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BY KAYLA NOBREGA

Have you ever booked a hotel room for your annual vacation, arrived, and felt regret creep in as you learn that the photographs were deceptive? Have you booked tours based on the hype and then left wondering what the big fuss was about as your expectations were sorely let down?

The rise of virtual reality is hastening as it proves itself most efficient and beneficial to the tourism industry, in that it can help you avoid the above.

When I plan a holiday, before booking my hotel, I like to see what the room looks like and what activities are nearby. Looking online is helpful, but limited.

Limited, until you throw virtual reality into the mix.

Virtual tours of hotel rooms allow you to interact with the room before you even arrive at the lobby. This increases efficiency in my booking process as I am able to make a more informed decision on where to stay. Standard photographs and videos are useful, but being able to interact with a space before stepping foot into it gives me a more accurate feel for the size and atmosphere of the room before I make a booking.

VR in tourism is not limited to tours in hotel rooms. VR simulations of tourist attractions in the area; such as zip lining, or roller coaster theme parks are not only a possibility but are already offered in malls around the world.

Travel giant Thomas Cook orchestrated virtual travel experiences in ten of their New York stores, and reported that excursion revenue increased by 190%. Immersing yourself in a virtual experience creates a greater desire for it. You know, kind of like how you want to go on a beach holiday even more when you immerse yourself in a traveler’s Instagram stories.

I am keeping my eyes out for the most interesting online virtual experiences; do you have any that have caught your interest?

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