Except for games, Oculus Rift and similar devices will be used in a completely new way. VR head-mounted displays will be used in tourism agencies and hotels in order to present travelers destinations they want to visit.
Destination British Columbia is among the first travel agencies settled in North America that offered this kind of service to their customers. “The Wild Within VR Experience” is the name of this project that costs about $500,000. This VR content will take a person to a coastwise adventure and a journey into the rainforest.
“VR video gives such an immersive sense of place that we really felt that it’s a natural fit with promoting a destination as a place to visit,” said Janice Greenwood-Fraser, manager of travel media relations for this agency. She pointed out that Destination BC wanted to be the first in the tourism environment to show to consumers and other travel companies how powerful tool for promoting destinations Oculus VR is.
VR travel experience
This kind of VR experience reminds consumer of ride in an amusement park. When the consumer puts on the device and earphones first he or she sees two screens — one for each eye. After while both screens blends in one and the user can see water, trees and sea lions around him/herself.
The projection is a 360-degree view where you can look at each side to see everything. The first- and third-person point of view is provided in this VR experience to create authentic feeling. HD GoPro cameras and hexacopter drone are used to capture these scenes.
According Fraser, Destination BC is working on releasing this advertising material but they plan to design more similar contents that will introduce other locations and amusement in British Columbia.
Media relations for Destination BC Mika Ryan explained that future films will have experiences such as skiing considering that British Columbia is a big place with so many stories to tell.
Travel channels will be the first to reproduce this video. It will be available for the Oculus Rift in early 2015 when the device will be released for consumers.
The Oculus Rift is also used by Marriott hotels to offer their customers realistic tours of their hotels. This idea is also something that other hotels thinking about when it comes to their marketing.
For now there is just developer version of the Oculus Rift and its price is $350. The consumer version will probably cost between $200 and $400.
Besides Oculus VR, manufacturer of Oculus Rift, Samsung and Sony will also release VR devices. Virtual reality experiences for agencies and hotels will probably be achievable through the devices’ download system and companies will also distribute contents.