For this reason, all industries have their sights set on this sector, mainly the tourism industry. One that has always benefited from technology when it comes to minimizing time and costs, thus promoting higher consumption.
The Internet, for example, has opened doors for us by facilitating the documentation of users with respect to travel. It is becoming easier and easier to book transportation and accommodation online. And it is possible to know the destination without having been there. But now new technologies offer us a new window to explore: virtual reality in tourism or virtual tourism.
And how do we apply virtual reality to tourism?
To remain competitive in the long term, attract a wider audience and meet the demands and expectations of new generations of tourists, travel companies need to integrate new technologies, improve their interactive content and implement it in their marketing strategies.
Basically, we could say that with virtual reality we can present the information of our tourism products and services in a different, much more striking way. Because this new system has a positive influence on two of the most important processes within the traveler’ s journey.
1. In the process of searching for information or planning.
By using virtual reality in marketing strategies, you can have a great influence on the information-seeking process of potential or repeat tourists. For example, virtual reality can provide tourists with access to destination information in a much more accurate and reliable way than traditional promotional material.
Thus, virtual reality can offer users a richer media experience, interactivity and a sense of virtual presence that also enhances consumer learning and respect for the destination.
2. In the decision making or booking process.
On the other hand, we are faced with the fact that the purchase or reservation process is mainly rational. In other words, in this process, which is complex in itself, the consumer takes into account everything from the choice of destination to the price and the activities that can be carried out. That is why quality information is so important.
For example, with 360º visits, the tourist could at least explore and experience a specific experience (destination, hotel, etc.) to assess whether it will be satisfactory, or if it does not provoke enough excitement to make a reservation. Emotions are also very important in influencing the decision-making process of tourists.
Virtual reality is able to trigger emotions by stimulating users’ senses. Because with virtual reality users are able to interact within the experience. This creates a great opportunity for the entire travel industry, especially for tourist destinations.
But is there a business for virtual reality in tourism?
Virtual reality has been making inroads in tourism with Google Maps and 360º tours. Yes it is true, in such a modest way, that it is perhaps not what we understand as virtual reality. But virtual tourism is still a controversial topic today.
Can we really consider as tourism those experiences that do not move us from the sofa? Perhaps the purists believe that traditional tourism can never be replaced by virtual reality. But what do the new generations of tourists think? The future is personalized experience tourism, and these can be experienced anytime, anywhere.
In fact, virtual reality is a technology that draws directly from the video game and entertainment industry. And as we already know, this is a multi-billion dollar industry that manages to increase its profits every year due to its versatility and ease of consumption.
Playstation, one of the pioneers in virtual reality for home consumption, already has games that allow its users to live experiences with specialized glasses. But this company is not the only one, as more and more tourism companies are betting on virtual reality glasses such as Oculus Rift. For example, Destination British Columbia, the first destination marketing organization in North America, has already used virtual reality to promote the destination with The Wild Within VR Experience.
And of course, Marriott cannot be left behind. Wherever there is an opportunity to explore new marketing techniques, this prestigious hotel chain is leading the way. And so it created a campaign to present its Teleporter with which you could not only be present in a completely different environment, but also feel it. And thus open the debate on the importance of virtual reality in the sector.
In addition, more and more museums are now jumping on the bandwagon, integrating this possibility with virtual tours that allow users to walk through corridors and admire works of art. And… what about being able to live real adventures without the slightest risk? The truth is that sooner rather than later we will know if these personalized experiences become a new form of tourism available to all.