Virtual Reality Could Be Big Asset to Travel Companies

One of the things that emerged from the coronavirus pandemic – and the shutdown of almost all travel for the better part of three months – was virtual tours.

From whole cities to national parks to landmarks to museums, the ability to ‘tour’ somewhere helped keep travelers in touch with their wanderlust.

Now that the world is slowly opening back up, one company says the idea of virtual reality (VR) should still play a role in the travel process.

Great Britain-based GlobalData has found that as 45 percent of global travelers remain extremely concerned about the outbreak of COVID-19, making virtual reality a key component in the booking process may act as an additional tool to ease consumer uncertainty, creating an advantage for travel companies that incorporate it.

GlobalData says it uses its proprietary data to shape a mission that helps clients decode the future to be more successful and innovative across a range of industries, including travel.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, said that some operators were already using VR prior to the virus’ outbreak to offer travelers an insight into their holiday destination. But the ‘try before you buy’ concept might remain an important part of the booking process.

“Even once the spread of COVID-19 has slowed, timely airport procedures, an increase in pricing and more concerns regarding safety will likely affect future travel decisions,” Bonhill-Smith said. “A virtual experience beforehand may generate wanderlust, thus raising the appeal of international travel. Immersive, memorable and enticing experiences that VR can offer will help to ease consumer doubt – acting as another factor that can increase future travel demand.”

Interaction with online platforms has also rapidly increased for both consumers and companies during the pandemic, suggesting there is a growing opportunity for more digital interaction between the two parties.

“Travel operators will play a vital role in the recovery of the travel industry,” Bonhill-Smith said. “Working in lieu with a range of other industries in the tourism sector, incorporating VR into the booking process may act as another initiative to bring tourism suppliers closer together in a destination, resulting in greater collaboration and a stronger recovery.”

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