Marriott's Virtual Reality Transports Guests 'Around the World'
Vice President, Global Brand Marketing
Virtual reality has the potential to transform traditional marketing and advertising efforts into fully immersive experiences across different industries. In the travel industry, where experiencing a foreign location is the nature of the business, virtual reality can be particularly powerful. Michael Dail, vice president of global brand marketing at Marriott Hotels, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about the brand’s virtual reality endeavors.
eMarketer: How has your company used virtual reality to deliver immersive digital marketing experiences?
Michael Dail: We began our VR [virtual reality] journey with our Teleporter program in 2014, taking our guests to different corners of the globe via a fully immersive, 4-D sensory experience.
This year’s VR Postcards and VRoom Service program was an expansion of the Teleporter and was developed to be a larger stake in the ground for Marriott in the travel VR and the technology space. It allowed our guests to immerse themselves in other travelers’ real, personal experiences traveling to destinations around the world and served as a storytelling tool.
“VR Postcards and VRoom Service program ... allowed our guests to immerse themselves in other travelers’ real, personal experiences traveling to destinations around the world.”
eMarketer: What was the impetus for your company in creating immersive experiences? What goals were you trying to accomplish?
Dail: It’s part of a larger effort as a brand to inspire our next-generation travelers and to spark conversations about why people travel. We believe that travel expands the mind and helps to push our guests’ imaginations. VR Postcards and VRoom Service gave us the opportunity to combine industry-leading technology and storytelling in an effort to connect and engage with our next-generation traveler.
eMarketer: How do you distribute the immersive content to its target audience?
Dail: The Teleporter toured eight cities in 2014: New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. In the fall of 2015, VRoom Service was available via the headset, in person at the New York Marriott Marquis and London Marriott Park Lane properties for two weeks. The content is still available online and on Marriott Hotels’ dedicated channel on the Samsung Milk VR platform.
“Sixty-nine percent of participants in New York said this was their first experience with virtual reality.”
eMarketer: How have you measured the success of your immersive experiences?
Dail: We’ve received some great data, particularly from our New York program. Sixty-nine percent of participants in New York said this was their first experience with virtual reality, and 51% of the New York participants said that VR Postcards is something they’d like to see more of at other Marriott Hotels.
eMarketer: In what other ways does your company plan to employ immersive experiences in the near future, if at all?
Dail: We’ll gather data and guest feedback on the program and then use that data to determine how best to evolve or expand VRoom Service in the future.