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

Thanks for watching.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Augmented Reality, customer experience, virtual reality, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA