Tourism and Virtual Reality

28 Jan 2022 | News

In recent years, Virtual Reality has seen a massive uptick, specifically when it comes to tourism.

Some within the industry believe the Virtual Reality (VR) is going to completely revolutionize the tourism sector. We’ll tell you all we can so you can make up your own mind on the subject.

VR? AR?… Tell me more!

Virtual Reality is a technology that allows users to be immersed in an artificial world via a headset and occasionally with other accessories such as haptic feedback systems or omnidirectional treadmills that enable developers to create an even greater feeling of realism for their users. AR (or Augmented Reality) is more like a HUD (Heads-up Display), a layer of technology that gets imprinted on top of the base reality we know. This may be as simple as a telephone notification that lights up in your field of vision, time or weather, historical information about a specific place you are visiting, or as you may remember from 2016, Pokémon that invade the streets of your hometown.

The first thing of note, VR has been taking a more and more noticeable role in day-to-day life, even outside of the obvious use for video games. Some realtors are diving whole-hog into the world of VR, offering virtual tours of new listings, or as-yet unbuilt properties. Or for those looking to just update their homes, interior designers can allow you to see what your new place would look like before the first touch of paint marks your walls.

But how about testing a bit of bungee jumping in VR? Or maybe you’d prefer to visit the moon, on the back of your flying dragon?

VR has been a real boon for tourism, which is why there has been such a marked increases in the number of available experiences in this domain.

What are the advantages for the tourism industry?

First of all, it’s a wonderful marketing tool!A virtual visit won’t replace being there live and in person, but it’s a great way to offer a client a choice of destinations to see what really would be the holiday of their dreams.

These virtual experiences are slowly replacing paper brochures as they simplify the writing process (no need to find the right words to create that emotional reaction within your clients) and they aren’t limited to the paper-consuming print media. This means these experiences can be shared on social media to even those potential consumers who don’t own a VR headset. And as we’ve all noted in recent years, text marketing has largely been replaced by video.

Can VR make the tourism industry dynamic again?

Studies have shown that clients who have experienced a virtual visit have come out of the experience with a stronger desire to visit the destination. Often, these VR experiences even benefit from natural reserves that are generally less often visited.

At the same time, tourism that can be considered to be “off the beaten track” has become more and more in vogue. Those travelers looking for experiences outside of the mass tourism market are therefore particularly receptive to these images of natural reserves.

On top of these experiences creating that emotional reaction for your clients, they’re also more often shared on social media networks. The utility is thus twofold from a marketing perspective because of recommendations and word of mouth or the best ways to quickly discover a new destination.

Virtual reality thus seems to be a good solution for relaunching the tourism industry while we are still globally working through the governmental restrictions and limitations of this Covid era. And for this reason, within the industry, digital uses are being developed.

Will I be enjoying VR while I’m on my visit?

It’s possible that the experience will also continue once you’re on site! Some museums have started offering immersive experiences, specifically for showing how a location’s architecture has evolved over time. But there are also games on offer in some where you search for virtual clues in order to win.

Note, however, that while VR travelling solutions are becoming more and more commonplace, the costs related to this adventure are not negligible. You should therefore study your project upstream to make sure it makes sense for you. Yet, this is only the beginning, and it’s clear, as with most things, the more the consumers flock to the solution, the more reasonable and affordable the cost-to-benefit ratio will become.

TradOnline and VR/AR

TradOnline works for a number of actors in the tourism industry and with our location in Laval, we are particularly attentive of the latest innovations in the fields of Virtual and Augmented Reality. Why? Because each year, Laval is home to Laval Virtual, one of Europe’s largest tradeshows centred on immersive (and emerging) technologies!

Have you launched your own VR/AR project? Looking to adapt it for an international audience? Contact us!