If mobile 360°, virtual and augmented reality are the future, then Silicon Valley-based Advrtas, part of Outlyer Technologies, is making sure it's there to ride the tide in.
In fact, it was among the global startups featured at June’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Hosted for 64 years by the southern French city best known for its yearly film festival, the annual innovation event attracts not only Hollywood royalty, but also the best and the brightest in business and global finance.
Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg were both speakers this year, as were Dame Helen Mirren and Director Ron Howard.
Advrtas is self-described as "an end-to-end emerging technology ad solution," and the company’s first foray in the travel industry has been a campaign for Business Events Denmark. Here, HOTEL MANAGEMENT talks to SVP Marketing & Strategic Development Laura Barton about how the hotel industry can leverage this new technology.
1. How does this platform create cost-efficiencies for a hotel client?
The Advrtas platform eliminates the need to invest directly in VR technology. There seems to be a misperception that building content for 360 degree and mobile VR advertising and marketing is cost prohibitive but this is not the case.
Another misconception is 360° ad experiences have to be video. 360° images can be used as well and are sometimes better. Our platform also enables brands to use existing 2D assets to create engaging 360° ads, eliminating any cost barrier to entry.
The same content used to create an immersive 360° ad can also be used for corporate sales, convention planning sales and for wedding and event planning. For example, instead of traveling to trade shows or clients, sales reps can easily share a link to a 360° experience(s) of their property.
Is Virtual Reality Next Big Mobile Trend? New Advrtas VR Ad Format Boasts Best Engagement https://t.co/6X8ykGoaOd— peggy anne salz (@peggyanne) March 7, 2017
Our technology also comes with one-touch VR mode, where the experience can be viewed in VR via a Google Cardboard or similar headset. So sales reps also have a new marketing and sales tool in their hands. They can easily and cost-effectively have company branded cardboard headsets made so prospects can view the property in VR for the cost of cardboard.
Hotels can also feature the same 360° ad content on their website as a marketing module or widget, engaging consumers with an immersive 360° ad then driving them to a more robust experience on their website.
2. How can these ads improve engagement rates on a hotel’s website and how can working with a premium private marketplace help drive direct bookings for a hotel?
These ads are sticky. We’ve been running several campaigns for the travel vertical with big players and they’re experiencing engagement rates on mobile and desktop that are significantly higher than traditional rich media ads, seeing numbers like 85-percent engagement, view time averages up to two minutes and click-through rates of 2.98 percent and higher.
As far as a premium private marketplace, hotels get the ability to be part of their own marketing strategies in that they are able to participate in where their ads are being shown. They can do advanced geo-targeting and retargeting as well.
3. Beyond VR tours of a hotel, does this format lend itself to other dynamic and creative ways to showcase a hotel?
We like to think that there are no limits to 360 VR ad formats and marketing modules can lend themselves to other dynamic ways to showcase a hotel.
4. The hotel industry has gained a reputation as being antiquated when it comes to technology and many hotels still don’t prioritize mobile. So how do you plan to overcome this challenge to your business?
Mobile is the future, but we can help hotels engage their consumers today, with better levels of engagement, view times, interaction rates, and click-throughs on any device. So while properties or hotel brands that are late to the mobile game pull their mobile strategies together, they can still leverage today's technology today via desktop and anticipate better results than the traditional ads they have running.
Ultimately, it’s about elevating and strengthening the consumer-brand relationship to new heights and reaching people where they are.