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Virtual Reality & Travel Speech
Hello, my name is Shalyn Dougherty and today I am presenting about Virtual Reality and how it links to the travel industry. In my Digital Literacies class, we were given a pair of VR glasses that hold our smartphones, so that we were able to explore with different apps that illustrate virtual reality. Today I am going to speak to you about some of the amazing opportunities the creation brings.
Most of you have probably seen the commercials for virtual reality goggles, but weren't quite sure what they actually portrayed. Imagine strapping on a headset and immediately being immersed into a different universe, where no matter where you turned or what you heard, it felt as if you were truly there. With virtual reality glasses, you can travel anywhere in the world with the tap of a finger.
There are many companies and brands creating or investing in Virtual Reality, some of the most popular being the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, Google Cardboard, and VR Box. Some of the more expensive glasses have their own screen, sensors, and remotes, while others just need a smartphone inserted into the glasses box. Google Cardboard is a free app that allows people to view videos or games in VR form.
Virtual Reality itself allows someone to travel to other places, not physically but virtually. When someone puts on the VR glasses, no matter which way they turn or what they hear from the headphones, they are absorbed in a different world. Today my purpose is to illustrate to you how the travel industry can use this invention.
Travel agencies and various hotels are starting to recognize the power that virtual reality brings and companies are starting to use it to bring people to their business. VR is an amazing technology, but it can still not compare to physically experiencing the travel in real life. Companies are now starting to use VR to gives customers a preview and convince them to book a stay at their hotel or to visit their place.
As perfectly told by Abi Mandelbaum, CEO of You Visit, a virtual reality organization, “You can’t replicate that in VR, but you can give people a preview and understanding of what they would experience if they went to visit physically,” People can not only plan which places they will visit with VR, but what they will do at each destination. “Try before you buy” as the Las Vegas app puts it.
There are different places, apps, and companies using VR to link it to travel and business and today I am going to show you some of them I found through my research. National Parks have used VR, but there have also been apps created specifically for showing and letting people travel to different places. Businesses including Lufthansa, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Marriott are also exploring VR for their industry.
The National Park Service and Google collaborated to create a VR video of some of US’s most amazing national parks including New Mexico’s Carlsbad Cavern and Florida’s Dry Tortugas. The Video was named “The Hidden World's of the National Parks" and takes you many places within the parks. The video can be seen on YouTube, but also on a VR headset with the Google Cardboard app.
Another National Park illustrated in VR was at the Yosemite National Park where President Obama gives a tour around all of the nature. The Video, “Through the Ages: President Obama Celebrates America’s National Parks” the president walks you through different areas in the park and gives brief lessons and facts at each stop.
The Buckingham palace was the first landmark in the United Kingdom to explore with VR. It shows people places within the palace like the bedrooms, throne rooms, the picture gallery, and royal art collection. It is available to be seen with Google Cardboard or on YouTube. This video fully immerses you in the Buckingham palace and lets you tour all around the inside.
There have been numerous remarkable apps created for VR that allows users to travel all around, some of the most popular including Discovery VR, Jaunt, Ascape, and Google Cardboard. Weather you want to watch a show, travel to another country, check out different places within a city, or be submerged in interactive story, these apps have it all.
The Discovery VR app allows for people to watch TV shows but with a 360 view, you can be virtually in the show instead of just watching it on a screen. The app has videos from all over the world. You can swim with sharks on an episode of Jaws, walk through the streets of England or go on a Gondola ride in Venice on Discovery Atlas, or even go on a surf lesson on their adventure show.
Ascape is an app that lets you become a virtual traveler, and can watch 360 tours of almost anywhere in the world. You can make a list of everywhere you want to visit and the app takes you there. Jaunt is an app of short clips of destinations. The app started when it partnered with the travel agency Mountain Travel Sobek and they created a VR video in Peru that included the sight of Machu Picchu.
Lufthansa, a German airliner, used VR to create on-location videos in Beijing, Hong Kong, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. The films are 45 minutes long and take you to different areas within the cities on a plane. An airline company that is this up to date will definitely attract contemporary customers with their virtual reality videos.
Carnival Corporation paired with AT&T and Samsung to create a VR video of the experience on one of their cruises. The Samsung VR glasses showed the cruise in several AT&T stores to promote the store, product, and cruise line. You put on the headsets and can travel around both the inside of the cruise ship, on the deck, and the destinations that it visits.
Las Vegas is another place using VR with their app created called Vegas VR. People with the app can plan out an entire trip in Vegas based on their interests. The app even has schedules for different groups of people like food lovers, first timers and more. The creators of the app believe that this is a huge advancement in technology for travel and will create more business.
In the past Marriott hotels have created VR experiences like the Ascend the Wal, A Game of Thrones experience that lets you experience climbing the wall from the TV series as a part of their “Travel Brilliantly” campaign where they target a younger audience more influenced by technology. Later, Marriott and Framestore studios paired together to create the first ever ‘Teleporter’ released in September of 2014.
The machine is a combination of Oculus’ Rift glasses and other 4D aspects. Step into the machine and put on a headset and they are instantly virtually transported to a black sand beach and Maui and then on the top of Tower 42 in London. When you’re ‘in Maui’ the floor of the machine is cushiony like sand, and a warm breeze is cast along with the smell of salt water. In London, you get the feeling of being 400 feet up with a cool air all around.
Two out of three US travelers say they are persuaded to physically visit a place after a VR experience of that area, according to Caroline Coyle, Vice President of Brand Strategy for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. There are so many opportunities created with VR for travel and Cathy Tull simplifies it, “Virtual Reality is the future of vacation planning”.