You’ve got your feet planted firmly on the ground, but you are stepping onto a sandy beach, you can hear the sounds of birds chirping, you can see waves hitting the coast…
What is going on? Welcome to the world of “Virtual Reality Tourism”.
In this world, with the right gear, you can now travel around the globe from the comfort of your home. Well, virtually, anyway.
The right gear can be something as simple as a smart phone, tablet or laptop. If you want to take the experience up a notch and get fancy, you can throw in a virtual reality headset to the mix.
With remarkable innovations in technology, virtual reality capabilities are enhanced, thus making virtual tours popular. In particular for travel retailers, virtual reality allows them a chance to showcase their product like never before.
Perhaps it’s the best new technology for the travel sector since the birth of jet engines.
Zoom In On Travel Brands Using VR
Many pioneering brands are using the newest medium to their benefit.
Leading VR company Rapid VR partnered with one of the world’s largest airlines, Qantas, Samsung, and Hamilton Island, to transport viewers to the Great Barrier Reef.
The 360° video from Qantas takes you from under the sea, to the top of the mountains, and then to the beautiful sandy beaches all in a matter of minutes – giving you a sweet taste of how good such a travel could be.
Such videos let the customers pan around and let them “try, before buy”. Not to mention, they are pretty darn cool!
However, technically they aren’t VR reality, as that involves an immersive experience of looking around the virtual world like it real, rather than panning about using a mouse.
A real VR experience, requires real VR headsets. While VR is growing rapidly, there’s still only a special breed of gaming nerds owning these headsets. So how does one use VR today to ramp up tourism?
Case Study: Virgin Holidays VR Initiative
In a VR initiative, Virgin Holidays tackles the problem by providing their own headsets using Google Cardboard technology.
In order to capture the 3D video, Virgin Holidays took GoPro cameras and a special 360 rig to one of their resorts in Mexico.
The video features a delightful glimpse of all the “can-do’s” and “can-see’s” – such as swimming with the dolphins, walking on cliffs, soaking up gorgeous scenery, lounging in hotels and enjoying the view of the beach to tempt people into planning their next trip.
They also didn’t forget to add the one vital factor that’s often forgotten in 360˚ videos – SOUND.
To make the experience more palpable, real and immersive just video isn’t enough. To capture the experience as close to reality as possible, one needs to hear and see.
This added the va-va-voom effect to their videos, creating experiences for store customers that felt as real as being in the destinations themselves – well, almost as real.
Results: The VR Effect
According to Virgin Holidays, the results of this video were “phenomenal”, increasing people’s propensity to buy. The sales of the trips, as well as, the sales of the resort showcased in the VR video rose significantly.
Owing to the first videos’ success, Virgin Holidays produced a whole new series of 360 videos, this time featuring Branson kite surfing, lemurs and a zip line. Be sure to check them out for your very own VR adventure!
What’s Next For VR In The Travel Sector
The travel industry is on the verge of a virtual reality revolution, with new 360˚ video technology giving travelers the chance to sample their next holiday destinations virtually, leaving them eager to visit in real life.
At the moment, VR is all-new and all-exciting. While it may become the norm and industry standard in the coming years, it can set the technology early-adopters as pioneers.
Therefore, for all players in the toursim sector looking to embrace this technology at this very moment, VR is a sure-way to stay one step ahead of your competitors and spur a need for travel among your target audience.
So don’t hesitate to get on-board the VR game!