🗣 For years we’ve enjoyed watching futuristic movies like TRON, Matrix, Minority Report, Avatar and Ready Player One. The technology in these films used to seem far-fetched and in the distant future. While the concept of living in a simulation or using augmented reality made for good entertainment, we never really considered that it would become reality in our lifetime — pun intended.
As the technology surrounding virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the Metaverse have come further into the spotlight, receiving widespread adoption and support from large companies like Meta, Apple, Google, and Microsoft – it’s apparent that it’s here to stay. Depending on who you are, these technological advancements may excite you or terrify you, but it’s happening all the same.
This technology has already begun revolutionising industries like healthcare, education, and others. Likewise, there is a target on the back of the travel and tourism industry. Can the Metaverse change travel as we know it? If so, for the better? Or for the worse?
How Metaverse Will Impact Travel
The reality is until the Metaverse or other VR technology achieves “Matrix”-level sophistication, in which an individual can experience all five senses while being “plugged in” to a virtual world, it will not and cannot completely replace travel. However, money is being poured into the development of this technology and will continue for the foreseeable future.
The travel, tourism, and hospitality industries must continue to adapt and evolve alongside the Metaverse, using innovative ways to leverage the Metaverse and virtual reality, in order to avoid being left in the dust of rapid change. Real-world applications for virtual reality are no more a distant dream. In fact, they’ve been around for quite some time. Yet, there is still plenty of opportunities for innovation and disruption in the travel and tourism industry.
Traveling has always been one of life’s greatest joys and learning about new cultures and places is enriching, but the enjoyment of traveling is often marred by the exorbitant costs involved. Moreover, with the ever-increasing population, environmental degradation, and rising threat of global terrorism, tourism has become a target for various criticisms.
The Metaverse offers an opportunity to change all of this. For one thing, it will be able to offer a more authentic travel experience to people who might otherwise never get to see certain places or meet certain people. It will also allow users to interact with each other through avatars which they can customize as they please. This could eventually make virtual experiences just as meaningful and memorable as anything we might experience in reality.
On top of that, the Metaverse will be able to facilitate collaboration among like-minded individuals and communities on a global scale that could then go on to create real-world impact through joint initiatives and projects.
The Positive Impact on Travel
When it comes to the future of travel, there’s a lot of hype surrounding virtual reality (VR) and the metaverse. Here are just a few possibilities for how VR and the Metaverse could positively impact the future of hospitality, travel, and tourism.
👉 Travel Planning in the Metaverse
In the future, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a virtual reality headset bundled into many travel packages. Think about it — if you can see the destination and experience it firsthand before you even book your trip, you might be more likely to go through with it. And that’s good news for travel companies, both large and small.
Virtual reality can also help travelers who are less inclined to go out of their comfort zones. If you’ve ever been to a foreign country and felt unsafe or uncomfortable, virtual reality could help you get over those fears or use a VR tour to help you decide whether or not it’s worth staying at a hotel.
👉 Virtual Bookings and Sales
At present, we are seeing hotels and airlines launching tours around their resorts and cabins using VR apps. This gives customers a chance to “try before they buy” and gives them a better idea of what they are going to get. The possibilities are endless and exciting. With any luck, VR will be used by travel companies as an educational tool, and as a way to set themselves apart from the competition.
👉 Customer Service Improvements
The Metaverse is an opportunity for you to further your brand’s reputation, given there are countless ways in which companies, employees, and guests can interact with the metaverse. Imagine the potential of selling your product from the comfort of your home, or even better, imagine how you could use the Metaverse as a way to gain insight into customer behavior.
👉 Guided Real-Time Tours
Imagine that you’ve arrived at your destination and are eager to begin exploring your new surroundings but can’t locate the landmark you’re looking for. This is where AR can help specifically through real-time route-finding. For example, Google Maps’ Live View feature now enables you to see your route during navigation on foot. Small advances in technology, such as this augmented reality app, can make traveling to foreign cities a lot easier. If you are ever lost in a city, or if you find 2D maps confusing, this app is a helpful tool.
The Future is What We Make It
Metaverse may be the most exciting technology capturing our imaginations right now, but it’s also one of the most unpredictable. We don’t yet know how to use it to its full potential and, even more importantly, we don’t know what may come out in the next few years. One thing we know is the Metaverse won’t replace travel anytime soon, but it can certainly help deliver fun and immersive travel experiences in a more accessible way. When used properly, this technology can help us make deeper connections to cultures, history, and people from destinations all over the world.