Virtual Reality Travel
Traveling Without Leaving your Couch: When Tourism Starts to Virtual Reality
Who hasn’t dreamed of teleporting? Dabble in the Maldives with a snap of your fingers? This is now (almost) possible thanks to virtual reality, more and more tour operators are offering a 360° experience to their customers.
Packing, getting in the car, getting on the train, enough to make you tired of your vacation. The future is good: virtual reality is democratized. This principle, worthy of Robert Zemeckis ‘ film back to the future, which allows everyone to view a multitude of possibilities, “worlds”, via a helmet, is now open to tourism. Virtual reality – or VR-thus attracts not only the big names of technology and the aficionados of the motherboard but also travel agencies and renowned hotel chains.
Traveling Without Moving from Home
Google Earth VR, Ascope, Discovery VR, applications, and other software combining travel and virtual reality are growing. This principle that we fantasized little in a story from an old Picsou Magazine of 1984 is slowly becoming a reality. Traveling without moving from home is (almost) possible!
Marie, Assistant Project Manager at an advertising agency, recounts her virtual adventure with this new technology: “I went straight to Mauritius. I’ve been there in person, and with the VR, I was there, it was like falling in love with it! I was shocked by the sharpness of the image; I had already tried the process, but there have been great improvements since then. Nevertheless, she nuances: “I would not buy a helmet: it is not given, and if the experience is interesting, it is to do once to have fun; one does not bronze!”
Alain Capestan, CEO of Travel Counter (World Travel Group), is dubious about this new process: “Travelling is projecting oneself into a different universe, with unknown codes, languages, and cultures, it is going out of its comfort zone to discover something else. Virtual Reality is far from providing such sensations and life experiences.”
But where does man’s desire to explore and travel ever further come from? “It’s just human. Discover, understand, confront the unknown, learn from the difference. As soon as all nearby territories are visited, man inexorably seeks to go further”, the CEO philosophizes.
Will the virtual trip remain leisure or even a game? Alain Capestan prefers to see it as a tool to accompany the consumer: “The VR must be an opening, an invitation to travel. It is a technological evolution that can improve the information gathering and the choice of the traveler. It will never replace the journey itself because one does not substitute one’s own experience. It will allow the consumer to plan his trip better, to choose it better, without ever replacing it.”
Visit Before Arriving at Destination
Virtual reality allows some companies to optimize their marketing strategy and customer approach. Club Med is the first tourism company in the world to present a collection of 360 ° films, displayed on its YouTube and Facebook channel, aimed at highlighting its villages and offering an immersive and interactive virtual reality experience. At the agency, these videos help with the purchase decision.