Why Virtual Reality will transform Travel

Post by Eddie Cranswick

We’re on the brink of an incredible new application of technology. 2016 is the year of Virtual Reality .

Virtual Reality will allow anyone to experience what its like to travel and be immersed into an environment anywhere in the world, with such realism that it will blur the line between reality as we know it and the “virtual world”. It’s not until you place the VR headset over your eyes until you realise this is something truly special. You’re experiencing presence within an experience you’d never thought possible without physically being there.

From riding an Elephant through the Jungles of Vietnam while a local guide talks to you about the history of the land, to walking into the shade of the Eiffel Tower as the sun sets in Paris and even experiencing the soothing waves rolling in as you sit on the shore of a secluded beach, listening to the meditative sounds slowly relax you into feeling like you’re right there in South America.

The entire decision making process (or should I say paralysis) of choosing a destination to visit is set to change with VR. Swipe your hand across the headset or VR App, instantly transporting yourself to yet another beautiful scene of which you could select and book on the spot. Un-sure of which hotel room to stay in? Walk through each, compare the views and room offerings. Not sure between choosing the beaches of Portugal or Spain for your upcoming trip? Experience each in under 60 seconds and immediately know which you’d prefer. Economy or business? Check out an airlines business class right before booking to see if it’s worth the upgrade.

Qantas provides Business/First Class Passengers with a Samsung Gear VR allowing them to truly discover the travel possibilities of their destination… before arriving.

Virtual reality is so accessible to anyone who dares to experience something beyond their wildest imaginations. The $10–$20 flat pack Google Cardboard viewer works with most smartphones and is the most accessible VR headset worldwide. Samsung’s Gear VR headset (pictured above) is a step up, starting at $130.

Because it’s new, virtual reality can help a brand stand out from the crowd and engage it’s audience like never before.

We’re already seeing innovative utilisation of this technology, especially in marketing, with immersive story telling being a key focus. Tourism Australia’s is using VR and 360 as it’s core focus for the most recent 40 million dollar campaign, showcasing Australia’s immense beauty to the world.

If your travel company is considering taking the leap with a VR marketing strategy I’d highly suggest going for it. Virtual Reality is not without it’s drawbacks. There are many different considerations for a VR strategy including costs, video production , 3D audio , headset choices, distribution channels, market accessibility, consumer education … the list goes on.

But, the payoff of a well executed, stunningly immersive and engaging Virtual Reality strategy for your travel company is immense.

Stay ahead in 2016 and bring realisation to the potential of this amazing technology.