The travel industry is one of those sectors where you also see the first steps in the use of Virtual Reality take place.
In 2015, Neckermann in Belgium already offered a virtual look at various holiday destinations.
With the help of the Samsung Gear VR, customers were able to try out various virtual travel destinations. This allowed customers to look around on a beach, inspect their hotel room in advance and see how big that pool really is.
A helicopter flight over Manhattan, a taxi ride in Times Square and a boat trip along the statue of liberty were also possible.
How will VR be Further Applied in the Travel Industry?
In fact, we can (assuming on our part) divide the possibilities of VR for the travel industry into 2 possible scenarios
- Virtual Reality as an extension (replacement in the long term) of the existing sales channels
- Holidays that will take place entirely in Virtual Reality
The first scenario will sound more plausible at this point than the second. Honestly: at what point do you see yourself exchanging your beach holiday for “sitting on the couch” with your VR glasses on? Still, it may not be a very crazy thought, but let’s dig deeper into the first scenario.
Ultimately it is the case that the first steps are already being taken here “as we speak”
Old Fashioned Internet Sites
If you have let the graph above sink in, you realize that the internet is by far the most dominant sales channel for the travel sector.
It is also good to realize that this sales channel has remained unchanged for about fifteen years.
Of course, today’s websites are much more attractive and also in terms of ease of use, huge improvements have been made.
In addition, the “intelligence” behind the scenes has improved tremendously. Using Big Data, algorithms and a large number of other techniques, travel agencies are able to provide you with suitable trips based on the information you have provided, or even effectively predict what you will like.
But, we are still looking, also in 2017, at an internet site where we have to determine on the basis of 2D photos whether this is the holiday destination we want to go to, and whether this is really the dream location where we are going to spend our hard-earned money .
The fact is that the same threshold that exists for online purchases of products is to a certain extent also available for online holidays.
In fact, this threshold is quite basic customer psychology: you want to “control” what you buy. (read here how and why online retailers therefore increasingly use 360 ° product photos)
This threshold can be lowered as far as possible with the help of beautiful photos and smart “copywriting”, but what if a means is available with which you can virtually remove the threshold in one fell swoop?
Does Virtual Reality bring the new way of holiday booking?
The main strength of Virtual Reality lies in the fact that it is “Immersive”. The user is fully immersed in the experience.
So you could say that it would be a great innovation if a customer visits the site of a travel agency, this the desired holiday destination could not only see in “flat pictures” but that he is able to actually experience the destination.
No lengthy Zoover or Tripadvisor reviews need to be read to determine whether those hotel rooms are really that spacious, you can just walk around in them.
Is it really only 30 meters from the beach? Put on your VR glasses and find out, you just walk from the hotel to the beach and immediately look around on the beach to see if it meets your expectations.
Is that pool in that resort really that big? Walk past it in the Virtual World and you know it for sure.
These are just a few small examples of the enormous possibilities that the use of Virtual Reality offers.
In the near future, travel agencies will no longer (only) offer their holidays in the traditional “format”, but as a customer you will have the opportunity to experience your holiday destination in the Virtual world so that you know what you are booking.
Of course it does not stop at Virtual Reality alone, also the use of 360 ° video, photo and Virtual Tours, whether or not made with the help of Drones for an even more spectacular result, you will see more and more and will also appear in the travel industry many traditional means are going to replace.