The pandemic has forced travel agencies to shut, transportation services to halt, hotels and hostels to be converted into ghostly buildings void of life, and holiday-goers to stay put.
As most of us have been confined to the living room for work and play, unable to make our annual or monthly getaway, our growing sense of wanderlust has heightened.
Among such a funless void, many travel marketing companies have been developing virtual tours based on augmented reality and virtual reality — the latest tech that, when used correctly and creatively, placed inside a powerful ecommerce platform such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and complimented with a world-class CMS like Adobe Experience Manager, will provide businesses with ultimate, best-in-class digital experiences.
While there is no substitute for the feel of hot sand running through the fingers, the cool sea breeze brushing the face, friendly chatter with locals, virtual travel is providing the stressed out and tired with escapism, exploring the world without opening their front doors.
Virtual travel marketing is providing businesses with the ability to provide their customers with immersive experiences of their services. By inspiring people to know and learn about locations, spark intrigue about journeys, and enticing people to actually book trips, augmented reality has actually become a vital part of marketing for the travel and tourism industry.
Whether it’s virtual experiences of visiting a luxury hotel, flying a plane, riding a rollercoaster, skydiving, … well, you get it… the technology has come to act as a lifejacket for parts of the industry.
And beyond substitute experiences like the ones listed above, the tourism industry can now offer almost any experience thanks to the ever-developing technology — from absurd trips to out-of-this-world experiences. AR allows you to walk on the moon or explore the distant planets — experiences that are not even available to the absurdly wealthy, yet.
Long term: supplement over substitute
Rather than acting as a substitute for much-needed getaway trips under times of heavily-restricted travel, augmented reality can actually provide experiences to supplement the real thing in times of relative normality and stability.
There are many instances where we’d love a break yet simply don’t have the time to put the brakes on. Whether it’s a global pandemic, too many work commitments, family commitments, even failure to find a friend to look after your dog for a week, there are many instances where flying far away isn’t viable. In steps AR to fulfil these gaps of cold reality to provide you with virtual escapes to satisfy your soul until those dates when you are able to step on a plane and shut off the sounds of work and stress.
This would lead to a boost in travel bookings and shorten the sales cycle.
Yet the timespan from now to then is critical, and it’s a step that — unfortunately — many brands and businesses are going to fall short of, which will not be able to reopen its doors once the pandemic has subsided.
There is also an educational element to VR travel that can supplement studies. With students home-bound, VR allows students to tour particular areas of the world, or deep dive into the lives of studied persons, without leaving home. In the near future, students who are unable to travel on study trips, or can’t afford them, will be able to take advantage of VR that provides easier access.