It’s hard to keep abreast of all the innovation coming out of Israel – especially when there are some 6,000 active tech start-ups in Israel, according to Start-Up Nation Finder.
Here comes VDroom, an Israeli start-up launching a tech platform to provide virtual reality viewing for hotels, rental apartments like Airbnb, airlines and resorts – generating higher traffic and leading to more bookings.
If you’re subletting your apartment on Airbnb for a few days as you fly out of town on a European escapade, you may take a few standard photos to post on the site.
VDroom allows you to present a full panoramic, 360-degree view – and upload those tools on Google Images, to your Facebook page, or any other website. With a smart virtual tour of your hotel or venue, you’re more likely to get views, customers and revenue.
Virtual reality is an interactive, 3D-generated world that you can explore – one where you feel immersed with sights and sounds, as if you’re swimming with dolphins or exploring a cavernous castle.
“We all know that 360-degree images have become very trendy,” said VDroom founder and CEO Michal Hubschmann. “Technology is improving, software is improving – it’s allowed us to develop a player that enables us to engage the users in a very fast way, and in a high-quality way.”
VDroom also includes a smart digital virtual gallery to help fledgling firms improve their e-commerce game.
The start-up is targeting hotels, with the offer to upgrade room-viewing services. It estimates that a chain with 10 hotels – each hosting some 100 rooms – could upgrade to virtual reality and earn millions of dollars more in increased booking.
How come? Better image quality – and VR tools – can greatly increase customer conversion rates. And the VR can be fully interactive – with coupons and discounts presented to users who embark on a virtual tour of the hotel.
“In the old days, eight years ago, you’d start the virtual reality tour and end it. It’s an old player school and you can’t control where you’re going. What we’re doing now, you can fully control it… Because imagine if any user were able, for now, to show his or her apartment in a smart 360 degree platform? He’d get way more traffic.”
VDroom’s traffic estimates could not be independently ascertained – but the company claims that VR tools are more engaging and successful in making money than regular photos.
“We give to the businesses the most important tools they’re looking for – one of them is exposure,” Hubschmann said. “The second one is engagement that leads to conversion. Those are the two key elements that every business dreams of for getting a cost-effective price.”
Founded in 2017, VDroom employs six full-time employees from the central Israeli town of Petah Tikva, with additional photographers working in 33 countries.
The other advantage going for VDroom is that it dumbs down the process for making a VR site. Likewise, VDroom’s interface connects with most major tourism operators, including sites such as Trip Advisor.
For Hubschmann, who calls herself a “serial entrepreneur,” the start-up ethos comes from her Israeli roots. She previously founded a Dutch company, Easytobook.com, which now enjoys annual revenue of some €100 million.
“Unfortunately, there aren’t enough women in Israeli hi-tech,” Hubschmann said, expounding on the local scene. “But being part of the local ecosystem is a lot, because you’re connected to so many people who are have so much knowledge and know what’s going on in Silicon Valley – what are the trends and the directions we should head in.”