The Amazing Ways VR And AR Are Transforming The Travel Industry

Jessica Wong

Many of us are desperate to travel freely again – but with the help of AR and VR technology, we can explore the world from the comfort of our couches while we’re stuck at home. Companies are working hard to transform travel experiences, so we can expect things to look […]

Many of us are desperate to travel freely again – but with the help of AR and VR technology, we can explore the world from the comfort of our couches while we’re stuck at home.

Companies are working hard to transform travel experiences, so we can expect things to look quite different when we are able to get back on the road.

Self-Guided Tours and More with AR

The possibilities for augmented reality in the travel industry are vast. AR alters travelers’ perceptions of their physical surroundings and provides supplemental tourism experiences and opportunities for interaction.

For example, AR mobile apps like City Guide Tour use object recognition to offer on-screen information about places of interest, museums, galleries, landmarks, parks, and other sights as a tourist strolls through a city or town. The mobile app Street Life offers a library of crowdsourced guided tours that you can watch from home, or use to navigate through your in-person travel adventures while uploading your own photos and images.

AR-powered glasses provide a more immersive experience that adds an element of fun and eliminates the need for a tour guide. Our high-powered, fast smartphones with AR capabilities open up a whole world of interesting possibilities.

There is a huge range of potential use cases for AR in the travel industry, including improving local transit, augmented reality gamification, and AR for museums. Check out this useful blog post for a deep dive into some of the possibilities.

Explore from Your Couch with Virtual Reality

Right now, traveling to far-flung places to experience the full functionality of these kinds of AR apps probably isn’t possible for most of us – but in the meantime, we can still feed our wanderlust with virtual reality travel experiences.

Companies like First Airlines are offering immersive virtual reality travel “trips” to places like Hawaii, Rome, and Paris. Their VR experiences include first-class airline tickets with four-course meals, followed by VR tours of the destination’s main sights. You can also explore virtual travel experiences through Google Earth VR, Oculus, and Immerse from The Hydrous.

Other potential uses for VR in the travel industry include:

●    Trial runs of attractions, hotels, and places of interest. Travelers can check out accommodations and locations before they book their trips, to see if destinations are worth the investment.

●    In-flight entertainment. Immersive 360-degree VR experiences on long-haul flights may be on the horizon, expanding travelers’ entertainment options beyond watching movies or surfing the web with the plane’s Wi-Fi. Virtual reality could even help some passengers ease their fear of flying.

●    Travel agents and booking services. Travel World VR uses VR technology to help travel agents promote destinations using 360-degree videos of major destinations, cruises, resorts, and tours.

National Geographic points out the limitations of immersive virtual travel tours, saying:

“The headsets are expensive, heavy, can cause nausea, and aren’t comfortable to wear for more than 30 minutes…Limited sensations are another hurdle. The videos focus on sounds and sights but can’t do much with smell, touch, or taste, and VR experiences tend to only be a few minutes long—hardly the equivalent of a two-week vacation in Spain.”

Few people believe that VR will ever fully replace travel, but it’s likely virtual reality tech will contribute to the recovery of the travel industry post-pandemic.

Making Travel a Reality Again

In these strange times, immersive virtual travel provides a welcome escape from the loneliness and boredom of the pandemic – so put on a headset and get ready to “travel” to anywhere in the world, right from your living room.

Once restrictions have been lifted, travel lovers who have been stuck at home will also get to experience the wonders of augmented reality travel tools, so they can get on-the-spot information during the next adventures.

VR and AR tech will also help the travel and tourism industry recover by whetting tourists’ appetites for new locations, helping travel agents book flights and hotels, and making travel more pleasant.

If you’re longing for adventure, gear up to explore the world with a boost from virtual and augmented reality technology. For more on the topic, check out my new book ‘Extended Reality In Practice: 100+ Amazing Ways Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality Are Changing Business and Society

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