How augmented and virtual reality are shaping the tourism industry.
Often associated with gaming and 3-D movies, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are carving out a place in the tourism industry with their ability to immerse travelers in a destination—even before they arrive. Augmented reality overlays virtual content atop the real world and virtual reality is entirely simulated, with no distinction between what’s virtual and what’s real.
One example of a travel brand embracing these new technologies: Airline brand Lufthansa has used VR-enabled headsets to give customers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the company’s flight experience. “What if traveling is not to get from [point] A to B but the experiences you have at the end of the day,” Tortsen Wingenter, head of digital innovations at Lufthansa, said at the OMMA SXSW panel earlier this year in Austin, Texas. Wingenter said that VR helps to better illustrate the company’s value to those who have never flown with Lufthansa before.
AR/VR is currently a $5.2 billion industry and revenue is expected to more than triple by 2020, according to the International Data Corporation. AR/VR technology is rolling out to mainstream travelers in a variety of formats, including software, apps and headsets. Resorts can begin to take advantage of augmented reality by using panoramas and software such as Kolor to produce high-quality virtual reality video tours. These virtual tours can be viewed on desktop computers, smartphones and tablets—and, even better, users don’t have to download these tours to their devices. And with the recent support of 3-D video on Facebook and YouTube, watching the videos will be a first port of call when travelers are planning and purchasing trips.
Currently, AR/VR technology is the most immersive way for people to experience a resort, spa, restaurant or activity without having to actually be there—and providing these resources creates a new entry point for resorts to reach owners and guests.
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