The Power of VR for the Travel Industry

The complete feeling of immersion that virtual reality can provide means that it can be used as a powerful marketing tool for the travel industry. The ability to be transported to another place and time in VR makes it the ideal companion for showcasing tourist resorts to potential visitors.

Traditionally, these kind of experiences were sold to consumers based on static images, promotional videos and customer reviews. Immersive technology now means that holidaymakers can “experience” their next travel destination no matter where they are in the world.

VR allows you to virtually experience a travel destination before committing to making a booking. You can now familiarise yourself with the sights and sounds of a luxury resort to ensure that it meets your expectations. Immersive technology can evoke strong emotions in the user far more easily than any travel brochure or website.

Travel agents have already used VR in the promotion of their destinations and achieved great results. The Thomas Cook 2017 Annual Report states: “They allow holidaymakers to experience the holiday without needing to set foot on a plane. Some say it’s a gimmick but it’s one that customers like. After experiencing the New York helicopter fly through sales at the eight stores increased by 28% while the Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship video led to a 45% increase.” Thomas Cook plans to introduce VR experiences at 17 more stores by 2019.

Virtual Tours

One of the most practical uses for VR in the travel industry is the ability to preview a hotel and hotel room. Instead of just looking at videos and photographs, walk around your room in VR, get a feel for the scale and luxurious details. A study for Omni Hotels found that when online visitors were offered 360 VR tours they were 67% more likely to book a room online.

Plan out your vacation activities in detail before setting out on your adventure. Preview the local golf course, go on a relaxing yacht cruise before taking an underwater deep dive to discover the exotic sea-life underneath the ocean’s surface in immersive 360° VR.

You can preview your airplane cabin, choose your seat, plan your journey through the airport and preview your choices of hire cars in virtual reality before making any bookings. Take a stroll on the beach as you see and hear the ocean waves rolling onto the tropical shore, order your favourite drink at the bar before sitting down to a five star dining experience in a luxury beachfront restaurant – all in VR.

The video below is a proof of concept revealed by travel software providers, Amadeus. Their vision is to combine the preview features of VR with the actual booking and payment process. As it states on their website; “the innovation allows travellers to spin a globe of the world, visit a destination, search for flights, walk through a plane to select their seat, check out different rental cars, and pay for their entire trip— all without leaving virtual reality.”

This article has only touched on the possible uses of VR for the promotion of vacation destinations. Immersive technology can also enhance the experiences of holidaymakers during their journey and add an extra ‘wow’ factor to existing destinations. You can read more about how immersive tech like virtual and augmented reality can be to used to improve tourist attractions by clicking the link.

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