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2016 was rumoured to be the year that Virtual Reality (VR) would transform and reinvent the way travel is marketed and sold. Industry experts predicted that VR would emerge from the shadows and open itself up to mass marketing and mass uptake.

We’re now in 2017, so we decided to have a look at who in the travel industry has embraced this innovation and is actively using VR.

 Airlines are showcasing their products on Virtual Reality

Several airlines have taken to VR to entertain clients and market their products.


Qantas was the first to trial an in-flight VR technology allowing first class passengers to enjoy a virtual world where they can walk the city streets in any of the airline’s destinations. After this trial, the airline also launched a VR app, which allows all travellers to explore immersive destination content before booking their flights.


Other airlines have also jumped on the VR bandwagon, such as Lufthansa, Delta, United and Etihad. United uses VR to showcase Polaris, its new business class offering, and Etihad uses VR to help passengers discover what it feels like to fly on its Airbus A380 with Nicole Kidman.

Hotels offer Virtual Reality experiences


Hotels have not lagged behind either.

Travellers can for example explore Shangri-La’ hotels and destinations around the world with immersive 360-degree videos.

Marriott Hotels recently introduced the first ever in-room VR travel experience. The hotel also started offering VR Postcards, intimate travel stories that users experience in 360 3D via a VR headset.

Travel agents explore the Virtual Reality opportunities

 Of course, travel agents and tour operators can offer their travellers an amazing buying experience thanks to VR.

Matoke Tours, an African travel tour operator, recently produced a ‘Virtual Gorilla’ travel brochure, featuring six travel offerings in Uganda. The tour operator says the VR app enables them to convey the intensity and emotion of the travel experience before the journey has even started. Travellers are then better able to decide which excursions they want to book.

The travel industry can truly benefit from VR because it offers a new way to connect with customers and can help travellers envision their trip in the planning stage. Travellers can ‘try before they buy’, experience virtual walk-throughs from anywhere, and they can see and experience the difference between different room types.

The travel industry has taken the first steps into the world of VR. More exciting changes are sure to be ahead…