Benefits of Virtual Reality in Tourism: How to Integrate VR in Experiences

Benefits of Virtual Reality in Tourism: How to Integrate VR in Your Tours and Activities

In this blog post, we’re going to discuss the benefits of virtual reality in tourism. Also, we’re going to give out a few ideas on how travel agencies and tour businesses can use VR for travel experiences.

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, besides being a popular tech gadget in the gaming industry, virtual reality has also gained a new dimension as a secondary source of income for tour operators struggling with travel restrictions.

What are the benefits of virtual reality in tourism

For the travel industry, virtual reality can be used in tourism marketing to enhance travel experience and shape the behavior of travel consumers. What technology can do today is absolutely remarkable!

Woman wearing vr headset virtual travel concept benefits virtual reality tourism

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 2021.

360-degree videos in travel and tourism

Another great trend is 360-degree videos. 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 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–virtual reality is present in tourism and it has a lot of benefits. 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 creating VR travel experiences.

And while we’re on the subject of experiences, here’s one for ya – Rome Reborn: The Pantheon. Created by Flyover Zone, an American company specialising in virtual travel applications

This VR experience counts with two virtual guides that will show you a reconstructed Pantheon as you learn more about the complex and its history.

Then there’s a great video from Qantas promoting Hamilton Island. That’s one among many benefits of virtual reality in tourism.

Showcasing your destination and experience via VR is an interactive way for potential visitors to get a lasting impression once immersed in the story without even being there. Another advantage of technology in tourism.

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.

Virtual reality in tourism marketing

Virtual reality is key in tourism marketing. The research published in the University of Massachusetts Amherst focused on showing the effects 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”. 

Woman wearing VR glasses representing the benefits of virtual reality in tourism

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 travel experience on social media and talk to their friends about it. As you can notice, virtual tours have many advantages.

Augmented reality in the tourism industry

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. Along with the virtual reality, it has become a tourism marketing tactic.

Remember the 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.

Man holding a smart phone showing Pokémon go on screen, representing augmented reality in tourism

The game is still popular nowadays, did you know that in 2020, Pokémon Go surpassed one billion total downloads from the Google Play market?

Also in 2020, the game accounted with more than 150 million users! 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 place in the tourism industry by 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 customers 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.

Conclusion

The benefits of virtual reality in tourism are many. Virtual reality improves tourism marketing, enhances the travel experience and inspires travelers.

There are no doubts that VR is something all tour operators should use to boost their sales, during corona times and beyond.

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.

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