Excerpt from Tnooz
The narration is familiar – a new shiny breakthrough in tech is announced, inks spill in its honour, and criticism and opinion pieces fly around. Early adopters rush in to lay their hands on it, and in a few months, the circus is dead; inks are scribbling new praises, tech podcasts are singing new songs.
NB: This is a viewpoint from Abdulrahman Jogbojogbo, head of content at Hotels.ng
With this piece, Hotels.ng attempts to analyse the virtual reality technology, its value to the hospitality industry, and also assess the chances of it being anything more than a bogus apparatus you strap to your head. Will VR be relevant in hospitality decades from now, or is it just a shiny fad?
Since the mid 1930s, various contributing technologies have evolved to create what we now know as virtual reality.
Investments in the technology by corporations such as Facebook and Samsung have lent to its popularity, with Google’s cheap cardboard solutions making it more accessible.
Historically, the hospitality industry has been a testing ground and early adopter of a lot of new technologies. Hospitality brands keep pushing the frontiers of marketing and customer satisfaction with technology, and with VR, it is no different.
Existing VR applications in travel
The three major drivers of the adoption of VR technology by the sector are competition, heightened customer expectations, and improving marketing strategies.
Already, VR adoption by hospitality’s big brands dot the entire sector’s landscape from flight carriers, hotels, to fancy restaurants that simulate exotic culinary experiences for their clients. A few of these applications are highlighted;
Shared travel experiences: Marriott International, carried out a beta test for shared travel experiences in a couple of their hotels. Users wore VR headsets and viewed a traveller’s documented journeys and commentaries in 3D and 360 degree views.
When it goes mainstream, this application will help to show the potential of viewing other people’s travel experiences and participating in them from a safe environment.
Tomorrow, just about anyone may take leaps from the canyon mountains or surf the dangerous waves of Oahu from the comfort of their couches.
Virtual travel bookings: Amadeus, developed a virtual reality travel booking experience.
The innovation will allow users search through flight options, review cabins, compare options and make bookings – all through virtual reality devices. It is easy to see how this innovation can be extended to hotel and property booking websites too.
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