Did you ever think that one day you could climb Mount Everest without ever leaving your home, or explore Machu Picchu without ever booking a flight? This is a possibility now thanks to virtual reality travel experiences and it’s changing the way we look at the tourism industry these days. The immersive experience these virtual tours provide may not be as photo-realistic as we’d like for now, but in a few years, we might not be able to tell the difference.
Since the idea is still fairly new, let’s look at how the idea of virtual reality travel works and how it can be used.
Where It All Started
We’ve all used Google Earth way back when. This is probably the first time we ever used the precursors of VR for an educational experience. Now, it’s a whole lot better!
The COVID-19 pandemic really put a damper on things for a lot of us, and international travel was one of them. That’s when tech companies got to work, if we couldn’t get out in the world they tried to get the world to us. It first started with gaming, but now branched out to virtual world travel.
Now we can explore coral reefs with a steady internet connection and an Oculus Rift. No need for passports and scuba gear anymore. The use of VR technology is now allowing us to see the world at a fraction of the price without us ever having to leave our homes.
The Tourism Industry Enters A New Chapter
For good reason, businesses in the travel sector have taken up VR tech rather quickly. Typically, their customers want to buy experiences rather than items, and virtual reality allows marketers to give them a taste of what they may expect.
Before booking a hotel stay, most travelers want a lot of information. This could include reading descriptions, viewing photographs, watching videos, reading consumer reviews, or seeking comments on social media. This procedure, however, can be considerably shortened through the intelligent use of virtual reality.
What VR Travel Offers
The use of virtual reality technology in the tourism industry is still in its early stages, but an increasing number of businesses are experimenting with VR headsets and finding useful applications for them. Some of the most common applications that have been observed in hospitality businesses to date are listed below.
Virtual Hotel Tours
The use of virtual reality technology to provide virtual tours of hotels and hotel rooms is one of the best instances of virtual reality in action in the tourism industry. The main advantage is that it allows potential clients to see what the hotel looks like before they come, providing greater transparency than ordinary photographs.
This ‘taster’ content is normally available on the hotel’s or the distributor’s website, and it usually requires a VR headset to experience. In many situations, the virtual experience consists primarily of a simple 360-degree photograph that is also compatible with social networking platforms and more basic VR hardware, such as Google Cardboard.
Virtual Booking Interface
Some businesses now offer the feature to complete the entire booking process using VR. That’s right, it can all be done using a headset like an Oculus Go and you don’t even need to use a mouse and keyboard again!
When you mix this with other VR apps, you can get a much better and smoother process. You can compare locations, prices, and have a better idea of the destination you want to go to. Overall it provides a lot of benefit to anyone who uses it!
Virtual Travel vs Physical Travel
Finally, virtual reality allows hotels, travel agencies, and other tourism-related enterprises to provide prospective consumers with a virtual trip experience. This means that customers will be able to taste some of the primary features that will entice them to visit an area in the first place.
A hotel in Paris, for example, might be able to provide a virtual experience of what it’s like at the top of the Eiffel Tower, but a hotel near a theme park might be able to provide a virtual roller-coaster ride. The ability to sell rooms, flights, and travel items based on the experiences they can enable is the fundamental value of this.
The Travel Industry Meets The Metaverse
Virtual reality travel industry solutions are influencing how people interact with travel companies at every stage of the customer journey. Virtual reality devices, on the other hand, can play an important part in making the metaverse a reality, and when utilized as metaverse devices, they can also promote meaningful social connections.
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