How will tech transform tourism?
To travel is to live. We know that the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen said this because we have read that he did. But what if he could come to life and tell it to us face to face?
He almost can. We have created a virtual H. C. Andersen and this week at the Tech+Tourism conference hosted by “Dansk Natur- og Kystturisme” (Danish Nature and Coastal Tourism), we got to show him off. We also discussed the role of tech and Extended Reality (XR) in the tourism industry. Here are some ideas for you:
Create a memorable guest experience
We didn’t create H.C. Andersen just to show off. We created him as an example of how you can bring history to life around you in a way that engages your audience.
When we go on vacation, we go to experience the destination. It is not the job of XR to replace this experience – but to enhance it. Augmented Reality (AR) can do exactly that in places like theme parks, museums or other tourist destinations.
The applications of AR are endless – Hans Christian Andersen can tell you his life story in front of you, precious museum artefacts that are usually behind glass can be placed anywhere and turned around, upside down and looked inside, or guests can be encouraged to explore all areas of a hotel or theme park with gamification where they can collect virtual items throughout the place.
Personified storytelling is more engaging than reading a paragraph on a wall, and creates memorable, interactive experiences for your guests. Experiences they will tell others about and come back to.
Virtual Reality as an attraction itself
Sometimes an experience is so grand and unique that more people ought to experience it. But for the likes of returning from space, it is not an opportunity that very many of us have, and that’s a shame. Here at Virsabi, we have already built some unique experiences that have become attractions themselves.
We have delivered advanced solutions to both the Danish Museum of Science and Technology and to the Red Bull Media World in Lucerne. In Denmark, we have recreated the return from space, where you sit next to Danish astronaut, Andreas Mogensen, in his space capsule on his way home to planet Earth. And in Switzerland, you can travel to the limits of the earth alongside Felix Baumgartner and fly next to him as he dares his incredible jump from the stratosphere.
Both experiences are extremely lifelike, making the museum guests feel like they were right there themselves. The VR-installations are memorable experiences within the museum and work as part of the entire exhibition. Below are a few pictures from these experiences.
Show holiday rentals virtually
With advanced and high quality Virtual Reality (VR) it is possible to create hyper realistic versions of holiday resorts, beach houses or hotel rooms. It is a very convincing push towards a purchase.
A VR version of a holiday resort goes way beyond a 360-degree photograph. With VR the user can walk around and control what they want to see, giving them a greater sense of freedom and mobility. It becomes a dynamic experience, where they can explore and interact with the place, which provides an accurate feel of the space.
The power of VR in training
How do you prepare your hotel or cruise ship staff for the worst? The strengths of VR in learning have been proven time and time again, for instance in the onboarding of new employees or the implementation of new practices. Through realistic simulations, employees can experience and work their way through different customer-facing scenarios. In a hotel or on a cruise ship this can prove extremely valuable in training situations that are otherwise hard to simulate, for instance dealing with aggressive customers, fire, or other crises.
By making these scenarios available in VR, an employee can run through a scenario as many times as necessary without any extra costs. Further, the immersive nature of VR means that the learning experience is a lot more engaging, which makes the process more effective. Training is also available at any time that is convenient, making the training flexible.
Remove language barriers
For all above-mentioned XR solutions, there is one crucial shared benefit – they can all be done in any language. The potential with this is huge. Tourist attractions with guides, signs and navigation, even training of employees can be customized to any language needed, which minimizes any potential language barriers.