Will Visual Search Revolutionize Hospitality?

Posted on Posted in Marketing, News

Last year, Chevy released an ad where people were asked to rate the 2016 Cruze using only emojis. The ad wasn’t received well, but the idea of focusing on emojis was solid. Modern day communication is incredibly visual with memes, emojis, pictures and videos a constant part of our lives.

It comes as no surprise that a new search engine is taking advantage of this trend by letting users find hotels based on visuals!

 

The Hotel Search of the Future?  

Yellowroom was developed by Marcel Ruijken and Marc Vekemans from the Netherlands. The site uses artificial intelligence to allow users to search for hotels by “visual experiences” rather than through traditional parameters like price, stars and amenities.

For example, rather than plugging in a search like “4-star hotel for less than $299 in Chicago with a pool” you’d search for “Romantic sunset in Chicago.” The site, based on technology developed with the University of Amsterdam, then returns hotels that feature those types of images on their website.

The initial idea for the site came from the question “What if I wanted to book a yellow room in New York City?” Cofounder Marcel Ruijken puts it this way “We wanted to be able to search for a visual experience: a yellow room, a rooftop pool or a huge suite.”

Currently Yellowroom allows for users to search for rooms based on both what the room looks like inside, and what types of view it gives access to. For example, “Spacious Bedroom” or “City View From Above” are both valid searches.

Ironically, right now users can’t search for “a yellow room in New York” as the beta version of the site is restricted to destinations in Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Singapore, China and Japan. However, hopefully once the sites move out of beta testing the areas will expand.

 

Takeaways for Hotel Marketers

The existence of Yellowroom highlights the importance of visuals in hospitality but it also speaks to the importance of selling an “experience.”

Site co-founder Marc Vekemans, in an article from hospitality net, puts it this way “I think there are more people with an open intent than people that know exactly where to go on holiday.” Travelers today have some ideas of the experience they want, but not exactly where they want to stay. This idea is reminiscent of Airbnb’s marketing that focuses heavily on the idea that people get a unique and authentic “experience” when staying at an Airbnb.

Hotel marketers must wake up to the fact that they need to sell their hotel as an experience and one of the best ways to do that is through visual communications. Guests clicking through a well designed ebrochure with beautiful pictures are going to be able to imagine the experience they will have at a certain hotel much more so than if they were just reading about amenities on a website. It’s the same reason luxury hotels still invest in printing brochures on high quality paper with glossy lamination. People associate those things with a luxury experience and the marketing materials functions as a preview of that experience. If you need help communicating your hotel or resorts experience in an effective, visual way send us an email!

This post brought to you by a nice cup of Eight O’ Clock Coffee… our office’s coffee of choice.

 

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