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Embracing Virtual Reality for Business Growth

Chapter 1: Introduction

Background studies

Due to stiff competition witnessed by most industries today, Virtual Reality has become a very important tool for organisations to gain consumer trust and also to build their business online presence. Today organisations/businesses are relying on customer reviews to attract consumers to their industries they believe that consumers are driven by their perceived value therefore they believe that when consumers see the reviews of other consumers who have tried the products of a given company they will be a move by the positive contributions consumers towards the products/services offered by an organisation. Most industries such as the tourism sector in the United Kingdom have shifted their attention to technology that include Virtual Reality (VR) to attract more customers to their business majorly during this pandemic season. According to the business analytics done in the UK, the researchers believe that VR is a very important technology that businesses can adapt to be able to improve their online business customer presence (Netland et al., 2020). It is also believed that VR will become a centre or a medium that will be used to do online marketing in the coming years due to the online growth of social media presence such as, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram (Marr, 2021). As a result of this very many companies in the UK have made major investments in VR as a new phase of business development.

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One of the industries/institutions that have adopted the use of VR technology over the years is the Tourism sector in the United Kingdom. This is because they believe that they can reach their customers wherever they are located in the world and with a realistic preview of the kind of services that the industries offer (Prnewswire, 2021). Through VR most have been able to attract most visitors to the most luxurious hotels and tourism sites because customers love what they hear from people and see online.

The online medium has been able to portray or bring a clear picture of how products and services of an institution look like. This type of technology has worked tremendously well for most hotels and tourism sectors in the United Kingdom. The interactivity, visualization, and immersion aspects of virtual reality technology can give clients virtual experiences in replicated tourism places to help in trip planning and decision making (Marr, 2021; Higginbottom, 2020). Because providing first-person experiences of areas aids in the promotion of such destinations, several tourism organizations have begun to use VR tools in their marketing and promotion campaigns.

Potential customers might experience staying at hotels, viewing city monuments, and travelling to the surrounding areas through virtual tours. As a result of this virtual reality have been the most popular technology that has been adopted by most industries in the United Kingdom. Also, digital companies in the United Kingdom have made a huge investment in technology (VR). Facebook has also championed Virtual reality technology recent by making huge investments in 11 VR technology companies. In 2017, Facebook 360, the company's first VR application, was released, allowing users to share 360° films and photographs (Fortune business insights, 2021). Google has also invested $300 million in VR start-ups since 2016. VR-branded content is expected to be worth $80 billion by 2025. VR is likely to become a key promotional tool, particularly in the tourism industry (Huang et al., 2019).

Problem statement

Today the word of mouth or printed media such as newspapers are not very much influential like they use to be at the beginning of time. Technology has changed drastically how business approaches their customers with different mediums that have been supported by technology. One of the most successful ways to generate internet word-of-mouth is through customer review platforms. As technology progresses and more services become available online, the ability to exchange information on customer experiences becomes a more valuable asset not just for enterprises to develop, but also for customers to make educated purchase decisions based on the experiences of other consumers (Yoon et al., 2021). According to Dewnarain et al., (2021) online customer review has greatly impacted tourism sectors and hospitality at large in the UK and the entire world.

However, there are not many studies that have been done on this aspect of consumer reviews, so still, businesses do not understand how consumers behave towards giving reviews about their experiences towards hospitality products. Therefore, the branding of companies has played a greater role in helping organisations acquire and dominate the consumer’s base of their products and services. According to consumer research, the legitimacy of the relationship between brands and consumer behaviour, as well as the conceptions' potential to aid in better understanding consumption, has yet to be completely studied (Yang et al., 2021). Following the facts pertinent to the topic discussion, the goal is further expounded on below.

Research questions

How does online review attract consumers to purchase hospitality industry services?

What is the influence of Virtual Reality on the hospitality sector?

Has virtual Reality created the desired virtual travel experience for the consumers?

Research objective

The objective of this research is to:

To conduct a critical review of literature on the consumer purchasing behaviour in the hospitality industry

To investigate the role of technology in modelling the consumer behaviour

To examining influence of Virtual Reality on the consumer purchasing behaviour in the UK hospitality industry

To appraise the findings then draw an inference on the correlation of VR technology and consumer purchasing behaviour in the UK hospitality industry

Chapter 2: Literature review

This chapter will discuss and present a literature review in form of theories on which the study is based. This literature review will help the reader understand some of the important factors that contribute to and propel consumer behaviour towards a product or service. Additionally, the chapter will also talk about the literature on how technology can influence the behavioural patterns of consumers.

Theory of marketing evolution

Traditional advertising speaks to the effect of a shift in power from suppliers to consumers, accompanied by a shift in the share of the pie. Providers had to use promises to entice and persuade consumers, which caused buyers to question an item or service before making a purchase decision (Sharma and Verma, 2018). The emphasis in traditional marketing is on the effort of establishing public awareness that an item or administration is accessible using mediums like TV, radio, and periodicals to reach large populations (Vlad, and Florin-Alexandru, 2020). This study intends to focus on the component of computerized advertising rather than traditional advertising. Late breakthroughs in innovation and the rapid advancement of the computerized environment have indicated that firms have required adjusting the approach they operate to accommodate the way clients associate with one another (Petty, 2021).

Consumer behaviour

Even though the total sales are low, the hotel industry is extremely aggressive. There are no actual upper hands, and the business has gotten far more aggressive as a result of the Internet's rise. This has resulted in the growth of internet trip planners who aggregate every single different hotel in one stage (Mehta, Saxena, and Purohit, 2020). While there have been few studies on the hotel business and brand image, one evaluation was conducted on the Iranian airline sector, analyzing the brand image and its role in influencing consumer purchase expectations (Voramontri and Klieb, 2019).

According to a review done by (do Paço, Shiel, and Alves, 2019) on Various Iranian aeroplanes findings revealed that clients' perceptions of the brand image have a large impact and play a key role in travellers' purchase goals. According to Ismagilova et al., (2021), brand image is also considered important in the hotel industry, since it may be viewed as a form of advantage when all other factors are equal. As a result, the research conducted by Voramontri and Klieb, (2019) reveals important findings concerning the impact of the brand and how it may play a key role in the long run by improving the organization's image in the eyes of customers.

Today people have adopted a very unique and very different way of consuming services from the tourism sector. Today consumers do not need to use the traditional form of getting or acquiring services, instead, they have taken the advantage of the different online platforms that have given them the easiest options of getting online services such as booking hotels rooms and reservations in tourism destinations that they intend to Visit (Bharwani and Mathews, 2021). This has changed how organisations and businesses conduct their image branding and how consumers chose the right tourism services. Today many people have visited online sites and have booked tourism services online intending to get the desired services from the given institutions. This show how important VR is to online consumers and how it would continue influencing people online (Lin et al., 2020).

Has a result several companies have their online agents who have been given the mandate of helping the consumers to book hotels online on a global level. Some of the famous online agents are but are not limited to, Hotels.com, Trip Advisor, and Trivago. These websites have helped many tourism sectors y offering or providing the general service that they offer including their prices (Flavián et al., 2021). Therefore, it is important to say that the Hospitality sector uses VR technology to give their consumers immense experience about their services, this has helped them to improve consumers trust towards their businesses and also helped to build strong relationships. As a result, online presence has been used as a tool to attract customers with different attitudes and interests in finding the right services they need from online services. Technology has helped the tourism sectors and hotels to improve their brand presence this most especially during this time that covid-19 has rampaged the world economy. Customer reviews have been used to popularise the hospitality sector and thus their pricing does not determine the kind of services they offer (Lee et al., 2020).

Chapter 3: Methodology

This section will introduce a depiction of strategy/method selection, research approach, ethics, data collection, and data analysis. Further discussion will focus on the review's validity as well as reliability, as well as limits and moral considerations. When adopting a single data collection, quantitative design is a study to consider (do Paço, Shiel, and Alves, 2019)

Research design and Approach

The study will follow an interpretivism paradigm and inductive research approach. Based on the interpretivist view of individual in a social sphere holding different point of view, this study will ground knowledge development on the assumption that participants have different perspective on a variable despite sharing settings being investigated. The approach will be mixed approach. It acknowledges the need to map statistically the influence of technology while at the same time seeking to have a deeper understanding of the whole concept and correlation between consumer behaviour and VR technology in the hospitality.

Data collection

The primary data target of this report is to get the opinion of the consumers concerning the use of VR technology in modelling customer purchasing behaviour in the hospitality industry. The target of this research is to reach a targeted population of 120 individuals in the hospitality hotel industry in the UK. After gathering data from the consumer the research will then use the randomised approach to sample the target population. For this research, an online questionnaire will be used. A Google forms will be created and distributed to individuals working in hospitality industry in the UK

Data analysis

The study collected from the respondents will be assessed for consistency before being translated into useful information. Then, thematic analytic tool will be used to analyse the gathered data. The tool is useful in drawing patterns that are then grouped into themes (Clarke, and Braun, 2014). Therefore, the collected data will be grouped into themes that will offer an insight into the correlation between consumer behaviour and technology- VR – in hospitality industry

Ethical consideration

It is stated that the moral thinking component of a proposal serves one of the most important objectives in preventing tendency, misunderstanding, lack of assent, nobility and respectability of the member, and general well-being of consumers or research participants. In alignment with that, we made sure that all the Privacy and confidentiality, and academic rigour and accuracy concerns were taken care of this is a disclaimer that will be indicated in every questioner.

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References

Abamu, B.E., 2019. Introducing investment promotion: A marketing approach to attracting foreign direct investment. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 11(4), p.91.

Bharwani, S. and Mathews, D., 2021. Techno-business strategies for enhancing guest experience in luxury hotels: a managerial perspective. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes.

Clarke, V. and Braun, V., 2014. Thematic analysis. In Encyclopedia of critical psychology (pp. 1947-1952). Springer, New York, NY.

Dewnarain, S., Ramkissoon, H. and Mavondo, F., 2021. Social customer relationship management: a customer perspective. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, pp.1-26.

do Paço, A., Shiel, C. and Alves, H., 2019. A new model for testing green consumer behaviour. Journal of cleaner production, 207, pp.998-1006.

Flavián, C., Ibáñez-Sánchez, S. and Orús, C., 2021. Impacts of technological embodiment through virtual reality on potential guests’ emotions and engagement. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 30(1), pp.1-20.

Fortune business insights, 2021. Virtual Reality (VR) Market Share, Growth | Research Report, 2021-2018. [online] Fortunebusinessinsights.com. Available at: [Accessed 10 December 2021].

Huang, Y.C., Chang, L.L., Yu, C.P. and Chen, J., 2019. Examining an extended technology acceptance model with experience construct on hotel consumers’ adoption of mobile applications. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 28(8), pp.957-980.

Ismagilova, E., Slade, E., Rana, N.P. and Dwivedi, Y.K., 2020. The effect of characteristics of source credibility on consumer behaviour: A meta-analysis. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 53, p.101736.

Lee, M., Lee, S.A., Jeong, M. and Oh, H., 2020. Quality of virtual reality and its impacts on behavioral intention. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 90, p.102595.

Lin, H.C., Han, X., Lyu, T., Ho, W.H., Xu, Y., Hsieh, T.C., Zhu, L. and Zhang, L., 2020. Task-technology fit analysis of social media use for marketing in the tourism and hospitality industry: a systematic literature review. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

Mehta, S., Saxena, T. and Purohit, N., 2020. The new consumer behaviour paradigm amid COVID-19: Permanent or transient?. Journal of Health Management, 22(2), pp.291-301.

Netland, T.H., Flaeschner, O., Maghazei, O. and Brown, K., 2020. Teaching operations management with virtual reality: Bringing the factory to the students. Journal of Management Education, 44(3), pp.313-341.

Pelet, J.É., Lick, E. and Taieb, B., 2021. The internet of things in upscale hotels: its impact on guests’ sensory experiences and behavior. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

Petty, R.D., 2021. Consumers and Complaints: Marketing Evolution Leads to Legal Innovation from Contract Clauses to General Fairness. Mapping Legal Innovation: Trends and Perspectives, pp.311-330.

Prnewswire, 2021. Immersive technology has arrived: AR and VR set to become mainstream in business operations in the next 3 years. [online] Prnewswire.com. Available at: [Accessed 10 December 2021].

Sharma, S. and Verma, H.V., 2018. Social media marketing: Evolution and change. In Social media marketing (pp. 19-36). Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.

Vlad, V.C. and Florin-Alexandru, L.U.C.A., 2020. Delivering Sustainability-Green Marketing Evolution. Network Intelligence Studies, (16), pp.169-179.

Voramontri, D. and Klieb, L., 2019. Impact of social media on consumer behaviour. International Journal of Information and Decision Sciences, 11(3), pp.209-233.

Yang, H., Song, H., Cheung, C. and Guan, J., 2021. How to enhance hotel guests’ acceptance and experience of smart hotel technology: An examination of visiting intentions. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 97, p.103000.

Yoon, S., Erdem, M., Schuckert, M. and Lee, P.C., 2021. Revisiting the impact of VR applications on hotel bookings. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology.


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