If you’ve ever booked a vacation online, you’ve almost certainly experienced the uncertainty that accompanies it. How is the actual quality of the resort? What will the amenities really be like? What will the hotel room look like? Enter virtual reality technology. Now watch how VR disrupts yet another industry.

VR for travel companies has the power to communicate to consumers more accurate reflections of what they can expect out of their travel experience. It’s another effective try-before-you-buy tactic and it’s a winning pitch for travel marketers.

Marketing destinations

VR travel experiences can be used to promote and sell seats for destinations anywhere. Businesses such as resorts, airlines, travel agencies, and online travel e-commerce platforms can now show consumers popular destinations, or market specific deals on flights or accommodations. By offering a detailed experience of the destination in VR, companies are allowing consumers the opportunity to have an emotional connection to a faraway place, long before they go.

It’s a practice that’s working. Thomas Cook saw a 190% uplift in New York excursions for UK travellers who tried a five-minute version of the holiday in VR.

“Thanks to working with Visualise VR, Thomas Cook was the first travel company to deliver in-store virtual reality to customers, we’ve been nominated for numerous innovation awards, and we’ve seen a good conversion rate for bookings made after viewing the VR content.” – Lynn Slowey, Head of Digital Content, Thomas Cook

Stunning 3D VR travel experience to Machu Picchu in Peru by YouVisit.
YouVisit has created VR content for many desired travel destinations, like the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru.

VR can also help promote less popular or niche destinations that tend to get overlooked by the general population. VR helps assure prospective travellers they’re not wasting their travel budget by ending up somewhere they don’t want to be.

Marriott hotels have taken this a step further, with VRoom Service. Guests get to strap on a headset and tour Marriott VR Postcards, which are experiences in Chile, Rwanda or Beijing. With 65% of 18-34 year-olds seeking to buy experiences over material things, we’re only going to see more of this type of usage.

Confidence in booking

Carnival Cruises have also been early adopters of VR travel marketing, to instil confidence about the cruising experience in prospective travellers. Their 360˚video tours and VR travel experiences are designed to instantly provide the experience of a Caribbean vacation. In this way, they entice emotional connections in consumers and facilitate aspirational bookings.

VR marketing for travel also allows consumers to preview their room or living accommodations, “tour” the resort, or check out the views. This allows travellers to upgrade their package to a more premium travel experience.

Royal Caribbean uses VR travel experience to demonstrate the difference in room amenities with this balcony cabin YouTube experience.
Harmony of the Seas virtual balcony tour, on YouTube, helps communicate the value of upgraded cabins.

Providing travel to those who can’t

Of course, not everyone is physically capable of travelling or has the budget to do so. But now, anyone with a smartphone can experience a travel destination in VR. It’s even been the focus of some health and wellness campaigns for those unable to travel. A recent experiment in Brazil allowed residents of a seniors’ home to use VR headsets to visit destinations they’d never been to. Many reported feeling more optimistic and excited – and some even nostalgic.

A female senior citizen uses a headset for VR travel to experience a distant ballet production.
Technology and Life is a collaborative effort in Brazil that showcases how VR technology can benefit health and wellness.

With the help of ambient audio and pristine image quality, VR helps viewers feel as if they’ve actually gone somewhere. If you’re looking to go somewhere without breaking the bank, CN Traveler has identified some experiences recently that are almost as good as the real thing.

Learn more about how VR can create emotional experiences for your own customers at Yulio.com. Sign up for a free trial account (no commitment or credit card necessary) or take our free, 10-minute-a-day 5-day email course.