Seven Reasons Why Virtual Reality Marketing Will Revolutionize Travel & Tourism

Ryan Rogers

Ryan Rogers

Senior Copywriter

It seems like everyone around the world for the past two years has been calling 2016 “the year of virtual reality.” And while that might be true, the technologies helping to shoulder true virtual reality (VR) have applications far beyond what we imagined.

From 360-degree cameras to full VR headsets, emerging technologies in video are helping to shape new frontiers in media. But this is not simply an entertainment novelty. Marketers and brands will soon have the ability to fully harness VR to reach people in unique, unprecedented ways. In a nutshell, VR is becoming a viable medium — poised to become an effective tool for marketing.

Advertising has become less about listing product benefits and more about telling engaging stories. Social media has helped shape the practice, and VR has the potential bring these stories to life — truly immersing the user. Now, for the first time in history, marketers have the opportunity to immerse consumers in an extension of the actual, “real-life” tourism experience. VR can do things a brochure can’t. It’s marketing in a new dimension.

Here Are Seven Reasons Why Virtual Reality Will Revolutionize Travel & Tourism Marketing:

1. Integration

Facebook’s ownership of Oculus Rift signals (among other things) the inevitable integration of Facebook’s ad tools and VR technology. Imagine a sponsored post for Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex that suddenly makes you feel like you’re floating in space! It’s the type of marketing that seamlessly finds its way into your day-to-day life.

2. Reach

Immersive videos can also be a great resource for destinations that don’t have the exposure of a big city. Businesses can use 3D mapping software to bring your destination to life and distribute content among potential visitors. It extends the destination to wherever you need it to be. Suddenly borders and city limits don’t confine you.

3. Perspective

The applications for VR could be great for event marking. For the first time, potential visitors can get a feel for the depth and scale of the space before making the trip. Imagine a 360-degree tour on your website — giving the user the feeling of actually being there.

4. Experience

When we travel, we want the most “authentic, local experience.” Immersive video can help mirror the experience of being on the ground — exposing the nuances of a destination that visitors might not see on the surface. Imagine a VR-guided city tour that takes you off the beaten path and into an unforgettable travel experience.

5. Knowledge

Imagine a crowded cityscape, full of sky-scraping towers and bustling locals. Now imagine an augmented reality where facts and figures are layered on top of building, landmarks and businesses. Suddenly your surroundings come to life — peeling back the surface with knowledge and storytelling on top of the physical world. Just consider the uses of this for educational travel marketing.

6. Future Ideas

VR has the opportunity to sell ideas that haven’t been manifested yet. It can actualize buildings that haven’t broken ground or attractions that are still in the rendering stage. As a marketer, you can help generate buzz by visualizing what’s to come.

7. The Wow Factor

At the end of the day, this technology was part of our sci-fi vision of the future long before Ray Bradbury penned “The Veldt.” Now it’s here, and the applications lay far beyond video games. It’s a really cool new frontier that many people find worth exploring.

Augmented reality experiences like Pokémon GO have proven that people will get out of the house for the promise of something new and enticing. We have the power of mixed reality and true VR to develop sharable content on the web and on-site experiences that enhance the visit. As a marketer, the objective is to share your content with more people at one time and make your content an experience. The user doesn’t need to game-ify his/her life to have a passive virtual reality experience that motivates them to act.

But what happens when VR gets so good that people don’t want to leave their homes? From a marketing perspective, the trick to making virtual reality work is not to re-create the entire travel experience. Instead, use the technology to entice enough interest in travel. Because no matter how good VR technology gets, nothing will ever beat the human experience of standing and gawking at something real.

Could your brand benefit from immersive video in your mix? Ask yourself:

  • Does your brand have an experience that might be hard to describe in writing and photos (i.e., “It’s hard to describe, you just have to go”)?
  • Does your brand have an emotional quality that drives the experience (i.e., “It feels different here”)?
  • Are there unexpected ways to navigate your destination (i.e., “We’ve got experiences below the surface”)?

If depicting something in immersive video can compel potential travelers to visit, consider it part of your future



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