Will virtual reality overhaul travel booking?

A study by Walker Sands found that 35% of US consumers would be more inclined to buy a product or try out a service if they were able to experience it through virtual reality using a product like an Oculus Rift headset.

Triptease started with Triptease Magazine, our take on making travel reviews better. Fast forward two years and it seems descriptions, testimonials, even pictures and videos can only show so much. Diving into a virtual world offers the ability to take travel booking experience to a whole new level.

Imagine, before you pay for a holiday, you could strap on some headgear, take a stroll down a busy Manhattan street; watch a sunset on the California coast; witness a a wilderness being chased by a female lion on the African savannah. All without leaving the comfort of your own home. You might even wonder whether you need to go on the trip altogether.

Some travel groups, such as TUI and Thomas Cook are already trialling it. The latter opened a concept store in the Bluewater shopping centre, near London, in 2014, which includes paperless brochures in the form of Oculus Rift experiences. It could be an early adopter gimmick, but consumer uptake for virtual reality did the rounds at SXSW this year, which makes us think this isn't going away any time soon.

It will be interesting to see adoption rates, and whether hotels can get started on virtual reality early before travel agents do first.

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Triptease empowers hotels to recapture guest relationships and increase direct bookings. Follow our blog for the latest insights and trends in the Direct Booking Movement.