How Virtual and Augmented Reality Are Transforming Travel
by Abi King
Posted on 01-26-2018
This is the second in a series of conversations between respected bloggers from a range of fields and experts from Adobe. These unique encounters will offer insight into how end consumers feel about digital marketing, including how and when targeting is effective, what makes for an appealing campaign, and how marketing affects whether these all-important influencers spread the word about specific products and platforms.
Our featured blogger for this quarter is Abi King (AK). In 2007, after five and a half years as a hospital doctor, Abi decided to follow her dream of becoming a writer, and Inside the Travel Lab was born. This luxury travel blog is described as “one of the best travel blogs in the world” by National Geographic Traveller and Lonely Planet. She’s an award-winning journalist and photographer whose work has appeared in National Geographic Traveller, Lonely Planet, the BBC, Red, CNN and more.
She spoke to Vijayanta Gupta (VG), our Head of Product and Industry Marketing at Adobe Systems Europe, where he leads Adobe’s Industry-specific Go To Market initiatives, as well as the Adobe Marketing Cloud Product Marketing initiatives across Europe, Middle-East and Africa regions.
AK: One thing I’m wondering about is virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), because so far I haven’t seen that in action, I’ve just heard about it. Do you think that that will play a big role in customer experience?
VG: There are a few reasons why VR and AR are important for this industry, and I’ll kind of differentiate between virtual reality and augmented reality. One is, on a virtual reality site, we believe it is one of the most engaging experience delivery mechanisms that exists. We believe it’s a very strong and immersive medium of storytelling. That doesn’t mean that other mediums will go away. There are still some technological challenges with virtual reality, because the headsets are still very big and clunky and sometimes require dedicated hardware.
Augmented reality, on the other hand, in my opinion, will have a lot more uptake. Everyone who carries a smartphone now carries an augmented reality platform in their pocket. So the whole idea of encouraging people to buy hardware, that is not needed. What we need to do there and what travel and hospitality companies need to do there is identify unique use cases which can be solved through augmented reality, and some of them are starting to emerge. So if I’m in a new city, can I….
AK: Hold up my phone…
VG: Hold up my phone and look at where is the nearest restaurant, or even figure out where is the nearest attraction, tourist attraction, information centre, anything else. So I think those are some of the use cases where augmented reality will provide travel and hospitality brands with a very unique use case which can be of use to the customer rather than just being a fancy new technology to have.
One thing I’ll add over and above AR and VR, I think one of the technologies that we are very excited about is voice. A lot of hotels are starting to experiment with Amazon Echo in the room. It’s all done using voice, so I think that’s an area where there is a lot of opportunity for brands to create that engagement. That brings me to the second part on the voice thing that we are very interested in, and that is utilising voice services to do translation.
You can translate voice in real time, so you and I can be talking in two different languages, you still have to use the phone, it translates and I can hear it on my headset. It takes away just one more barrier. I think that’s another technology in addition to AR, VR and the usual voice technologies which will be very, very interesting for travel and hospitality companies.
AK: It’s difficult for me to see at first how VR would be a good thing in travel, because I think travel above else is about you going somewhere, being on the ground, seeing something with your own eyes. But for a lot of people, if it’s your trip of a lifetime or if it’s your honeymoon, then they probably would really want to have a proper look around where they’re staying, or the resort, or the place, and that might be interesting there.
Augmented reality I can see a lot more exciting uses for and I really like the idea that you can hold your phone up and say, this is an interesting building, what is it, and that then your phone or the technology will be able to show you more about what you’re looking at. I didn’t used to be that excited by technology, I have to admit, even though I work in blogging, and when all the live broadcasts came out, Facebook Live, Snapchat, Instagram Live, I didn’t really see the point and now I’m completely hooked. I love doing them and I love watching them as well. There’s something about somebody doing something live that you can’t fake. There’s an energy there.
VG: Fantastic. Thank you very much for your time, Abi.
AK: Thank you for yours. And thank you for tuning in, and remember this is one of a six-part interview process with Adobe on digital marketing and travel. Do tune in and check out the rest on blogs.adobe.com/digitaleurope.
Thanks for watching.
Topics: Digital Transformation, Augmented Reality, customer experience, virtual reality, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA