Cotswolds boutique, the Old Stocks Inn in Stow-on-the-World, has seen a 6% rise in direct bookings to its website, two months after going live with VR technology.
The 17th century, 16-bedroom hotel introduced virtual reality tours online in May, partnering with View It 360 to enable potential customers to explore the property via the hotel’s website on a VR headset, PC, tablet or mobile.
The move was made to encourage customers away from the OTAs, with the increase in direct bookings equating to approximately a 6% shift in mix, year-on-year, saving the hotel around 20% of commission annually.
Jim Cockell, owner of The Old Stocks Inn and self-catering property The Old Stocks Bolthole: Parson’s Barn, said: “The unique design of our hotel is what makes The Old Stocks stand out from the crowd, so we wanted to harness View It 360’s virtual reality technology and allow our guests to see and experience the property for themselves, before they’ve even booked.
“Enabling people to do this means more of our customers are now booking directly with us, which means we see an increased level of customer engagement and also helps reduce commission fees paid to the big online agents.
“As a small business, these little tweaks can have a significant impact on the bottom line and we saw the return on investment within just two months of going live with View It 360.”
In January this year, Old Stocks Inn opened Parson’s Barn, a three-bedroom cottage, designed to target the self-catering market.