Could the evolving metaverse aid the travel industry as the world moves on after COVID? Prospective travelers can use the metaverse to virtually explore their options before packing their bags. However, some jet-setting veterans remain skeptical.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a trying time that forced many people to confine themselves to small spaces. Unsurprisingly, the travel industry was one of the hardest hit during this time.
However, with most restrictions lifted, domestic and international travel in most parts of the world has resumed. Now, travelers are looking for ways to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in order to end the year on a high note.
Virtual and augmented reality technology is now being used to allow travelers to virtually explore potential destinations. In 2022, Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg heavily promoted the concept of a virtual’metaverse’ as a way to transform the travel industry and improve off-site work life.
Some see the metaverse as a keystone in the next evolution of the internet, known colloquially as ‘web3.’ It intends to create more immersive experiences through the use of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR). These technologies are already making inroads into the travel industry. It is now possible to put on headsets and travel anywhere in the world without taking trains, planes, lines, or passports.
This enables visitors to ‘try it before they buy it.’ The Anantara Dhigu resort in one of the world’s most traveled destinations, the Maldives, allows customers to virtually explore their hotel room options from anywhere in the world.
Many other hotels and resorts are also jumping on board. For example, the Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam joined RendezVerse on its web3 development journey to virtualize meetings and events.
Furthermore, some travel agents encouraged customers to book travel in VR by allowing them to book trips or hotel stays in a VR world through platforms such as Amadeus and Skynav.
Skynav’s COO Ty Downing discussed three key areas where the metaverse can improve the travel experience with BeInCrypto. First, there are virtual sales and bookings, which have already been discussed. Even here, the COO emphasized the ‘try before you buy’ narrative. The second is boosting customer service, to which he stated: “(Metaverse) offers numerous ways to interact with customers, employees, and companies. Consider the possibility of closing a deal from your home office, or, better yet, consider how the Metaverse can assist you in understanding the behavior of your travelers. Furthermore, your customer may wish to use the Metaverse while on vacation. They may want to go to the store to buy something, book their return flight, or talk to their children.”
Finally, the technology can serve as a real-time guide. Furthermore, airline providers are now offering virtual reality in-flight entertainment. This is currently only found in business and first class. However, as costs become more manageable, it will most likely become the norm. Someone who is afraid of flying can now be transported to another world for the duration of the flight.
Booking.com, one of the largest travel agencies, shared its year-end report with BeInCrypto. The agency polled 24,179 people in 32 countries and discovered that many people were interested in ‘virtual vacations.’
Virtual reality technology has not yet progressed to the point where tourists can take’real-life’ tours. It can, however, provide tourists with a taste of what they can expect. According to the study, 43% are open to using VR to inspire their travel choices, and 46% said they would be much more likely to travel somewhere if they could first experience it in VR.
Many people expressed a desire to spend several days inside the metaverse. 35% said they’d go on a multi-day AR or VR journey. “As haptic feedback technology advances, virtual travelers will soon be able to feel the sand between their toes and the sun on their skin without even having to step outside,” the report continued.
Most vacationers, on the other hand, agree that virtual tours aren’t as appealing as being there in person. This technology’s concept remains a niche market. It will most likely take years for it to truly evolve and gain traction. Because of its ties to the cryptocurrency and virtual asset markets, the metaverse sector is already off to a rocky start.
Nonetheless, companies in the luxury fashion and music industries are already attempting to incorporate elements of the metaverse into their products and events.