Accenture and Qualcomm Technologies Inc. have collaborated with InterContinental Hotels Group to pilot a solution that uses augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to reinvent the event planning experience.
Developed by the Accenture Extended Reality (XR) practice, in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, the XR Event Planner solution places event planners, buyers and hotel sales staff side by side in a virtual reconstruction of an event space, allowing them to remotely envision and configure the layout in real time. Piloted at InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, the proof of concept recreates the hotel’s iconic Hollywood Ballroom in 3D, including accurate reflections of architectural features, layout, lighting, carpet design, table settings and fabric patterns. Users can modify room layouts, toggle between table and chair configurations, stage placement, decorations and lighting — all while collaborating remotely and adding notes for colleagues or the hotel set-up crew.
The solution represents an important step toward addressing challenges within the meetings and events industry, a $330 billion annual market in the U.S. alone. Currently, booking event spaces can be a slow and expensive undertaking, requiring event planners to scout geographically distant locations. The lengthy timeframe to close a sale results not only in lost opportunities, but also increased booking costs for both property owners, event planners and end buyers. Feedback from focus group testing and market analysis that Accenture conducted shows that the XR Event Planner could increase hotel revenue by up to 8%. In addition, hoteliers estimate it could reduce the sales cycle time, decrease booking costs, and improve brand loyalty and brand affinity, particularly with millennials.
“Collaborating with Accenture and Qualcomm Technologies on the XR Event Planner pilot has demonstrated the power of augmented and virtual reality technologies in hotels,” said Jeff Edwards, senior vice president, global hotel and owner solutions, InterContinental Hotels Group. “This tool equips hotels, such as InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, to close event sales even faster and increase productivity, while simultaneously helping clients experience event spaces without having to travel, in a new, dynamic way that brings the event to life during the planning process.”
Designed to be used across multiple devices, including mobile phones and tablets, the pilot solution extends the traditional consumer digital journey from smartphone AR to a more immersive head-worn device, including Nreal AR glasses and HTC Vive Focus Plus VR headsets — both powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Platform.
Raffaella Camera, global head, innovation and market strategy, Accenture Extended Reality, said, “The Accenture XR practice is continuously exploring ways to reimagine how people and organizations alike interact with the world around them through the latest immersive technologies. Our XR Event Planner is a prime example of this principle in action, with the potential to fundamentally transform how the event planning industry operates.”
For more information on the XR Event Planner, please click here.