"Over the past year, every visitor to our website has explored the VR360 content we've created, realizing the dual objectives of connecting consumers with the InterContinental Hotel in Kaohsiung through innovative technology and enhancing hotel operational efficiency," affirmed Robbert Manussen, the Area General Manager Taiwan at InterContinental Kaohsiung. With a resolute tone, he positioned their hotel as a "Smart Luxury Hotel" during its opening, aiming to pioneer luxury travel in southern Taiwan through innovation, technology, and sustainable development.

Figure 1. INTERCONTINENTAL KAOHSIUNG'S LOBBY
Figure 1. INTERCONTINENTAL KAOHSIUNG'S LOBBY
Figure 2. Robbert Manussen , Area General Manager Taiwan at Intercontinental Hotel Groups (IHG®)
Figure 2. Robbert Manussen , Area General Manager Taiwan at Intercontinental Hotel Groups (IHG®)

Manussen stated, "While implementing our digitalization strategy, InterContinental Kaohsiung anchors itself in innovative technology and smart luxury to maintain close interaction with customers. By observing the media behavior of the Z generation, particularly their enthusiastic engagement on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, we recognized the power of visual content in captivating potential customers. Therefore, we actively adopted cutting-edge VR technology to introduce VR360, showcasing our facilities and services to consumers with a fresh visual approach. This unexpected visual experience attracts customers and significantly boosts conversion rates in bookings.

Reviewing data from August 2022 to August 2023, the official website received approximately 400,000 visits, but VR360 content attracted 710,000 visits. Through the immersive VR experience, akin to being on-site, customers can explore the hotel's exotic fine dining restaurants, banquet and conference spaces, and facilities in a life like and comprehensive manner. This builds trust in the hotel, reducing reservation hesitations and significantly lowering the time cost for customers to visit and sign contracts. While technology provides substantial benefits to customers, it also dramatically reduces the costs associated with staff explanations and tours, offering the hotel management relying on staff for high-quality service a gratifying return.

Figure 3. ZHÁN LÚ CHINESE RESTAURANT
Figure 3. ZHÁN LÚ CHINESE RESTAURANT

Manussen emphasized, "In an era of interconnectedness with the assistance of artificial intelligence, providing all the necessary information for customers at a single touchpoint becomes a crucial task." In the planning of VR360 application, the duration customers spent within the InterContinental Hotel brand content significantly increased compared to the original website, signifying that customers willingly invest more time in the immersive experience, gaining in-depth knowledge about the hotel's facilities and services. In the booking system, there was also a notable increase in the conversion rate.

"It's a win-win result."

Figure 4. INTERCONTINENTAL  KAOHSIUNG'S FACILITY
Figure 4. INTERCONTINENTAL KAOHSIUNG'S FACILITY

InterContinental Kaohsiung's stride into becoming a "Smart Luxury Hotel'' through technological innovation is a significant step objectively assessed in Taiwan's hotel industry. The hotel boasts the largest social and digital database, with the highest level of user interaction. Manussen's seven goals for technological innovation—strengthening customer experience, increasing booking rates, reducing time costs for customers and the hotel, enhancing the hotel's innovative image, improving sales efficiency, and gaining customer trust—have been achieved one by one after the integration of VR360 as a litmus test for innovative service design on both the front and back ends.

The current success doesn't satisfy Manussen; for him, innovation is an ever-evolving process. He believes that both InterContinental Kaohsiung and iStaging should not be content with the status quo but should strengthen communication and discussion to understand customer needs and trends in technological development. He envisions iStaging's technology solutions being more open to integration with applications, creating immersive experiences that are both innovative and practical. In discussions with iStaging, he opens the box of imagination, and a constant flow of ideas emerges: allowing customers' metaverse experiences to be output as short videos for easy sharing on social media; integrating AI voice assistants in hotel rooms to plan personalized and exclusive local VR sightseeing routes for guests.

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