Why augmented reality is the future for visitor attractions

Victoria Jackson
Jan 15, 2019 · 3 min read
AR places digital objects in to our surroundings. Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash.

Interactive technology such as augmented and virtual reality, is fast gaining focus within the attractions and tourism industry as a way to engage families using the latest technology and adding value to their visit.

An innovative technology that allows virtual objects to be placed onto our surroundings, augmented reality (AR) is an immersive, interactive experience based in the real world. For visitor attractions, AR offers an exciting opportunity to bring their story to life and offers visitors a much more enriched experience — an experience they’ll be more likely to remember afterwards too.

We’ve highlighted five compelling reasons why the attractions and tourism industry should look to include interactive technology such as AR as part of the visitor experience:

  1. Visitors want to be immersed in their surroundings

AR has gained a lot of research attention within tourism, for its ability to add value and create unique and memorable experiences. Visitors want to feel part of an attraction’s story. Technology that imposes digital elements onto the real world can help visitors feel closer to that story; extinct animals can appear in enclosures and historical figures can jump in with interesting facts, making the experience much more immersive.

2. Learning is enhanced

By making exhibits and stories more dynamic, new technology can be a great tool for learning and engagement and can create richer, more immersive content. Visitors are much more likely to remember information if they have interacted with it! It’s also an opportunity to showcase archived materials that visitors don’t usually get a chance to see or create temporary communications without updating a whole exhibition.

3. Innovation encourages visits

Studies have shown that innovative technology such as AR increases visitor numbers and provides attractions with more scope to reach wider audiences. It also offers them a way to differentiate themselves. Today’s visitors, particularly families, are looking to balance culture with new and exciting activities when they plan days out. Repeat visits are also more likely as new offerings entice previous visitors back and appeal to those who have annual memberships.

4. Interactive technology can drive revenue

These platforms not only offer the chance to increase revenue first hand but also provide longer term opportunities to drive secondary revenue. Recent research at a Cornwall museum showed AR helped strengthen the connection between the museum experience and products for sale in the shop. Incentives can also be awarded as part of the experience to encourage café and gift shop visits.

5. It’s easier than it sounds!

The Edinburgh Zoo augmented reality trail

The advantages of Interactive technology in attractions are many, but often the cost and technological know-how can prove prohibitive. The recent development of Mighty Missions, an affordable, app-based AR trail for attractions, has set out to overcome these barriers. Download of the app is easy and visitors can use their own device. Implementation is simple for the attraction, with the launch and technical support all taken care of.

Mighty Missions are currently being piloted at the National trust for Scotland’s Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and Edinburgh Zoo.

If you’d like to learn more about how our interactive trails can work in your attraction then we’d be delighted to have a chat!

Sources:
Visit Scotland Insights Trends 2018
Cranmer et al. 2017, ‘How can Tourist Attractions Profit from Augmented Reality?’
Palumbo et al. 2013, Chung et al. 2015, Kennedy-Eden and Gretzel 2012.
Garcia-Crespo et al. 2009, Leue et al. 2015, Cranmer et al. 2016, Yovcheva et al. 2013

Mighty Missions

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