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While they are speculations around AR and VR technology, this is due to its failure to go mainstream as experts predicted in 2019. It is particularly a boom for the travel industry as it is expected to reach $304.4M by the end of 2023 indicating a CAGR growth of 32.5% from the last four years.
You’ve probably tried it too, you walked into your favourite cinema or store, saw the signboard ‘VR’ and asked to experience it.
Was it funny, cringy, scary or surprising whatever it was you transcended into a realm.
That’s the power of VR and AR when implemented in travel; you can live in Monaco and be in Florida or Cuba but in Maldives.
All from your couch!
“Virtual reality is a more engaging form of advertisement that helps people feel like they are in the destination participating in the activities”.
What are AR and VR?
Virtual reality is interactions in the form of images or videos that enable the viewer to explore the whole 360 degree of a scene, virtual reality captures every part of a location making it immersive as viewers are able to imagine themselves in a particular destination. Whereas augmented reality adds a digital oomph to real-life experiences.
Augmented reality is mostly deployed as a tool to include layers of information such as text, audio, videos or instructions as viewers pass objects in a set area.
With just a pair of $30 VR glasses, travellers are able to see themselves move from one location to the other in their homes.
Since consumers have questions about their prospective travel locations deploying VR and AR as a form of marketing helps companies answer such questions.
It also enhances attraction, by viewing their choice destination traveler’s desire to visit becomes heightened.
This principle further validates the ‘try before you buy’ model. According to Lavish Alice, this model is about training the customer and making sure they trust the service.
Importance of AR and VR
Statistia estimated that AR users will reach $ 2.4 billion by the end of 2023, hence it becomes important for travel agencies and travel technology startups to take advantage of this technology.
Types of AR devices
- Holographic displays
- Smart glasses
- Smartphone application-based AR
- Head-up displays (HUDS).
Types of AR travel applications
1. Marker-based AR Application: This Augmented reality application provides digital information about a code, printed image or physical object.
2. SLAM: Simultaneous localization and mapping help to identify objects around the user. It uses complex algorithms to denote patterns and colour and other prominent characteristics of physical objects.
3. Location-based application: This augmented reality application depends on a digital compass or GPS to drive information and can be used for AR-based city tours.
5 benefits of AR and VR in Travel
1.Enhanced Travel Planning: AR and VR can assist travelers in planning their itineraries by providing immersive and interactive experiences. Users can virtually visit hotels, landmarks, and attractions, helping them make more informed decisions about where to stay and what to do.
2. Virtual Training and Education: VR can be used as a training tool for travel industry professionals, enabling them to learn about destinations, tour guides, or customer service skills in a simulated environment. Additionally, educational VR experiences can educate travelers about the history, culture, and significance of various tourist spots.
3. Realistic Previews: AR and VR can provide realistic previews of accommodations, allowing travelers to virtually walk through hotel rooms, check amenities, and assess the ambience before making reservations. This helps in managing expectations and reducing disappointment upon arrival
4. Accessibility and Inclusivity: AR and VR can make travel more accessible and inclusive for people with mobility limitations, enabling them to virtually visit places they may not be able to reach physically. This technology can also cater to individuals with sensory impairments by providing audio descriptions and tactile feedback.
5. Time and Cost Savings: Through virtual tours and previews, AR and VR can save travelers time and money by helping them make more informed decisions about their trips. It reduces the need for physical visits to multiple destinations before making choices, thereby streamlining the planning process.
VR and AR Use Cases In Travel
- Enhanced destination exploration
- Personalized travel planning
- Virtual travel experiences
- AR and VR in destination marketing
- Virtual site inspections for travel agents
- AR guidebooks and navigation
- VR & AR in travel activities
- AR-based tour experiences.
1. Virtual reality allows us to explore new places without being there, while this will not replace physical presence, it gives us a glimpse of tour destinations before booking, using AR to denote digital information on real-life surroundings makes it easy to locate specific places and landmarks.
2. It becomes easier to customize itineraries through AR and VR apps as the viewer gets access to appropriate information. As individuals are immersed in this experience, it becomes easier to convert them.
3. With VR and AR you are able to get a 360-degree view of historical sites landmarks and natural wonders all from your couch
4. According to research carried out by Statistia in Germany about 50% of people would use VR to choose their holiday destination provided it was free while 13% were ready to pay for it. Destination marketers and travel agencies can bridge this gap by adapting this immersive experience into their campaigns.
Since VR and AR are content-led it is important that effort is put into the kind of content promoted so as to engage potential travelers
5. AR and VR property deployed by travel agencies for site inspection helps reduce cost and save time which is usually associated with physical visits. VR tools can also be deployed to make site exploration and recommendation easy for travel agents.
6. AR is based on geographical location and navigation procedures, most importantly for individuals who travel on foot with real-time information on maps, guides and street signs, navigation becomes seamless. AR guidebooks also enhance on-site experience.
7. VR enhance thrill and excitement while ensuring safety as individuals are able to get a glean of adventure sports, theme park rides and extreme activities suited to their chosen destination
8. With AR-enabled translation and cultural insights, international travellers are able to communicate with locals easily, places like the museum suffer shortages of experienced personnel AR technology solves this issue by giving individuals a comprehensive guided tour.
In summary, AR and VR technologies in the travel industry provide immersive experiences, enhance information accessibility, and offer virtual exploration options. By incorporating these technologies, the travel industry can cater to evolving consumer preferences, offer personalized experiences, and create new opportunities for travelers to engage with the world.