Virtual Reality (VR) has seen major usage in the gaming industry but marketers in other sectors – including travel – have realised its potential. We’re going to highlight innovative ways VR is being used in the travel industry to offer people new and immersive ways to experience hotels, destinations and more.
VR technology typically involves the usage of a VR headset which is worn by a person, immersing them into a 360˚ virtual environment. On top of the visual stimulus, VR has developed to a point where audio and physical stimuli are incorporated into the VR experience, and with more expensive headsets the user can interact with the virtual environment.
The roots of VR lie very much in the gaming industry through systems like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, but with the rise of budget headsets like Google Cardboard, VR is becoming more accessible to people.
Furthermore, the addition of VR content alongside high-quality travel copywriting and images allows travel brands to engage with people on another level. What better way to convince a potential guest to choose your hotel by giving them the opportunity of a virtual tour?
As mentioned above, hotels have started to offer potential guests the opportunity to experience their facilities and rooms in the comfort of their own living room. It’s just another step in providing people with more information to make better-informed purchasing decisions, by showing them what their stay could be like and the facilities to expect.
In general, these VR videos are found on the hotel website and require a VR headset to experience. Normally, hotels use the 360˚ capability of VR when producing virtual-reality hotel tours but some have been trialling tours with sounds, too. Furthermore, these VR videos can be easily used on social media and other channels by embedding the video.
For example, below is the virtual reality hotel tour of Atlantic Dubai:
Some companies have gone even further into the VR world by offering consumers the ability booking using VR. The best example of this is Amadeus which has designed a booking journey and user interface fully in the realm of VR. This replaces the need for using a mouse or touchscreen to navigate menus, and creates a seamless booking journey and user experience.
Simple actions like checking the weather and flight times, or comparing room types, becomes immersive and fluid. Although initial pick-up of this type of VR usage may not have taken off yet, it’s a great example of how virtual-reality technology can be implemented to better peoples’ user experience.
The advancement of Virtual Reality technology has allowed online travel agencies, hotels and other businesses in the travel industry the opportunity to provide potential customers with a virtual travel experience. The technology allows people to visit a destination or attraction and see whether it’s something they’d be interested in visiting.
In the example above, Marriott has produced a virtual reality experience for a honeymoon holiday to Hawaii and London while staying at one of its hotel. In this VR experience, Marriott is able to transport people to Hawaii and London and highlight attractions potential honeymooners would like to visit. Marriott has weaved its hotels into the experience, virtually showing people what a honeymoon to Hawaii or London while staying at a Marriott hotel would be like.
The power of Virtual Reality lies in its ability to transport people into another environment, be that a hotel, booking journey or destination. What's more, the application of VR technology isn’t limited to the above examples – they’re just the beginning.