The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time, forcing many to remain confined to confined spaces. Unsurprisingly, the travel industry is one of the industries most adversely affected during this time.
However, most restrictions have now been lifted and most parts of the world have resumed domestic and international travel. Travelers are now exploring options for celebrating Christmas and New Year and are looking to end the year on a positive note.
Technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are now being used to allow travelers to explore potential destinations virtually. In 2022, the idea of this virtual “Metaverse” was heavily promoted by Meta Chief Mark Zuckerberg as a way to transform the travel industry and improve off-site work-life.
Some consider the Metaverse to be the keystone for the next evolution of the Internet, commonly referred to as “web3”. It aims to create more immersive experiences using virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR). These technologies are already beginning to permeate the travel industry. With a headset on, you can now travel around the world without trains, planes, lines or passports.
This allows travelers to ‘try before you buy’. Located in one of his most traveled locations, the Maldives, Anantara Dhigu Resort offers guests the opportunity to explore hotel room options virtually from anywhere in the world.
Many other hotels and resorts are jumping on the bandwagon as well. For example, Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam has joined his RendezVerse in the web3 development journey to transform meetings and events into virtual environments.
Metaverse In-Flight Operations
Additionally, some travel agencies have encouraged travelers to book trips in VR, allowing customers to book trips and hotel stays in VR worlds through platforms such as Amadeus and Skynav.
Speaking to BeInCrypto, Skynav COO Ty Downing highlighted three key areas of how the Metaverse can enhance the travel experience. First, there are the virtual sales and reservations described above. Again, the COO emphasized the “try before you buy” description. The second is better customer service, he said.
“(The Metaverse) offers a variety of ways to interact with customers, employees, and businesses. Consider the possibility of closing deals from your home office. Additionally, the customer may want to use the metaverse while on vacation: to purchase merchandise, book a return flight, or spend time with their children. You might want to go to the store to have a conversation or something.”
Finally, the technology also acts as a real-time guide. Additionally, airline providers are now offering in-flight entertainment in virtual reality. Currently, this is usually only found in business and first class. But as costs become more manageable, it will likely become the norm.
What do travelers want to do in 2023?
Booking.com, one of the largest travel agencies, has shared its year-end report with BeInCrypto. The agency surveyed her 24,179 respondents in 32 countries and found that many travelers were keen to explore a “virtual vacation.”
Virtual reality technology has not advanced enough to allow travelers to take “real” tours. However, it does provide a glimpse of what tourists can experience. The survey found that 43% were open to using VR to inspire their travel choices, and 46% said they were much more likely to travel somewhere if they could experience the place first in VR. I’m here.
Many even expressed a desire to spend days within the Metaverse. Thirty-five percent said their AR or VR journey would take several days. The report details:
“As haptic feedback technology advances, virtual travelers will be able to feel the sand between their toes and the sun without having to step outside.”
On the other hand, most vacationers agree that virtual tours aren’t as engaging as being in the physical location. The concept of this technology is still a niche area. It will probably take many years for it to really evolve and spread. The Metaverse sector is already off to a rocky start with links to the cryptocurrency and virtual asset markets.
Nonetheless, companies in the luxury fashion and music industries are already trying to leverage the Metaverse for their products and events.
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