Latest posts by Sara Tilly (see all)
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In this blog post, we’re going to discuss the advantages of virtual reality in the travel industry. Also, we’re going try to give out a few ideas on how to use VR for your travel agency and tour business.
In 2016 “virtual reality” was a buzzword. Everyone was talking about it, especially since the release of Oculus VR. Facebook bought the before mentioned VR in 2015 for astounding $2.3 billion. So what’s up with the whole fuss about virtual reality in the tourism marketing?
When someone says VR, people usually imagined a geeky gaming gadget. It was expensive and its headset looked like something out of the sci-fi movie.
Today, it has become one of the most popular tech gadgets beyond the gaming industry.
What Are the Advantages of Virtual Reality in the Travel Industry
For the travel industry, virtual reality can be used to enhance travel experience and shape the behavior of travel consumers. What technology can do today is absolutely remarkable!
Using the VR, your tour or activity business can have a virtual walkthrough. Allow potential consumers to catch a glimpse of the atmosphere of the destination they’re about to book.
Integrating virtual reality impacts the way you do business. Along with the storytelling, it makes a compelling case how customers opt for a certain destination before making a reservation. It’s vivid. It showcases the best visual content. It has a larger scale effect on consumer choices, rather than using a standard destination description and tour itinerary.
Decreasing consumer attention span is all about relevancy. This basically means fewer people have the patience to read through classical travel sales pitches and planned activities.
However, all is not lost–VR, images, and content is at your disposal now more than ever. Remember, visual content is one of the top marketing trends to look out for in 2018 since.
Another great thing you can use is the 360-degree videos. Then, you can publish these videos on Youtube and Facebook and link them to your booking website. Here’s a great overview of how to make a 360-degree video.
Here’s a list of things you’re going to need for creating a 360-degree travel experience.
- A 360-degree camera
You’ll be able to create lovely 4k videos and showcase draw more people to your website with amazing content!
- Video editing software
You can choose from a variety of tools, such as Adobe Premiere, After Effects, or Final Cut Pro X, etc.
- VR set
This isn’t a necessity; however, it goes all the way in creating a unique and adventurous experience for you travelers.
If you’re really want to step up your tour operator game and get more bookings, advancements in technology are here to help.
You can work on creating an option for booking via VR. Something similar has been rolled out by Amadeus with their Virtual Reality Search and Booking Experience, however, it’s still the patent-pending phase.
Application of Virtual Reality in Tourism
It’s a fact–the VR is here. It’s not an incomprehensible thing of the future like time travel. Take a look at Visit Wales. They’ve created VR videos such as the Dolphin dive and Flight of the kingfisher to attract more tourists to their wildlife attraction. Similar ideas can be used for safari and tours and activities.
And while we’re on the subject of attraction, here’s one for ya–The Most Haunted Village in Britain just outside of Ashford. You can even make promotional videos of your ghost tours locations for fans of the paranormal. Then there’s a lovely video by Beijing Tourism Development for people thinking about visiting China. That’s one among many advantages of virtual reality in the travel industry.
Showcasing your program via VR is an interactive way for potential visitors to get a lasting impression once immersed in the story without even being there.
New technologies on the market were developed to dismantle barriers, access remote places, offer educational materials, and bottom line to connect people and different cultures.
The research published in the University of Massachusetts Amherst focused on showing effects the VR has on people and travel destinations. Titled Virtual Reality and Implications for Destination Marketing, the research showed that “VR generates pleasant emotions towards the destination even though it’s a new form of advertisement”. Another research titled Exploring the Persuasive Power of Virtual Reality Imagery for Destination Marketing showed that VR heightens the sense of presence.
This is because people feel involved and they can engage much more than they could just by reading a simple tour guide. This research also showed that people were more likely to share their VR experience on social media and talk to their friends about it.
Augmented Reality Technology in Tourism
AR has been around for a few years now, actually since 2009. Then it became popular to enrich user experience through the lens of your camera.
Now the augmented reality technology has improved and it serves as an interactive guide… and much more. It has become a tourism marketing tactic.
Remember this year’s Pokémon Go frenzy in the summer of 2016? If you don’t remember, have you been living under a rock or something?
Anyway, Pokémon Go is a popular mobile video game where you chase virtual monsters down the street. Tourism gamification at its finest.
Did you know that by August 2017, there was a total of 100 million Pokémon Go downloads from the Google Play market? More than 20 million people played Pokémon Go on a daily basis! This means that an average user spent 43 minutes walking down the street and catching little Pokémons!
Wanna hear the best part? Tour operators decided to cash in that frenzy by organizing interactive Pokémon Go city tours. This offered new opportunities for implementing augmented reality as a part of tourist attractions.
Augmented reality has its future in offering tourists and potential consumers a different experience. For travel agencies and tour operators, it means a larger marketing arena to work with.
For instance, along with a detailed itinerary, you can create a unique event for niche customer using AR. Use your website to enrich your tour and activities content. Let’s say you’ve created an activity to visit London. The city is quite famous for its museums. Include a sneak peek of your activity by adding an augmented reality museum experience, for example.
And if you have a travel and activity booking software to help you along the way, even better! Implement a “book now” button on your blog or website and start enjoying the perks of using the newest technology.