In 2012 Visrez was a digital marketing agency based in Dublin, Ireland dealing with clients in the tourism and hospitality sector. After reading a Wall St Journal article about how IKEA the Swedish furniture giant had made a switch from traditional photo-shoots to 3D modelling because of the flexibility and cost savings we wondered if a similar approach could work for meeting and event spaces.
Hotels typically used a combination of diagrams and professional photographs to market their spaces. Every time we’d ask a client if they had new event shots the answer was always.. “We are hoping to get new photographs later in the year”. It was not just about the cost. The logistics required for on-site photo-shoots are considerable and the best photographers are booked up months in advance. Spaces have be be blocked out, set up and prepared in advance of the shoot. Multiple set-up styles are not an option, rooms are photographed in one style only. When combined with the photographer’s fee, the full cost of producing on-site photos is very expensive.
So we contacted local interior design companies who provided 3D Modelling and quickly understood why 3D was not used in the hospitality industry. It was priced based on the square footage of a building so an average sized ballroom cost thousands. Believing there was opportunity we purchased two high-powered machines and started to learn how to create 3D Models in our spare time.
We went on site to take reference shots and learnt how to build models, add materials, textures and lighting. All our early efforts were given away free and although basic, clients loved the concept. Gradually we improved our skills and reached the point where we were getting paid for 3D service. At the time we packaged 3D Models into custom built iPad apps which were used in sales presentations and integrated into client websites. Other hotels began to take notice and referrals and enquiries started to come in for the product.
The App development cycle required a lot of client feedback so we phased out this product. We realised that 3D was what clients needed most so we made the decision to focus exclusively on 3D and develop a dedicated platform to manage the process.
The decision to focus on 3D quickly started to pay off with new clients from overseas. Many of these clients told us they had been searching for a product like ours for a long time. Some had even contacted local architects and received estimates for thousands of dollars for single models. We realised at this point why 3D was not common in the industry. It was because nobody ever figured out all the pain points to make it attractive to hotels and resorts. If we offered a high quality product at a fixed cost (which was crazy to anyone who knew 3D) without on-site visits or photo-shoots and managed through a custom built platform, we could provide this to clients worldwide.
At this point it was clear we needed a more robust platform to manage the 3D pipeline. When it came to building systems we had enough experience to know that the key was to get a basic system up and running with real live customers. As this was a side project we had to limit the feature set and ignore all non-essential items. Once the first version of the platform was live we were able to get real live feedback and prioritise the development process based on client activity.
Our objective was to create a platform which simplified the process of generating photo-realistic 3D visuals from order creation to asset collection, review and approval of files. As there would be no on-site visits, photo-shoots or face to face meetings, all communication, assets and approvals had to be managed online. Once the first version was up and running we could quickly identify areas which needed attention and prioritise those.
Visrez today is unrecognisable from the early days incorporating Virtual Reality, Interactive 3D Maps alongside our popular 3D Floor Plans of Meeting Spaces & Guest Rooms. Visrez has generated over fifty thousand 3D Visuals for clients across eighty countries. Clients can create their own orders, choose set-up styles and upload assets in their accounts. 3D Floor Plans can be downloaded in multiple formats or embedded directly from Visrez into client websites. The demand for 3D Visualisation has grown as more and more clients become aware of the many benefits of working with Visrez.