Virtual Reality is taking its place in different industries worldwide. While many industries are acknowledging the potential of Virtual Reality and taking steps to implement it in their systems- gaming, travel, and entertainment remain the top players. A study conducted by Greenlight VR shows that users expect maximum engagement in travel and adventure from VR technology. With such demand from users and prospective uses, the travel industry is taking massive steps in harnessing such technologies. Virtual Reality in travel is a way to enhance customer-centric marketing, something that is crucial to the success of any Travel venture.
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The Impact of Virtual Reality in Travel – What’s Going on?
1. Google Street View – Travel while at Home
Google’s Street View started far before the buzz on VR, AR, and mixed reality. It is a simple concept of getting a 360-degree view of places you want to peek into. Now with Google Cardboard in the game, you can just update your Street View app and enjoy the luxury of visiting different places from the comfort of your home. This technology is a great way to plan your travel for places to visit and make your journey worth the time and money spent.
2. Marriott’s Vroom Service:
Marriott (an exquisite hotel chain) launched its virtual reality service for its guests in select destinations. Guests are allowed to take a look at a vivid collection of travel destinations from Beijing to Chile using VR headsets. This service is available for a time frame of 24 hours to every guest. Using its “VR Postcards”, Marriott is taking steps to give a distinguishing experience to its customers and particularly to tech-savvy millennials.
3. Virtual Reality Booking Engine:
Navitaire a subsidy of Amadeus introduced the first Virtual Reality booking and search experience. Using special gloves and VR glasses, the user selects a destination on a virtual globe and books directly. The Booking Engine provides a system of renting cars and booking flights, making travel planning a decent experience in itself.
4. Virtual Vacations:
Companies like YouVisit and Littlstar are making virtual vacations an achievable dream. From a carnival cruise ship to Alaska, YouVisit has amassed a huge library of virtual travel media. You can think of this as the extreme version of Marriott’s VR Postcards. Littlstar, another company producing VR media on a large scale is giving YouVisit good competition. Though Littlstar is a full-fledged company, producing content for different verticals, it has a decent library of travel media to give YouVisit good competition. Companies like these will only emerge with time as VR gains its roots in the life of more and more people.
5. Virtual Reality in Museum:
Ventures like Boulevard are creating 360 degrees content for bringing art and culture to life. Museums have always stepped up in increasing visibility of their art to the world. VR media bridges the gap which picture slideshows and audios couldn’t. Art enthusiasts now have the opportunity to analyze the beauty of museum displays even when they are unable to actually visit the place. The focus is to create virtual art galleries which users are free to explore, meanwhile the educational audio commentary from personalities like Neil Gaiman enrich the overall user experience.
6. Virtual Reality for In-flight Entertainment:
How would you feel if your 8-hour flight wouldn’t feel like flying at all? Virtual reality can make flying feel like anything, “literally”. Even a 17 hour 40 minutes long flight from Auckland to Doha can feel bearable with a VR entertainment beside you. The ways of integrating these can range from loose headsets to complete seat integration. One airline to leverage this technology is Qantas, an Australian Airline, making its passengers happier than ever before. This can be a big differentiating factor for airlines to stand out among their competitors.
The Benefits of Virtual Reality in Travel:Here are 4 ways virtual reality in travel will change the way hospitality, airlines, and travel industries operate in future:
1. Travel before you Buy:
Enthusiasts can explore different places before actually purchasing a travel package. VR can be a way to break the barrier to entry in travel. With the ever increasing cost involved in travel- from flight booking to the hotel and car rentals- a sense of security before finalizing the travel destination can increase the number of people opting for a journey.
2. Hotel Exploration:
Hotels can provide 360-degree views of their facilities to ease selection. If the prospective guests are able to explore galleries and rooms before finalizing the booking, they can be sure of what they are paying for. This can also help allay any confusion among different room types and ease the selection process.
3. Sales Arsenal of Travel Agencies:
Travel agencies can help choose their clients the best package based on their budget and expectations. By giving a full 360-degree view of the different locations to the prospects travel agents can ensure the best experience for them and increase the level of trust simultaneously.
4. Rise in Expectations:
Customer’s expectations are rising like never before. The demand for personalized customer-centric marketing has reached heights that can lead to massive success for early adopters of such marketing models. VR is one such way to meet rising customer expectations in travel by giving them a real picture of their destination beforehand.
Read More: The Impact of Big Data in Travel
So what are you waiting for?
The possibilities of VR in travel are endless. So much so that it can change the travel industry like never before. According to the research report from ZEISS and YouGov, 73% entrepreneurs surveyed are expecting VR to play an important role in the decision-making process in travel and hotel industries & 61% see an application of VR content in the Travel Industry. Given such odds, virtual reality can become a great move for early adopters in the industry. It is time travel companies can either be a part of the shift or lag behind. So where do want to stand?