There has been a great deal of talk surrounding virtual reality in recent months. It is said to be the next big thing in technology and according to Markets and Markets, the immersive virtual reality market is expected to reach $407.51 million by 2018. This trend is something travel companies can and are taking advantage of when it comes to marketing their brand and services.
One hotel chain that has invested in virtual reality is Marriott. They recently tested a virtual travel experience in collaboration with Samsung Electronics called “VRoom Service” that guests can have delivered right to their hotel room. Marriott also experimented with a 4D “sensory experience” which consisted of booths in seven different U.S. cities. These booths “transported” people from London to Maui in 90 seconds while increasing temperature, adding a breeze and mist to further enhance the experience (Digital Trends.)
Shangri-La Hotels is another chain that has begun using virtual reality as a part of their hotel marketing strategy. As of very recently, consumers are able to immerse themselves in 360-degree virtual tours of the brand’s hotels and destinations around the world. They can then take the experience to the next level by using a virtual reality headset that supports the Oculus platform.
Aside from hotels, other types of travel companies are also experimenting within the virtual reality realm. For example, established travel agency, Thomas Cook allows travelers at certain locations to take virtual tours before purchasing the real thing. Last year, the company saw their virtual reality-promoted New York excursion revenue increase 190%. Additionally, they partnered with a virtual reality company called Visualise to put together “excursion” videos to be used in a mass mailing to 5,000 targeted customers. They delivered $24 Google Cardboard virtual reality headsets and encouraged recipients to download an app to check out the custom virtual reality experiences (Bloomberg Business.)
As the technology evolves and becomes more popular, we can expect to see more travel brands using it to market their properties or services. If you have not invested in 360 virtual tours in the past, the time may be now to explore the space and gain an edge over your competitors.
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