Posted on 07/05/2017

#Transport #Germany

The future of travel is VR

Time to embrace the future, Virtual Reality headsets are making their way to a travel agency near you.

Nowadays it feels as though every month sees the introduction of a brand new piece tech that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years back. Things that would have seemed to have been plucked straight out of a Sci-Fi movie are so common place now that we hardly give them a second thought. Virtual Reality (VR), or more specifically the VR headset, is exactly such an innovation. After first appearing on the market three years ago, VR has now become accepted by both gamers and industry professionals alike. One business sector in particular was quick to see VR's marketing potential - the leisure and travel industry.

The travel industry's embrace of VR is little surprising if you think about it. Simply put VR is an immersive multimedia reality which often grants users control over their environment - in other words it is a perfect marketing tool. No high definition photograph of a tropical beach will ever compare to walking down that same beach however, since giving out free trips to tropical destinations is not the best business strategy VR equipment is readily accepted as the next best thing.


Lufthansa was quick to embrace VR as a sales tool - © uskarp/123RF

One of the first major companies to see VR's marketing potential was Lufthansa. The airline installed several public VR kiosks near its gate at Berlin's Schönefeld Airport. The kiosks allow travelers to pass the time before their flight by taking a virtual trip to Miami. "For many people, before they spend so much money, they'd like to see what they get. (Through VR,) people have the chance to try before they buy". explained Torsten Wingenter, head of digital innovations at Lufthansa.

Travel Agencies

Thomas Cook has begun using VR headsets in a number of its stores - © newsfocus1/123RF

Travel industry heavy weight Thomas Cook has gone one step further and introduced VR headsets into a number of its agencies across the UK, thus allowing its customers the opportunity to take a virtual tour of the hotels and aircraft that the company has on offer.

Using VR as a tool to entice travelers to spend more on the quality of service is proving especially popular within the industry. It is one thing to tell a client how nice first class is on a long-haul flight it is quite another to allow them to experience it for themselves, even if in only a virtual world.

Changing the booking experience

Why book online when you can book in VR? - © dolgachov/123RF

The latest innovation in the use of VR technology within the industry came from Navitaire, an Amadeus company. The company offers what it calls "the first virtual reality booking experience". Instead of booking online customers can spin a globe, search for flights or even visit a destination all while being in virtual reality. "We live in a 3D world, why shouldn't we shop for travel that way?" reasons Justin Wilde, a user experience developer at Navitaire.

So when it comes to booking your next holiday do not be surprised if it all takes place through an Occulus headset. Although we feel it is only right to warn you, industry experts expect an increase in how much we are willing to spend on our holidays once VR becomes fully assimilated by the industry.