How can virtual reality help in the travel industry?

Guest Contributor

Contributors are not employed, compensated or governed by TD, opinions and statements are from the contributor directly

Have you taken a tour over the past year? It’s not only you! A majority of the people across the globe skipped their vacations and travel trips owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The travel and hospitality industry is one of the majorly impacted industries by the pandemic. A survey conducted by Fifty Grande has revealed that over a 73% of people admit that the coronavirus pandemic will impact their travel planning.

As technology has helped various sectors, like education, healthcare in these unprecedented times, it can revive the travel industry and hospitality industry. Virtual Reality could be a major contributor in revamping the travel experiences offering a more digitized virtual travel. Here is a detailed guide on Virtual Reality bringing a significant transformation in the conventional travel and hotel industry.

 

WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY?

Virtual Reality is one of the revolutionizing modern-day technologies that create a simulated environment that may or may not be similar to the real world and stimulates the body senses to interact with the virtual 3D world. It creates a highly immersive experience that has the potential to detach you from the real world, taking you on a virtual tour. The VR device comprises head-mounted displays, a helmet, a blindfold and stereo headphones for the highly immersive audio and video experiences.

 

HOW CAN VIRTUAL REALITY BE USED IN THE TRAVEL & HOTEL INDUSTRY?

The recent pandemic had, for once, completely halted the travel activities with the strict lockdown restrictions and social distancing norms. International and even inter-state tourism were banned owing to the safety of the public. However, even when relaxations were introduced in the restrictions and travel activities resumed with all the necessary precautions, people stayed a little sceptical to go on tours. Covid-19 gave a major reality health check that people are no longer willing to risk their lives and engage in travel. This change of mindset had given a huge blow to the already crashing travel industry.

When digital technology has streamlined the operations of every sector in this pandemic-hit world, the travel industry should be no exception. Adopting virtual reality in the travel and hospitality sector could potentially change the picture. Virtual travel remains a high potential but an untapped market that travel agents and travel sellers can cash in on for boosting travel bookings and online hotel bookings.

 

  1. A MUCH NEEDED TRAVEL BREAK AMIDST THE COVID CHAOS

Staying at home due to the coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns for over one and a half years, people have become bored. However, they do not wish to travel, suspecting safety concerns. At this juncture, a virtual tour can give them a recreational break. With VR headsets, they can live amazing, but nothing less than real and refreshing experiences. This will boost their positivity and mental health, injecting a sufficient dose of dopamine to get back to work with charged up energy levels.

 

  1. MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO RECONSIDER TRAVEL 

Even if the second wave of coronavirus and all its variants are eliminated, and normal routine gets revived, it would be a strenuous task to encourage people to take up travel all over again. Travel-tech company Impala has surveyed that only a 42% of people are ready to take up travel in 2021. In such a situation, travel providers can leverage the benefits of VR technology.

  • Give a virtual tour of the major attractions you have to offer at beautiful destinations, monuments, hotels and other attractions that influence people to explore these places.
  • In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, people are looking for certain criteria before making a hotel booking that offers exclusive corona safety policies and measures. Give them a demonstration of the corona safety measures you have deployed at your hotel.
  • Demonstrate to them how the travel destinations and hotels have been sanitized, and all the safety precautions are made available for safe travel and staycation.

 

  1. TRY AND BUY MARKETING STRATEGY

People will choose you if you give them a valid reason. There are so many online travel agencies and online hotel booking sites, then why should people choose you. The answer to this lies in hotels must have a website that gives people extended information about the place. When people come to your website, you can impress them with eye-catching visuals of your property that influence them to make reservations.

However, integrating a hotel reservation system in your hotel website for direct booking, as once a person leaves your site to make a booking on an OTA, they will find alternate options there, reducing the chances for your inventory to be booked. Also, the UX of your hotel booking engine must be impressive, but at the same time simple enough that enables a booking within a couple of clicks.

 

  1. USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS A LEAD MAGNET

These days businesses are using social media as a lead magnet, as it has been proving to be a lucrative marketing channel. Post the virtual tour videos of your property on social media and give the audience a virtual experience of the attractions and top-class service at your place. Get interactive with the social media audience, conduct fun activities, quizzes, surveys and drive people to your website. Sometimes social media may not give you instant results, but at least boost your brand awareness among the people who would probably consider your destination and service whenever they make a travel plan in future.

 

  1. EXPLORE THE FAR-OFF DESTINATIONS

Sometimes, people forego their travel plans owing to the destination being far away or lack of time, or other inevitable reasons. With virtual travel technology, they can enjoy the experiences of those beautiful far-away destinations right from their place without having to compromise on their vacations.

 

  1. COST-EFFECTIVE

A few luxury destinations cost a huge sum, and not everyone can afford to have a vacation at these places. But that should not hinder the experiences of a travel enthusiast, and hence VR technology can be utilised for the same. Have a real-world experience of the destination from your place with a good VR device at comparatively lesser expenses. For example, anyone can have a candlelight dinner by the side of an Eiffel Tower right from their living room.

 

Though there are lucrative advantages of incorporating VR technology into the travel industry, they cannot completely match the real-world experiences unless you opt for the best-in-class devices. VR could act as a tool to drive leads and conversions for your travel bookings and hotel bookings.

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