Although the global pandemic of coronavirus has negatively impacted the tourism industry, modern companies are actively searching for new and effective ways to boost their business performance. While most hotel rooms remain empty, some airlines are closed, and thousands of travelers cancel their tours because of the quarantine restrictions, modern technologies offer new opportunities for travel agencies. Coronavirus poses severe challenges for the travel and tourism industry but there are plenty of future-oriented solutions to this problem, such as the adoption of virtual reality (VR). Read on to find out how virtual reality could help rebuild the travel and tourism industry after the COVID-19 outbreak.
Virtual reality and tourism are undoubtedly similar in some sense. While real-life traveling allows physical moving from one interesting place to another, VR is also associated with moving, but mental. Likewise, virtual reality gives an opportunity to place tourists in various artificial environments. Nowadays, more and more tech companies are trying to experiment with VR technology in order to provide people with a life-like experience of tourism. The recent research published by ResearchAndMarkets.com shows that virtual reality is expected to have a significant influence on the travel and tourism industry during the next few years. According to the author of this report, “VR offers the potential to create substitute experiences that may be extremely useful for heritage and natural preservation.” In this regard, let’s describe some critical connections between VR and the travel and tourism industry.
VR as a Marketing Tool
Nowadays, travel agents usually face problems with attracting new customers. Even though travel agencies provide a wide range of accessible offerings, potential customers are afraid to experience difficulties with safety, border-crossing abilities, or the compliance of quarantine measures. As explains Miguel Flecha, a Madrid-based travel and hospitality expert for the multinational consulting firm Accenture, “As we start to recover (after the global pandemic), there will be segments of the population that will be willing to travel like crazy. Younger people will be booking flights as soon as possible, but other segments of the population won’t be very comfortable”. Fortunately, VR tours allow travel agents to effectively market travel propositions engaging diverse segments of society, both younger and older generations. For example, company Travel World VR has already applied VR technology for their clients in New Jersey. Realistic VR productions and detailed videos not only can captivate clients’ interests but also may convince them concerning the safety of their future journey. Thus, the utilization of virtual tours is an effective marketing tool that successfully promotes new destinations and inspires customers to travel in the aftermath of coronavirus.
Virtual Travel Through Time and Space
It is a well-known fact that virtual reality allows feeling as if you have just traveled thousands of miles in a few seconds. This incredible feature benefits both travelers and travel providers, transforming long journeys into an accessible way of entertainment. However, how about traveling to the past centuries? At first glance, this question sounds crazy and unrealistic, but don’t forget that VR makes even imaginary things seem real. For instance, sky100 and the acclaimed virtual reality experience design house TimeLooper created VR Time Travel: Step into Old Hong Kong, a set of 360-degree videos for VR users. This virtual tour represents typical Hong Kong scenes, such as Hollywood Road in the 1960s or the areas nearby Kai Tak Airport in the 1980s. Thanks to this project, travelers can instantly ‘step into’ the old days of the city and walk down the streets of 19th-century Hong Kong.
VR Brings New Sense to Your Travel
When thinking about VR tourism, most people regard VR as a tool to visit hotels, interesting places, or attractions before physically going to a particular location. Although this option is undoubtedly helpful in the planning process, virtual reality is much more than that. In addition to providing people with an extremely realistic preview of their journey, VR also makes the actual journey more informative and meaningful. With specific VR applications, travelers can see the history of remarkable places they are currently visiting. For example, let’s describe the VR project created for the American Museum of Natural History. The museum’s special exhibition introduces visitors to the age of dinosaurs by representing to them tyrannosaurus rex. While visitors can see the skeleton, body elements, and environment associated with this ancient creature, they can also participate in a VR-multiplayer game. In this virtual experience, visitors can interact as a team, take bones to build a skeleton of a T-Rex, and bring the dinosaur to life. Subsequently, VR applications allow travelers to investigate parts of nature, which they cannot explore within real-life interaction.
In general, travelers are looking to purchase experiences rather than products, and virtual reality proposes a useful way for marketers to provide customers with a taste of what they expect. A growing number of travel and tourism companies are already successfully experimenting with VR, so it’s your turn now. If your travel business is still struggling to cope with the COVID-19 negative impact, we can help you. Just contact us now and make the first step toward future technologies, the first step toward your travel destination – successful business performance. Let’s make traveling better together!