Virtual Reality: A New Travel Marketing Tool?
I recently came across a story in the New York Times that discussed the use of virtual reality, mostly via 360 degree videos, to market travel destinations that travel enthusiasts might be considering visiting.
The article noted that countries like Thailand are using these high definition videos to showcase the beautiful landscapes and attractions that people from all over the world come to see. Only this time, instead of only using traditional video and pictures, you get to choose how you view the location and really immerse yourself in the experience as though you were there yourself. Cities and cruises are also using this technology to show the streets and amenities available to tourists.
I believe the article also discussed how Marriott hotels took this idea a step further and utilized the amazing sense of virtual reality that devices such as the Oculus Rift are capable of to not only provide a 360 view, but actually make the user believe that they are there.
I definitely see an opportunity here for places to use this technology to attract travelers. I think that it would be cool if travel agencies, hotels, country marketing departments, etc. provided files off of their websites that users could install into their Oculus Rifts (if they have the money to buy one) to offer a next-level marketing product or an escape for people who cannot afford traveling.
It was really cool to see an industry thinking of fun new ways to market their product that engages potential travelers. It will be cool to see this platform evolve, incorporating interactive things within each video, utilizing real-time streamed video, or even something like smells.
Hopefully, more destinations I am interested in seeing will jump on board so that I can view these videos before going!