We've spoken quite a bit about virtual reality (VR) over the last year or so. We might finally be getting to the point where we can talk about using the technology in the travel industry.
Until now, the consensus has been that travel brands should let the technology move into mainstream before leveraging its potential. However, with Sony and Google having unveiled new VR headsets in the past few weeks, VR content needs to be a serious consideration for travel brands in 2017.
It now appears to be just a matter of time before VR enters the mainstream – the Telegraph believes Sony's PlayStation VR could be the headset to do it.
Marketing experts Econsultancy are reading from the same page, stating that VR is "set to become the content marketing trend for 2017". Its reasoning is that, with tech and electronic giants investing heavily in the hardware, VR's time is surely about to come.
If you, too, are convinced VR is about to take off, you'll probably want some inspiration for VR content... Econsultancy offers a place to start:
Marriott Hotel Group
Where better place to start than with a leading name in our industry: Marriot. The hospitality company has already experimented with the technology, inviting couples off the streets to come and experience a 'virtual honeymoon'.
Rather than upload the VR content itself to YouTube, however, it created a video of the couples' reactions, which has managed to generate nearly 250K views. The couples are shown stepping into Marriott's 'teleporter' machine before being transported to exotic locations, which leave them experiencing a number of different emotions. It's effective stuff.
Coinciding with the launch of its new CX-90, Volvo created a virtual test drive experience, which involved putting people in the cockpit of the car, allowing them to get a feel for how the car drove.
The success of the campaign was testified by the fact the CX-90 sold out its first run of orders within two days of launching. We'd put our money on virtual test drives revolutionising the buying process within 18 months – buyers won't even need to step into the showroom to get a comprehensive look at a car. It just goes to show the potential of VR...
Our final slice of inspiration comes via Jaguar, who, instead of using VR to showcase one of its own vehicles, leveraged the technology to promote its position as the 'official car of The Wimbledon Championships' this year.
Its VR experience consisted of putting people in Andy Murray's shoes as he competed at Wimbledon, which won them the 'Steve Wozniak Award for Tech Excellence at this year's Masters of Marketing 2016'. The VR content is still on YouTube if you feel implored to search it out – it's the one with over two million views.
As Jaguar have proved, the appetite for VR content is already there, even if it hasn't entered the mainstream just yet. As Marriott shows us, though, customers don't necessarily need to have headsets themselves for brands to enjoy a successful VR-led campaign...
VR is still a long way from becoming an established tool within the travel industry however. In the meantime, Digital Trip offer a wide range of additional technology solutions for travel agents to engage with their customers. Contact us today to find out more