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Lessons from Online Retailers


Visual Merchandising is a key factor in online commerce.
Some of the most significant early advancements in online merchandising have occurred in retail. That’s not surprising. The retail industry pioneered merchandising long before the arrival of the Internet.

Retailers ranging from J Crew to JC Penney to QVC are displaying products with high definition photos, multiple camera angles, zoom and full-screen features, and video as well as compelling and evocative copywriting tell the story of the product and make it stand out.

Successful Online Retailers

Hotels are now taking these ideas seriously and actively applying them. Take the Intercontinental New Orleans. This hotel has incorporated photos, videos, virtual tours and enticing copy that capture the traveler’s experience.

VBrochure Multimedia Viewer Full Screen HD


In a series of videos, Michael Beninate, the hotel’s chief concierge, guides you through the experience of visiting New Orleans. “It’s an honor and a privilege to show you some of my favorite places in this extraordinary city,” he says.

VBrochure Multimedia Viewer with Video


With soothing jazz in the background, the camera takes you through some of the city’s key attractions including museums, restaurants and shopping districts as well as lesser known clubs for music. Such efforts give one a sense of not only the experience of a hotel, but the city itself. But, most importantly, they give prospective guest a sense of trust that his or her experience will be a positive one.

Download the white paper: What Online Travel Shoppers Want »

 
 

Maximizing the Value of the VBrochure Multimedia Viewer


Studies prove that having a presence on third-party travel sites increases reservations through the hotel or chain’s own channels1 and conversion rates are the highest when travel shoppers view hotel virtual tours and video during the travel planning process.2

One of the most significant benefits of the VBrochure Multimedia Viewer is the ability to enhance your hotel’s presence on multiple channels and drive more bookings. But, it can also be used in a number of different ways.

Customers also find that their Multimedia Viewers are effective when used on their own websites and email signatures. For example, the Las Terrazas Resort in Belize, has a link to their viewer on the homepage of their website and all of the staff at the resort have a link to it in their email signatures.

The Las Terrazas Hotel & Residences in Belize is currently using VBrochure Ultra Premium. Carolyn Stone, Director of Sales at the property says: “Prior to signing on for VBrochure Ultra Premium, we were missing a critical component of our eBusiness strategy – online content that engages travel shoppers and inspires them to book. Now with visual merchandising as part of the mix, we are better equipped to inspire and convert more travel shoppers.”

VBrochure Multimedia Viewer Link on www.lasterrazasresort.comVBrochure Multimedia Viewer on www.lasterrazasresort.com

VBrochure Multimedia Viewer Link in Email Signature

VBrochure Multimedia Viewer link in Email Signature

Request a web meeting with one of our Hotel Merchandising Consultants to find out how we help others like you succeed.

Sources:

1 Cornell University, The Billboard Effect: Online Travel Agent Impact on Non-OTA Reservation Volume, October 2009.
2 VFM Leonardo, Report on Results of Consumer Hotel Rich Media Viewing & Booking Conversion Study. International Limited Service Hotel Chain, April 8, 2008.

 
 

Online Travel Content is in Need of a Makeover


According to a September 2009 Forrester Research report, Poor Content Could Cost Travel eBusiness Money, hotels are particularly vulnerable to losing money due to inadequate online content.

Travelers have had enough of the generic, poorly organized, and confusing written and visual content on travel sites.

“Just half of US online leisure hotel guests are satisfied with the written descriptions and visual content they find online for hotel accommodations and public areas. This affects the bottom line: 38% of US online hotel guests say they avoid staying at certain hotels because the Web site lacks the photos, video, or written content that would make them feel comfortable.”


Who are these travelers?

They are considered content-sensitive travelers and here’s what Forrester knows about them:

  • Represent 45.7 Million US hotel guests
  • Young
  • Quality-focused
  • Take more trips
  • Spend more on leisure travel


Give your Online Content a Face-lift

Invest in rich visual content – photography, 360° spins and video. You need to have current photography and video on travel websites as they are gateways to your own sales channels. “According to Sapient, adding video to a travel client’s site more than doubled the number of people who went on to book the product.”

Marry your visuals with written content to provide context. “Context helps to shift decision making away from price and enables travelers to make better-informed decisions. Context means offering useful information and details and support making relevant comparisons between products and services.”

Ensure your content is reaching travel shoppers wherever they are and giving them the rich visual experience they demand. These days, travel shoppers use multiple websites while planning their trips including online travel agencies, social media and review sites, destination sites and more. In fact, a study by Google found that when planning a vacation, the average person spends 29 days doing 12 searches and visits 22 different travel sites.

Our VBrochure Online Merchandising System is the industry standard for delivering rich visual experiences to travel shoppers wherever they shop for travel online. Give your online content a face-lift today and stop losing bookings due to an undifferentiated, unappealing online presence. Visual merchandising with VBrochure is a proven way to increase conversions as much as 115% and drive more bookings.

Contact us
to learn more.

Source: Henry H. Harteveldt and Elizabeth Stark, Poor Content Could Cost Travel eBusiness Money, September 8, 2009.