There’s no doubt that the tourism and hospitality industries have embraced VR more than most verticals. While extremely variable in quality, 360 degree 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 one component. 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 from a specific airport through to the hotel, must see sights, dining, beaches, local transport and more. Editable, customized mix and match experiences would reassure the viewer from end to end or enable them to pick a different room, carrier or excursion operator while keeping the most appealing aspects. The customizable VR could then be saved, shared and rated. Feedback could be immediate giving customer service representatives the opportunity to help customers more quickly and efficiently.

Of course this could 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. Measurement of success could easily be tracked through engagement with different pieces of a journey and the final purchase decision. A/B testing would enable a deeper understanding and enable further customization, and active customer interest levels into the appeal of specific VR elements would help companies to refine their product offerings.
 
 

Then there’s the opportunity to lead the industry by owning the AR experience.

Tour operators, online or offline guide publishers and national tourist bodies have yet to build 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 genuine value, rather than gimmickry is provided, consumers will be willing to pay.

Brands within the tourism space need to think big and distance themselves from what’s rapidly become the norm. The possibilities are endless, the space is wide open and Laduma would love to explore them with you today. ­­

Dave Alder, CMO Laduma