Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated scenario that can be used to give a user a realistic feel of a particular place without being there physically. One can move around this artificial world and interact with the features as if they were there. This system has been used popularly by gamers who want to get a realistic feel while gaming but another way that is slowly gaining popularity is the use of VR video as an advertising strategy for travel companies.
Most travel destinations use pictures and videos to sell their destinations, but there is nothing that can depict the true feel of a destination other than getting the chance to experience a bit it beforehand. The VR video gives a 360-degree view of a destination that will get anyone excited and want to have the full experience.
The use of VR video in the travel industry is still in its inception period as more and more travel destinations are trying to maximize it before their competitors get the memo. Currently, some lessons have been learned by the users of VR video for traveling companies. Such lessons include:
- Knowing that timing and relevancy is very important, 360 degrees video should not be rushed and therefore give the viewers ultimate time to experience.
- Use VR videos to highlight the unique places of the travel destination, but not to give it all away as we still want the tourist to come.
- The whole experience is very costly, and therefore budgeting is key to ensure that all the money spent is recovered.
- In the new advances of the VR technology, viewers don’t even need a VR headset anymore as tilting the screen in mobile devices or clicking and drugging in desktops will still give you that 360 degrees look.
- The VR video technology has so far been used by travel agents, hotels, theme parks and airlines. Some of the early birds when it comes to this technology.
In 2015, one of the pioneers Marriot and Shangri-La hotels used a Samsung VR headset for their hotel guest giving them the opportunity to travel the world from their rooms. They also included a VR postcard that involved following a traveler in their journey to Andes Mountains in Chile, Ice cream shop in Rwanda and the streets of Beijing.
South Africa Tourism which used this technology and saw an increase of 11.8% in bookings within just 11 months. Uganda’s Matoke Tours also invested $30,000 in a VR travel application where viewers could track the Gorillas in Uganda.
Qantas, Hamilton Island, and Samsung have partnered to create maybe the bets VR travel experience, Visit Hamilton Island in 360˚ Virtual Reality.
Thomas Cook partnered with Samsung to use their VR headset in ten of its stores, and the clients were given a chance to experience destinations like Greece, Singapore, and New York. As a result, $12,000,000 was gotten giving it a 40% return. New York was the most affected with 180% improvement in visitors.
Thomson holidays gave the opportunity to potential travelers to view the northern lights in Iceland. The viewers could look up and spin around making the experience more realistic. The video has gotten more than half a million views, and the travel to the destination has greatly improved.
The 100% pure New Zealand advertisement that has been running for close to two decades introduced a VR twist to it. It showcases New Zealand and all its activities in a 360-degree angle. The Video leaves the viewers with the feeling of wanting to be in New Zealand.
Alton Towers Resort is the first VR roller coaster in the world with the help of Galactica. The riders get the feel of astronauts. They feel like in they are plugged into outer space with as the roller coaster uses G-force that is more powerful than a real rocket.
These are just a few of the tourist areas where the VR Video technology is being used today. Granted this concept is still quite fresh with a lot of progress still to be made, but it is estimated that by the year 2021, there will be a growth of up to 400% in the use of VR devices. This is the direction of future tourist destination advertisement and is sure to give a big boost to the tourist industry.
Stanisa Naumovski is the founder of VRheadsets3D.com, the site where everything is focused on Virtual Reality.