Redefining Travel and Tourism with AR and VR

Overview Augmented and virtual reality offer seemingly endless ways for guests to engage with vacation spots and far-away locations before, during and after traveling. Leveraging the technology has given the travel and tourism industry new ways to market to and connect with guests.

Travel agencies, hospitality brands and popular tourist destinations are taking advantage of technology to hook customers and create unforgettable experiences.

From enhancing the physical environment for visitors at a certain location to preparing travelers for what they should expect, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) give guests a new level of comfort and confidence in making travel plans and engaging in a variety of experiences — some maybe not even in the same country — while on a trip.

 

Pre-Vacation Test Vacation

Travelers who enjoy knowing what exactly they will be seeing to make appropriate plans and set expectations can now preview destinations, and even take a spin through a hotel room before deciding to book.

AR/VR technology allows hotels to show accurate 360-degree photos and videos of their spaces, providing an opportunity to sell themselves. Top tourist destinations and marketers are also using AR/VR to convince visitors with a try-before-you-buy method.

In 2016, travel company Thomas Cook launched an online VR campaign — best experienced with YouTube and the Google Cardboard — that allowed users to virtually move around a Thomas Cook plane and also engage with short films about several destinations. App Ascape, who has worked with Thomas Cook, also offers videos and tours of locations like San Francisco, Berlin, Cuba and more.

Similarly, a ski resort in Whistler, Canada, is letting guests test-drive the slopes as an immersive selling point.

 

Adding to the Experience

A variety of AR/VR experiences are already available for visitors to enhance their travels or visit some key locations from afar. Zoos offering AR/VR experiences allows families and schools across the world to visit the animals and learn fun facts about each one as well. Companies like CES® 2020 exhibitor HoloMuseum can help users turn any room into an interactive and immersive museum space, even one centered around dinosaurs.

In September 2015, Marriott Hotels announced the launch of Vroom Service and VR Postcards. In partnership with Samsung, the VR experiences brought users on immersive travel stories that followed a traveler on their journey through the selected location.

Combining artificial intelligence and AR/VR in the future may allow travel agencies and apps to create personalized travel companions. After users select interests and hobbies, they can  receive real-time facts and highlights that match with destinations as they walk through a city. The virtual guides can also point out hidden gems where the user is.

For those who do not have the funds to go on destination vacations, or for those who are unable to leave their house and travel far distances, many of these AR/VR travel solutions offer accessible, comfortable and detailed ways to experience the world.


Learn about some other industries AR/VR is benefiting.

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