into the spacious lounge, with its comfortable seating areas, smart bar and terrace overlooking the grounds. Clicking on the hotspots at reception provides views of the full range of bedrooms. There are tours of the function suite and meeting rooms, along with views of the well-equipped gym and enticing swimming pool. Guests can even step outside for panoramic views of the golf course and the grounds with their spectacular water feature.
In all the tours the information hot-spots that appear on screen allow for direct booking of rooms and restaurant tables, while the inclusion of floor plans gives conference organisers a unique tool for planning seminars, arranging accommodation for guests, locating break-out sessions and hospitality.
Lyn MacDonald, Group Marketing Director for Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, said: “At Macdonald Hotels & Resorts we are embracing this fantastic technology to provide our customers with a more interactive and immersive experience online. By using state of the art photography and filming techniques, we’ve managed to bring the hotels to life, with our 360 degree tours, to provide an excellent taste of what guests will experience when they arrive.”
Keith McMahon of Venue View Virtual Tours, who is working with Macdonald Hotels & Resorts to create the online tours, said: "The benefits, from significantly increased meetings and events business to more direct room bookings, is significant.
“Meeting and event organisers can now instantly see multiple setups and layouts in 3D, as well as being able to explore all rooms in detail without having to visit in person. Independent travellers are also able to view facilities and now have a clear idea about the hotel and bedrooms before arrival.
“The high quality 360 photography and 3D walk-through gives hotels complete control over their own imagery, meaning customers visit their website to view and book directly rather than going through Online Travel Agents.
“Macdonald Hotels & Resorts is leading the way in using this technology to enhance the guest experience and to facilitate bookings and it is setting a new industry standard."