Travel is all about place and physicality. This flies in the face of virtual reality’s big message, which focuses on the simulation of place and physicality. Will VR travel replace it?
Nothing can replace the fresh air you breath when you scale a peak on a hike. Nothing can replace the view of the Redwoods. Nothing replaces full, true reality. But VR doesn’t and more importantly, VR doesn’t seek to.
VR travel use cases instead help the travel and tourism industry, rather than hinder or replace it. Here at OmniVirt, we’ve seen travel brands take advantage of VR by running outstanding VR ad campaigns. These campaigns typically serve as top-funnel ‘awareness’ campaigns that help lower-funnel performance (aka booking trips and flights to experience the wonder of a real place). Here are our two favorite use cases of how VR Travel can help the industry:
VR Travel as a functional preview during pre-trip planning
There are many components to travel, especially in the pre-trip phase. Learning about a place, planning a trip, booking travel and lodging, etc. takes a lot of research. And while trip planning is a blast (research shows the excitement ramp up is part of the fun of travel), sometimes the resources out there can be a leave something to be desired.
Enter 360° video and VR.
Instead of Google image searching different destinations or scrolling through 50+ photos of a hotel room, 360° videos that can be viewed both on mobile and in a VR headset allows for a richer look that can give potential travelers a better preview into the experience they’re shopping for.
Users don’t need to scroll through photos and keep clicking through to find different angles of whether the hotel bed looks comfy–instead, they can just swivel their phone to place themselves in the room.
This kind of immersion provides confidence to travelers especially for the more functional parts of the trip: Is the hotel room spacious? Will I be comfortable in this airplane cabin? 360° VR shows the answers in a more meaningful way.
VR Travel as a way to explore and discover the “feel” of a place
Sometimes, pictures, flat videos and words just don’t capture the magic of a place. Immersive VR and 360° video gets a user closer. The formats work to transport a user into a full environment. A full 360° view of a mountain is more exciting than a picture or even a video–users look around and discover, versus being guided by a directed video or a photo. VR encourages active exploring of a place, just as a traveler would do in real life.