Written by Steven Stumpf on March 16, 2018 · 4 min read

VR in Travel – Talk

VR in Travel – Talk

VR could potentially transform how travel is marketed.

TradeTracker invited us to Amsterdam (well, Almere, but you might have no idea where that is) to give a talk on VR in Travel on their annual e-Travel Summit. Couldn’t make it? I got you: here are the key take-aways.

The term VR in this article is the broader term of anything simulated visually in a 360 immersive way, so from 360 photo and video to 360 or actual 3D.

This is why you should be using VR in Travel. Already.

I’ll keep it to the point, since it’s actually quite obvious: Storytelling.

Virtual Reality for Travel

Communicating experience is key for the travel and tourism industry. Experiences are the currency.

Storytelling is emotion, and travel is an emotion-driven sales process.

VR is impressive, immersive (there it is, buzzword bingo), uses multiple senses, requires 100% focus, is really fun and is growing from novelty to mass-adoption very rapidly.

We believe VR, AR and immersive imaging in all forms are the best way to tell a story.

It’s important that the experience is not stuck in high-end VR goggles, but it can be used on a wide variety of channels, from WebVR-tours to facebook, youtube, even print.

Travel in VR

Business Opportunity

Great experience > Emotional State > Sale.
Clear? Okay.

Some examples:

  1. Direct sales in VR tours
    Book this experience/trip/room/car/private jet now!
    (and get 10% off or get bumped to premium)
  2. Gamification triggers and layers
    You found a hidden treasure!
    Congratulations, breakfast is on us.
  3. Brick & mortar stores
    Let them visit locations in VR in stead of showing pictures or videos,
    in super high-res photo, or video with the proper audio.
    Beach lover? Behold.
    Adventure time? Here’s a first-person 360 underwater video in a shipwreck.
  4. Remarketing
    Watched this destination twice for 10 minutes straight?
    Hey, book now and get free luggage!
  5. Branded Cardboards
    To key prospects, with a dedicated landing page filled with tailored content, optimized for conversion.
  6. Organic reach
    Put out the best content, get discovered.

And then there are the (obvious) PR and marketing opportunities.

VR for automotive
Hey, Steve, I’d sure love to! Lead capturing direct in VR tours, be it in the browser, mobile vr or the full experience.

And there are many, many more possibilities.
Triggered? Shoot us a mail.

Content marketing

Obviously it doesn’t stop there, the imagery can be deployed through virtually all aspects of communication, which brings direct and organic traffic.

Create posts for facebook, Twitter, Instagram, videos for YouTube, Vimeo, target to Snapchat and share insights on Medium (hello).

Beautiful 360 imagery for websites, brochures, leaflets, street marketing, video marketing, you name it.

Waregem Virtual Reality
Little planets are awesome!

From a browser to a headset: portability

You don’t need a VR headset to experience VR (but it surely helps).

360 and VR can be consumed through anything from a browser, your mobile device, social networks to Cardboards, Gear VR’s and the high-end goggles.

Virtual Tour Devices
Our tours work in browsers, on websites, social, in apps, cardboard, Gear VR to Oculus/Rift.

The images shot, rendered or edited can be (re)used for a myriad of other carriers like websites, apps, social media platforms, print, you name it.

And what about activation marketing? Go stand in the subway on a rainy day, put up a beach chair and a cocktail, VR goggles with a gorgeous beach on the Maldives and a book now incentive. Boom.

Some quick numbers and estimates

  • The current amount of VR devices (excl. cardboards) is about 10 million
  • VR and AR grew Q2 of 2017 by 25.5%, seeing 2.1 million orders
  • IDC predicts a growth to 100 million units by 2021
  • The current market leaders are Samsung, Sony and Facebook, good for 60% combined market share.

From-left-to-right, these are the biggest brands in terms of headsets shipped: Samsung, Sony, Facebook, TCL and HTC, that last one actually showing decline in numbers probably due to the high cost versus the competition.

There are only very rough estimates of shipped (Google) Cardboards, in terms of 100 million units and increasing rapidly, due to the low cost and ever-increasing quality, especially of cheap lenses.

The estimates of market size swing between 15 to 40 billion dollars by 2020.

Projected VR revenue by 2020 — Data: SuperData

TL;DR: All growth graphs are pointing up.

A brief history

The stereoscopic goggles we know today can actually be traced back to the 1960, making static 3D images first, and later adding motion tracking and video.

Virtual Reality History
A head mounted three dimensional display, Ivan Sutherland, 1968.

The term “Virtual Reality” was coined in the 1980s by Jaron Lanier at the Visual Programming Lab. High cost and lack of processing power at the time caused their pioneering VR applications to not be commercialized.

Sega actually announced plans for a VR headset as a Sega Genesis back in 1991. Unfortunately, tests showed that because of the quality and limitation back then, it made everyone sick.

2014 was a pivotal point in VR, with computers and CGI maturing rapidly, Oculus Rift, a Kickstarter-backed project, was bought in 2014 by Facebook for a cool 2 billion dollars, and development of competing platforms such as HTC Vive, Playstation VR and Samsung’s Gear VR using their top tier phones as display sources, on the Oculus ecosystem.
The number of manufacturers keeps on growing

One thing is for sure — this is just the beginning, speed of development in this area is incredible and we’re tremendously excited and curious where VR will be in six months, a year, two years.

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