The poet Rumi said that “Travel brings power and love back into your life.” It’s a sentiment that a lot of travelers would undoubtedly agree with. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have enough time or money to travel as often as they want. However, the advent of virtual reality can change all that.
The technology can have a tremendous impact on the tourism industry. VR can help people choose the perfect destination, book their flights or hotel, and even give people a much closer look at tourist sights.
Here are five examples of how VR tourism will change our world.
Travelers Can Get a Little Taste Before Booking
Think of a place that has always captured your imagination. Picture the vastness of Antarctica, the energy of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or the majesty of Machu Pichu. With virtual reality, you can have a little taste of what those places are like before deciding if traveling there is worth it or not.
Experts in the tourism industry say that VR will soon provide travelers with the chance to investigate specific tourist destinations in an immersive 3D atmosphere before they shell out money for an airplane ticket. For example, Qantas has a tremendous 360-degree video that shows tourists what they would see and experience when they visit Hamilton Island.
And it’s not just the sights that travelers will be seeing. With enhanced 360 degrees technology, users will be able to experience virtually everything about their upcoming travel, from the flight, to arriving at their destination, to checking in their room, and going to some key tourist attractions.
Choosing Your Next Adventure Becomes Easier
Planning where to go on your next vacation isn’t always easy. But with the help of VR, you’ll be able to pick a destination from the comfort of your local travel agency’s office. Expect companies to come up with an array of marketing tools that can be used to show customers the best of what a country has to offer.
You can even take a quick virtual vacation if you want. Companies like Littlstar and YouVisit have already put together a library of travel media that show tourists what they can see or experience. There are no limits to the type of vacation experiences one can enjoy. You can be on the deck of a cruise ship or above the ground in a hot-air balloon.
Tourism VR can also bring a country’s art and cultural heritage to life. With today’s VR technology, one can find themselves walking the halls of a museum or checking out art galleries. These apps even have an audio commentary done by some of the art world’s notable personalities, making the experience memorable and educational.
Check Out Your Room Before Checking In
Aside from helping people choose their next destination, VR can also assist them in selecting the perfect hotel room. Pretty soon people won’t just have to rely on photos and descriptions of the hotel. These establishments can provide virtual tours where guests can walk-through a hotel room and see for themselves how big the place is, the design, and even what amenities it has.
These tours can be offered on the hotel’s website. It will give guests and potential visitors a good idea of the differences between room types before they book it. More importantly, hotels can use VR to showcase their suites and encourage guests to upgrade to grander (and more expensive) accommodations. There could also be provisions to include other parts of the hotel, so visitors will know what to expect. The Atlantis Dubai Virtual Tour VR 360 is a perfect example of this tool.
While these virtual tools are best experienced using a VR headset, it’s possible to make them available even to those without it. For example, Facebook’s 360-degree video technology is more than enough to give visitors a good look at a hotel.
VR Will Become a Powerful Sales Tool
More great headsets, new software, and apps will undoubtedly spearhead tourism VR in the future. VR headsets will soon be a powerful sales tool at tourism and hospitality events. Hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and other businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry will take advantage of this technology and use VR to convince more people to purchase tickets, book rooms, or put down money for a tour.
One company that’s already making forays into VR is Amadeus. The company is offering customers a chance to look for affordable plane tickets, compare the prices of hotel rooms and book them using a VR headset.
VR’s potential in this area is not fully realized yet, and there’s still room for improvement. But it’s easy to see how being able to check out the local scenery, explore a virtual hotel room and book the space smoothly will become such a big draw.
Hospitality Industry Would Have to Step Up
Since virtual reality brings a prospective tourist or guest closer than ever to the experience, certain expectations would have been created. This means that hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, and other players in the tourism and hospitality industry have to step up their game in order to meet these expectations.
Several airlines are already taking steps to convince people to fly with them by using VR for their in-flight entertainment. Having this form of technology available to you during a 17-hour flight will no doubt make the long trip bearable. For example, Australian airline Qantas offers VR videos to make passengers happy and maybe convince them to try out specific activities or visit particular places.
The goal now for the tourism and hospitality industry is not only to meet the expectations of travellers but also to find ways to exceed them. It will surely benefit tourists and set the groundwork for a massive change in the industry.
Don’t Throw Away Your Passports Yet
There’s no denying that new VR vacation apps, software, and gadgets will come out soon. But even with all the benefits virtual reality will bring to the tourism industry, there’s still no substitute for the real thing, and VR tourism is just meant to enhance our exploration of our world.