Recently I was invited over to my Friend Jeff’s for dinner. He mentioned that he recently had purchased a new VR (Virtual Reality) system and thought, while the kids were playing after dinner, the adults could take turns exploring his new toy. I was hesitant at first, as some of the POV video games makes me feel light headed and unbalanced. I’m not one to turn down an opportunity to try new technology, so after setting up all the proximity sensors, I slipped on the Oculus system and was immediately transported to another world. VR and AR (Augmented Reality) are two technologies that are changing how social media adapts and individualizes experiencesfor consumers.
While the experience wasn’t tailored to me, I did get a first-hand look at how realistic the experience can be through VR. The individualization of experiences for consumers is setting the tone for new ways to use technology. One company in the hospitality industry that has done this is Marriott International. A massive hospitality and entertainment company. They have long been using social media to help drive business performance but they also use it to help create experiences for their guests. Listening to their guests’ needs helps Marriott ensure that the guests’ every wish is fulfilled while they are in their care.
This use of technology at Marriott doesn’t just end with social media listening, it morphs into helping create unique experiences for their guests. Marriott recently launched The Teleporter where using VR and 3D technology has provided guests with an out of body experience. While Marriott is all about experiences, this new approach has hit new heights, from the black sand beaches of Maui to the top of Tower 42, one of the city’s highest buildings, in London.
The current use of VR had been applied across engineering, medical uses for training and education purposes. However, since the explosion of social media in advertising combined with the global digitization and technological revolution, marketers need new ways to engage with consumers. It’s only a matter of time that VR will begin to help companies in the food industry show how their products are made. Hormel Foods recently tested with #BlackLabelBacon and were going for an immersive experience. Think of an example such as a virtual fishing trip to catch fresh tuna or sea urchin dining on it at NOBU restaurant in New York. Consumers are demanding to know more and brands are willing to serve it up to further enhance that connection.
One other company that is using social media and Individualization is AirBnB. They are creating travel experiences for their guests and offer up add on services such as a day of kite surfing or cooking with a chef. Many of these types of experiences are offered through hotels, but now they have created a marketplace for that and their customers a la carte.
Lessons for Others
Consumers want to feel like brands know what they want, and not feel like they are being lumped into a group. People want to experience first hand where their food came from and who handled it. People are less trusting of big business today, so seeing is believing and for the modern traveler the individualization and use of VR will only continue to help businesses capture their guest’s attention. Social media will be the platform that takes in all the data and delivers it to the companies so that they can create these experiences tailored to you.
Industry: Technology, SaaS, CaaS
Name of Organization Contact: Brett Mellon - COO
Authored by: Linas Ruslys
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