Virtual Reality Brings a New Dimension to Travel As We Know It
According to a new survey by the internet-based marketing agency, YouGov, virtual reality is currently the most appealing new technology for travel and bookings in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Virtual reality has been the talk of the day in many circles and it has found immense application with travel.
Scott Booth who is the research director and head of travel, tourism and leisure at YouGov ME presented the travel booking trends results under the theme ‘The Role of Big Data and Immersive Technologies in the Future Travel Booking Experience’ at the Arabian travel Market. These results were presented as part of the interactive panel discussion held at that global stage.
The Statistics behind the Numbers
A sample of 10,000 travelers were used to generate the data for this study across 21 countries and it was designed to unravel the recent reactions of various aspects of the travel booking experience. “One of the most exciting areas where technology is influencing consumer behavior and online activity is the emergence of virtual reality tools in the travel sphere. This kind of immersive experience gives you the chance to try before you buy, and there are examples of this live on the exhibition floor this week,” said Nadege Noblet-Segers, exhibition manager, Arabian Travel Market.
Fifty percent of the respondents in the study found the concept of virtual reality very appealing for the travel and booking process and many others also indicated their interest in the technology to add value to their overall experiences with 64 percent open to the idea of traveling to visit a store with the technology and 71 percent ready to download the specific travel virtual reality content they needed. Another 33 percent also confirmed they would be using the technology to book their next travel.
Booth said: “While the outcome remains uncertain, this study demonstrates content is king—whoever has the best, most accessible virtual reality content the soonest will stand to benefit most directly from the technology. Over time, we would expect immersive virtual reality content to become the norm, and consumers becoming accustomed to making decisions on the basis of this highly enriched content.”
Booth added: “Certain travelers particularly enjoy planning personal holidays. There is a sense of pride in pulling together and experiencing exactly the right trip for them and their companions. While predictive planners in a sense represent a loss of control in planning, there is immense potential for a service that can dramatically reduce the burden of planning and maintain or even elevate the quality and value of holidays experienced.”
“62 percent of respondents claiming they would use a predictive itinerary planner, with Emiratis the keenest (78 per cent), followed by Westerners (52 per cent). It appears that within the next 12 months even more MENASA travelers will get the online travel bug,” said Noblet-Segers.
All of these percentages and statistics all point to encouraging potentials of virtual reality in the travel and tourism market with the advantages it brings to the booking and the actual experiences that can be felt through the virtual reality content.