August 28, 2018 / DON'T TAKE YOURSELF SO SERIOUSLY
August 28, 2018
There’s no doubt that the tourism and hospitality industries have embraced VR more than most verticals. While extremely variable in quality, 360º hotel room tours and destination experiences are now commonplace. But this isn’t the end of the story. Innovative VR opportunities abound.
One opportunity lies in the integration of VR experiences throughout the customer journey, rather than just at one point of connection. No one company has yet captured this space and it’s there for the taking. Imagine an online booking service like Expedia or Travelocity being able to serve up not just the contents of a hotel room, but interconnected content that gives the traveler a seamless sense of how an entire trip will play out for them. This can start at a specific airport, then carry on through to the hotel, must see sights, dining, beaches, local transport and more. Editable, customized mix and match experiences would consistently reassure the viewer or enable them to pick a different room, carrier or excursion operator while keeping the most appealing aspects. The customizable VR journey could then be saved, shared and rated.
Feedback could be immediate, giving customer service representatives the opportunity to help customers more quickly and efficiently. All in virtual reality.
Of course this would require significant commitment from a variety of partners, each with their own specific goals. That said, full service tour operators are perfectly positioned to claim this innovative approach for themselves beginning with their own most popular packages and then moving on to long tail products once ROI is proven and third parties can be brought on board.
Then there’s the opportunity to own the AR experience. Tour operators, online or offline guide publishers and national tourist bodies have yet to build truly comprehensive AR offerings which help the traveler to navigate, learn and share throughout every aspect of their journeys. Again, a full start to finish experience would distance them from their competitors and provide a useful service. After all when it comes to AR (and VR), ROI is unquestionably linked to usage and engagement. If it has genuine value, rather than gimmickry, consumers will be willing to pay.
Brands outside the tourism and hospitality categories should keep a watch on how things progress. There’s going to be a lot to learn.
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