Experience The Journey Before THE JOURNEY
12th March 2021
‘Putting the virtual sand between the customer’s toes’
Are you still set in your old ways, how would you like to keep up with the times and have that competitive edge over other travel agents?
Well, mixed reality could be your answer!
Virtual Reality (VR) + Augmented Reality (AR) = Mixed Reality
As they say, two is better than one!
“The UK is currently Europe’s largest market for virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), tapping into what is predicted to become a US$160 billion immersive technologies market.”Fiona Kilkelly, Immerse UK
‘TRY BEFORE YOU BUY’
Mixed reality is a new generation of experiential technology which can be used by travel agents. The visual aspects take customers/potential clients to a world of their own.
The time has gone when customers would come into the agency, sit down at a computer, look at websites, collect some brochures, then leave. Where is the sense of excitement in that?
Holidays are an investment and something to look forward to after months/years of savings. Brits on average spend around £855 each on a holiday, so if this was a family of four, you are looking at £3,420.
Research conducted by ABTA showed that 76% of holidays in 2019 were booked online, which then increased by 7% compared to the previous year. This shows that online bookings via apps and mobile phones are increasingly popular.
Therefore, to keep up with this trend, in-store travel agents are able to use mixed reality to focus on the quality of service, combining knowledge and new technology to advise the consumers with a new experience.
Augmented Reality (AR)
‘Adding new value and opportunities to consumers and Travel Agents’
AR Apps and the Uses
- In-store: Interior designs of the agency can collaborate with the use of AR apps by pointing devices towards interactive wall maps. This will provide the consumers with information. Similar concepts have been used by Hub Hotels by Premier Inn.
- AR apps provide the consumer with more information once they are at the destination. This can be more convenient for consumers with information such as public transport, sightseeing, bars, and restaurants.
Customers appreciate companies taking the time to engage with them, making the whole process fun and enjoyable.
Virtual Reality (VR)
‘Showcasing destinations in 360 degrees’
“From our experience, VR does significantly support the sales process and as an emotional medium can really drive purchase decisions.”Carlos Ayala Jiménez, Head of Sales at edataconsulting
VR and the Uses
- In-store: Headsets would be used to explore the surrounding areas by a head tracking feature within the device. This in turn would create more of a realistic approach compared to watching a screen.
- Online: VR photography can be used to show the consumers certain areas such as hotel rooms, excursion hotspots, and many more. This is similar to having a headset on, but it is a still photo that has been captured in 360 degrees. This can be used on any online platform, as well as in-store.
AR and VR can show the step-by-step process of the consumers’ holiday, from start to finish before even leaving the comfort of their home or the travel agents. This would give you, as a travel agency with the opportunity to enrich the customers with a pre-holiday experience.
Tourism Australia researched that almost 20% of consumers had used a type of VR to select their holiday destination and 25% plan on using this tool in the future.
AR and VR are becoming a MUST within the travel agencies. These technologies enable tourists to visit the actual location, see inside the hotel as if they were physically present, and receive a preview of various excursions while on holiday.
AR and VR present a foretaste of the holiday to come. Having AR and VR just shows how far the industry has embraced these technologies, permitting the consumer to experience the experience, before the experience.
Are you going to embrace the virtual sand between your customers’ toes?