RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • In the US, the meetings and events industry accounts for $330 billion a year.
  • Accenture partnered with Qualcomm, IHG, and InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown to pilot an XR event planning tool.
  • Hoteliers estimate the tool, which improves researching, configuring and booking event space could shorten sales cycles and decrease booking costs.
  • In addition, focus group feedback and market analysis shows hotels could see increased revenues of up to 8 percent.


Bringing event rooms to life

Accenture XR Event Planner is an immersive, collaborative and interactive augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR) solution piloted in partnership with Qualcomm, Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) and InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown.

In the $330 billion annual US meetings and events industry,1 booking event space is a slow and expensive task, often requiring event planners (representing corporate or individual buyers) to travel to multiple locations and communicate with geographically distant clients—a process that can take up to six months to complete. The lengthy timeframe to close a sale results not only in lost hotel sales opportunities, but also increases booking costs for both hoteliers and event planners.

The XR Event Planner solution extends the digital consumer journey to include mobile, mobile AR, AR glasses and VR headsets—enabling event planners, buyers and hotel sales staff to visualize, customize and move through event spaces remotely and collaborate throughout the process. This solution can significantly improve the way hotels sell meeting space, while supporting sales of associated hotel rooms, and food and beverages.

Focus group feedback and market analysis shows hotels could see increased revenues of up to 8 percent. In addition, hoteliers estimate being able to reduce sales cycle time and decrease booking costs.

XR Event Planner | Accenture

Accenture teamed with Qualcomm and IHG to reinvent how hotels and event planners view, plan, and book event spaces.

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“XR Event Planner is a super exciting and innovative app that brings our hotel directly to customers wherever they are. It will help us convert prospects to contracts more rapidly. Using the immersive experience, we can bring our meeting rooms to life in 3D and collaborate in real-time with buyers and event planners to modify a room configuration and flow.”

— Carolyn Harber, Director of Sales and Marketing InterContinental Los Angeles, Century City at Beverly Hills

Extending the digital customer journey

Today’s consumers increasingly demand hyper-personalization and authentic experiences in real-time while collaborating with friends and colleagues. This is especially true of the event planner demographic, more than half of which are Millennials and Generation Y, who find emerging technology tools appealing and expect brands to offer these types of immersive interactions.

Hotel companies can push the boundaries through Extended Reality (XR), comprising AR and VR technologies, by simplifying the process to research, collaborate and book event rooms through an interactive and customizable virtual guide to meeting spaces. This approach—which extends the digital consumer journey to include XR—is an important time-saver and cost-saver for event planners, hotel sales staff and buyers, as well as a brand distinction for responsible hotel businesses in a carbon-conscious world.

Bringing the hotel to clients—anytime, anywhere

The XR Event Planner pilot solution, powered by Qualcomm technologies, recreates the iconic Hollywood Ballroom in the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown in 3D—including architectural features, layout, lighting, carpet design, table settings and fabric patterns.

Hotel sales staff, event planners and buyers can collaborate side-by-side or in separate geographic locations using mobile, mobile AR, AR glasses and VR headsets with each device providing different levels of immersion in the space. Together, they can configure the ballroom and layout in real-time, using XR Event Planner to modify room layouts, toggling between table and chair configurations, stage placement, decorations and lighting—all while adding notes for colleagues or the hotel set-up crew.

VR Headset

Able to immerse fully in the environment, walk around space and judge the placement of objects and details of the room accurately. Engaging experience for tradeshows. Easy to ship to a client. Best for display role (in person or remote) while phone will be main device used by a connected presenter.

Nreal Glasses

Able to quickly see set-ups and modifications in a light, open and familiar form. Comfortable and easy to travel with or to ship to a client. Best for display role (in person or remote) while phone will be main device used by a connected presenter. Can add annotations using voice recognition without having to type.

Mobile AR

Can be the “ambassador” device from which the hotel sales staff can screencast set-up and modifications in real-time to clients that might be in the same room, at a conference, in their office or in a different part of the world. Ideal for starting the initial browsing process and toggling through layout options on the phone.

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Virtual experiences that create real results

Traditional digital consumer journeys need to be modernized and extended to account for what people now expect when interacting with a company or product. Consumers want to be immersed in a situation or an experience, as if they were physically present. They also want to be able to manipulate products from the comfort of their own home or office. And they want to collaborate with others while doing it.

Companies need to create new XR touchpoints that extend the typical web and mobile channels to mobile AR, AR glasses and VR. The experience and functionality should be tailored to the key strength of each device—ease of interaction and familiarity in mobile AR; deeper engagement, portability and ease of usage with AR glasses; and full immersion in VR. This approach will help strengthen a company’s appeal and differentiation while increasing customer loyalty.

XR Event Planner benefits include:

  • Overall increased revenue for hotels and hotel companies
  • Improved consumer trust through collaboration
  • Faster, more efficient booking process
  • Shorter sales cycle
  • Reduced booking costs for hoteliers as well as event planners and buyers
  • Increased event room bookings
  • Improved brand affinity through innovation
  • Overall increased revenue for hoteliers

XR Event Planner as viewed through Nreal glasses

Extending the digital consumer journey with XR

What does the future digital omni-channel consumer journey look like in your industry? What front-end design and build components will be required? What data and services will enable the back-end platforms that support these consumer journeys? What functional elements will fit the right device, platform or touchpoint? What are the implications for the creation of 3D content/assets and the associated pipeline?

  1. Analyze the entire consumer journey—Understand how and where XR can enhance an experience and relationship for both the consumer and the brand.
  2. Balance the interactions—It may be possible to include multiple XR touchpoints into the omni-channel journey to enhance and extend the non-XR touchpoints. But choose the right functionality for each touchpoint.
  3. Build for continuous functionality—Enable companies or consumers to use the XR solution repeatedly in their day-to-day roles versus “one and done”
  4. Deliver experience with purpose—More than just a brand marketing experience, XR should support a broader outcome like a sale or qualified lead.

1 The annual revenue generated from the US industry is split between 1) direct spending for meeting planning and production; 2) sales of associated blocks of guest rooms, food and beverages and tourism services.

Raffaella Camera

Managing Director, Global Head of Innovation & Market Strategy – Accenture Extended Reality (XR)

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