AR VR in travel and tourism

Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies in travel and tourism enhance customer experiences ranging from AR travel guides to opening new avenues for revenue stream.  

Findings from the data report state that the potential for the virtual tourism market is projected to grow at 30.2% CAGR from 2023 to 2028.  

It means that AR/VR offers vast potential in the tourism sector and helps brands stay competitive.  

Today, these technologies (AR/VR) shape the consumer decision-making process, whether it’s related to providing engaging guided tours for travelers or overcoming language barriers. And it has more to offer in the future.  

By blending the physical and virtual world, AR technology is helping hotels and other travel businesses to hook customers to their places.  

If you think AR is an emerging trend now, you are on the wrong track. Rather, it has become a necessity for the travel and tourism industry.  

This blog will uncover what AR and VR in travel is, their use cases, and their associated benefits.  

What is Augmented Reality (AR) in Travel?  

Augmented Reality in travel

Unlike virtual reality, Augmented reality (AR) does not replace users in real-world environments. Instead, it superimposes virtual elements in a physical setting. 

With an AR-enabled device, users can get immersive experiences with visual elements such as sound effects, animations, 3D models, etc. 

Augmented reality in Tourism allows tourists to scan the building and get information about local hotspots quickly.  

By pointing their device to a monument, they can see virtual models superimposed in the physical environment. 

Whether you are planning your next trip to a museum or have decided to shift to a foreign country, AR changes the way travelers travel. 

With AR-enabled travel apps, tourists can get immersive travel experiences as they can explore the history and culture of a destination. 

Unlike other industries, travel requires a lot of research from the customers when they think of planning a trip to a site. 

A report from Tripadvisor states that nearly 54% of travelers put more emphasis on doing heavy research on travel. 

For them, research is like a never-ending process as they continue to gather more information even after reaching the place. 

However, AR provides access to information and makes the search experience more fun and interesting. 

What is Virtual Reality in Travel?  

Virtual reality places the user in a digital environment and can experience the destination using a VR headset.  

Modern customers are not looking to invest in products; they want to buy experiences.   

VR allows them to get a taste of what a destination would look like before they plan a visit, all by sitting at their home.  

Such immersive experiences would not have been possible just by looking at static photos or visiting a travel website. 

Tourists can visit those places virtually and get the hang of the culture prevailing in that city/country, what the best things to try, and what they can expect from that place. 

VR headsets give tourists the feeling of being there and make it easy to experience those tourist spots on the go. 

Moreover, VR can even act as your tour guide and let you explore places, especially if you prefer solo trips. You need not worry about whether flights are available or not, whether destinations are open, and weather conditions are good or not.  

Thus, VR becomes an effective marketing tool for hotels to highlight key offerings and nearby surroundings. This way, viewers can experience a property without leaving their homes.  

Also Read: AR And VR In Hospitality

Use Cases of AR in Travel and Tourism 

Are you wondering how AR revolutionized the travel and tourism sector?  Here are a few use cases that augmented reality provides in travel-  

1. Self-guided tours for Tourists  

Planning your visit to a historical site or museum tour seems daunting, especially if you love traveling alone. Also, travelers cannot access a wealth of information about a place.  

They needed an on-demand guide who could provide real-time information about the attractions.  

With the advent of AR guided tours, travelers can get more immersive travel experiences.  

They can get access to real-time information about physical surroundings such as museums, landmarks, and other places. 

For instance, an augmented reality travel app, Paris, is a travel guide for you. It allows tourists to explore around 300 cities by giving them real-time information about buildings and street names.   

Hence, users will never feel disconnected because they get the necessary information about a place using 3D arrows.  

2. Beacon technology and Push notifications  

Beacon technology has become a powerful marketing tool for travel and tourism companies.  

By implementing beacon technologies, travel companies and hoteliers can send push notifications to customers as and when they enter a specific location. 

Most hotels use this technology to inform customers about the latest offers and other updates. 

Customers, too, can unlock exciting benefits from the beacon, whether it’s related to unlocking rooms, or checking reviews.  

A popular example of this is Starwood’s hotel. As the guests wander around the hotel lobby, they will receive a push notification stating they can use a virtual key to unlock the hotel room with a few taps.  

They can even access discount vouchers and user maps or read hotel reviews. 

Similarly, tourist attractions can use such technology to send alerts to customers about spa appointments and tour times and even offer discounts on planning their visit to a monument.  

This way, they can encourage more travelers to visit those places.  

3. AR for Museums  

Earlier, the museum had no guiding facilities, so travelers couldn’t experience the museum interactively. But the Augmented reality in tourism guides visitors and brings people closer to artifacts. 

Tourists worldwide intend to visit museums to feel the historical presence.  

AR technology binds people together, improves the visitor’s experience, and allows them to see things from a new perspective. 

It overlays virtual characters on the top of the physical world, giving visitors an immersive experience. 

Moreover, when visitors point their mobile devices towards a sculpture or a painting, they can get additional details about the history, the material used, etc. All these activities hook the visitors for longer. 

For Instance – The Natural Museum of Singapore used Augmented reality to provide a memorable experience to visitors. 

When visitors proceed, the forest changes from morning to night and is in accordance with the dry or wet season of the Singapore region.  

Visitors can get insights about the forest with an app called Story of the Forest. Here, the forest has become a magical land for visitors where petals fall over visitors and trees come closer to them.  

4. Language translation and communication  

Language has always become a barrier when tourists visit a foreign land or a destination. Travelers face challenges reading signs, menus, and other information because they know their native language.  

Augmented reality apps in travel and tourism eliminate such language differences by translating text into several languages.  

With AR-enabled apps, travelers can better communicate with locals because everything is now translated into their native language. 

They need not struggle to find someone who can become a translator guide for them as they just need to point their device camera at the text. 

For Instance – Quest Visual, an AR development company, was acquired by Google back in May 2014.  

The company came up with a product called Word Lens. The app can translate text into multiple languages, such as Spanish, French, Italian, etc. 

Thus, frequent travelers can use this functionality of the Word lens to translate a foreign language into their native language. 

5. Create innovative ads  

With AR-based ads, travel companies can influence their purchasing decision as they can visualize properties on the go. AR provides them with truly imaginative experiences to them.  

A report from Expedia stated that nearly 78% of travelers said that their decision-making process was affected when they came across informative content from a travel brand. By using AR, hoteliers can advertise their hotels more effectively.   

They can immediately turn a one-time customer into a loyal visitor by offering virtual booking services. Conversely, consumers can point their smartphone camera to get insights about hotel suites and other amenities.  

For Instance – Hoteliers can use Augmented reality to provide an immersive experience for their guests. They can add an interactive wall in each guest room so that they can explore tourist attractions around their hotel.  

AR VR for your business

Use Cases of VR in Travel and Tourism  

Here are some use cases of VR in travel and tourism-  

1. Virtual reality hotel tour  

Virtual hotel tours are based on trying the before-you-buy concept, where customers can get a feel of the hotel room, other premises, and lobby spaces and how they look before booking. 

Nowadays, most hoteliers use VR hotel tours to provide customers with a hands-on digital experience.  

The best way is to add 360-degree videos/photos on hotel websites so that guests can know what to expect if they book a stay at your hotel. Guests no longer need to leave their homes to experience all this as they require virtual reality headsets.  

Hence, hoteliers use virtual reality as a marketing strategy to increase hotel bookings and enhance customer satisfaction.  

For Instance – The Grand Oasis Hotel in Mexico provides a VR tour to guests to explore the property by sitting in the comfort of their homes. 

A 360-degree VR tour lets guests take an insider look and feel of the hotel by seeing a panoramic view of the surrounding gardens. 

2. VR for self-guided tours  

VR for self tours

When choosing a destination, tourists are curious to know the best attractions they can plan and visit in a day. As a result, they browse the internet endlessly to find guidebooks that can help them plan their trip.  

VR, on the other hand, revolutionizes the way you travel by acting as your travel guide. With virtual guided tours, you can experience different travel destinations. It benefits travelers who want to go solo or need personal space.  

Various VR travel apps provide onscreen information about destinations, attractions, ambiance, and local culture.  

3. Test drive excursions  

Guests can leverage VR technology beforehand to experience the hotel. In the same way, VR makes it easier for customers to test drive various trips and excursions, and they can decide how they may want to spend their time after arriving at the destination.  

This way, tourists will get an idea of how their excursion will look in advance and are more likely to book a stay for a specific destination.  

For Instance – Thomas Cook, a British travel company, used VR technology to provide in-store virtual reality experiences to customers, including visiting an Egyptian pyramid or going on a helicopter tour to Manhattan.  

Because people get such tasteful experiences, the travel company saw a 190% increase in bookings.  

4. VR powered Museums  

Historically, museums provided generic experiences to visitors, so they struggled to hook visitors for long. On top of that, limited space was available, reducing the number of exhibits. 

While VR in travel is a promising technology for museums to create engaging experiences for visitors. Museums can offer virtual tours of historical sites to bring history and culture to life.  

A virtual museum makes it easy for visitors to experience a collection of art, artifacts, and specimens using a VR headset. This makes the visitors feel like they are in a physical museum.  

For Instance – One of the most renowned museums in London is the British Museum, which leverages the use of VR technology so that visitors can experience Egyptian and Roman galleries.   

It increases visitors’ engagement because they can now interact with museums in more immersive ways. Hence, the museum no longer needs foot traffic to fill the walls because VR invites people to explore them.  

Also Read: AR/VR In Gaming Industry

Benefits of AR in Travel and Tourism  

Let’s discuss what benefits AR provides in travel and tourism-  

1. Increases user engagement 

Tourism companies can benefit from AR as they can provide interactive experiences to visitors. 

Now, visitors can enter the virtual world to experience various destinations, whether exploring Machu Pichu in Peru or visiting the Taj Mahal in India. 

 A research study states that AR product experiences are 200% more engaging because AR doubles the level of engagement as compared to non-AR experiences. 

Thus, AR/VR has become a powerful tool for travel and tourism companies to promote their services to a new level. When visitors get immersive experiences, they are more likely to act. 

2. Brings more revenue for tour operators  

Travel companies that use AR/VR technology will likely convert more visitors into customers. With an increasing rate of flight tickets, customers want to go with an affordable option as always.   

So, travel companies can now use AR as a marketing strategy to promote their services and get extra revenue.  

3. Reduces language barriers  

Earlier, travelers find challenges in planning a trip to a far-off country. Of Course, when planning for a foreign destination, you need to be fully aware of how to communicate with others.  

With AR-enabled translation apps, you can now convert a speech or text into your native language by pointing a camera toward the text. 

More importantly, you can now perform various tasks at a far-off destination such as ordering food in a restaurant, talking to locals, and guiding the user to find route directions. 

Benefits of VR in Travel and Tourism  

Here are some benefits of VR in travel and tourism-  

1. Increases engagement  

Virtual reality revolutionizes the way tourists plan their destinations.  

By wearing VR headsets, tourists can virtually travel to various places and attractions before planning their trip. 

This way, they can emotionally connect with places because virtual experiences are so thrilling that they encourage users to act. 

For instance, New York and London Mariott Park Lane used VR technology to increase their guest engagement rate. So, they provide VR headsets to their guests, allowing them to travel to 3 destinations comfortably. 

The result of this 24-hr. experiment was that satisfaction rates of guests skyrocketed above 100%. 

2. Get you more bookings  

The use of VR technology makes people more curious about the places that have been shown in tourism packages.  

Adding a booking or contact us form in a virtual reality tour encourages users to book a tour package. 

Creating virtual 360-degree videos is not enough to provide users with an immersive travel experience. You need to create engaging click-to-view content highlighting your hotel’s key features and other amenities.  

Adding a virtual tour on the landing page gets you more bookings because they will now become confident in booking a stay with you.  

Thus, VR reduces research time from a customer perspective. 

3. VR for selling destinations  

If you are struggling to find ways to attract tourists to your destination, then VR tours are meant for you. VR allows you to promote your destination, especially if it is the least popular. 

At the same time, if you want to sell high-end offerings, you can display your property by conducting a virtual tour.  

In this way, customers can experience the place and feel the difference between standard and premium packages. 

Such virtual experiences attract users to interact with your brand, and they are more likely to become your customers. 

Wrapping Up  

Augmented and virtual reality technologies are the 2 powerful weapons that provide a feel-like travel experience. 

AR/VR offers a promising future in travel and tourism. AR allows travelers to know the historical importance of a religious place or museum.  

Meanwhile, virtual reality creates unforgettable experiences for customers by transporting people to any place in the world. 

So, it’s time to implement AR/VR as part of your marketing strategy. And it will be worth it. 

As a leading AR/VR development company, we provide you with AR/VR experts who are well-versed in developing applications that enhance your customer experience.   

We begin our app development process by understanding your business needs first and then come up with developing exceptional AR/VR solutions that increase your business revenue by 5x.  

Need help developing high-quality AR/VR apps for your travel business?  

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