Blog

The Immersive Experience Opportunity for Travel and Entertainment

Sean Connell, Chief Technology Officer

Media consumption and the rise of the experience economy—these are two trends defining the youngest generations of consumers. That’s both good news and bad news for travel and entertainment brands.

The good news is that more time spent with screens means more opportunity to attract, engage, and retain customers. The bad news is that there are more brands than ever competing for short consumer attention spans.

Immersive experiences are becoming essential for travel and entertainment brands to cut through the noise and change the narrative around short consumer attention spans.

From Passive to Active Customer Experiences

Entertainment and travel brands benefit from some of the most inherently immersive experiences. From live concerts and sports to vacations and tourism, entertainment and travel offer exactly what the experience economy demands.

However, not every aspect of entertainment and travel experiences are active and immersive. In many cases they’re passive. For example, when consumers are sitting at home watching sports on TV or when your travel customers are browsing possible destinations for their next trips.

New technology gives you a chance to turn even the most passive aspects of the customer journey into immersive experiences. That means taking advantage of both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)—and some brands are already ahead of the curve.

Entertainment: How the NFL and NBA Are Embracing Immersive Experiences

Studies have already proven that consumers are less engaged by on-screen entertainment than they once were. In fact, 87% of consumers are using a second screen while watching TV.

That’s why entertainment giants like the NFL and NBA are turning to immersive experiences. Rather than resting on the laurels of passive entertainment, they’re investing heavily in AR, VR, and mixed reality.

For the NFL, technology like NextVR and Intel True VR are combining to allow users to wear headsets to watch a game, placing themselves directly on the field to experience the sights and sounds. Similarly, the NBA has already used VR technology to enhance its All Star Game, providing in-the-stadium experiences for those at home.

The goal for both brands—and for those following suit—is to turn viewers into active participants. When consumers are involved physically in the experience, they’re more likely to engage (and stay engaged).

Travel: Give Consumers an Escape from Reality

One of the greatest benefits of travel experiences is to escape from reality for a short time. And places like Walt Disney World are doubling down on this fact with new projects like the Star Wars hotel. As is the case for so much of the Disney World resort, the Star Wars hotel will go beyond the typical travel experience to make visitors feel like they’re truly part of the world.

But travel companies have an opportunity to provide escapes even in the planning stages of the process. According to research from Booking.com, 64% of travelers would like a “try before you buy” approach to travel with VR previews of destinations.

Even if you haven’t fully embraced VR just yet, increasing your use of 360-video can help as you transition. While not quite as immersive as VR or AR, 360-videos can still create the feeling that travelers are at their destination, giving them new insights into where they’d like to go.

Compare this to a passive travel-planning experience where someone might visit an online travel agent and open multiple browser tabs to view different options. Your brand might just be one in a crowd. But with immersive experiences, you’ll stand out and totally engage your potential customers.

Immersive Experiences Are More than Tech Trends

In the early days of business adoption for immersive technologies like AR and VR, it’s easy to think of them as shiny objects in the world of customer experience. However, there are tangible business benefits to making immersive elements core tenants of your customer experience.

Just as chatbots became ubiquitous for businesses so quickly, immersive experiences will quickly spread through entertainment and travel because of their ability to:

  • Create Memorable Moments: Presenting the right information at the right time is no longer enough for consumers. They expect that level of service. You need to create experiences that are truly memorable. And with VR/AR, you can build stories that engage customers through multiple senses and make a lasting impact.
  • Personalize Content: Unlike written web content, VR and AR experiences can adapt quickly to customer preferences and data. A simple input change can give consumers a completely unique, personalized experience.
  • Make Your Brand Relatable: Authenticity is a major buzz word for brands across all industries. If you don’t seem like an authentic, trustworthy source, consumers will find someone else to do business with. Immersive experiences help you connect with customers on a more emotional level, creating a bond that can close business both now and in the future.

One of the biggest challenges with immersive experiences is that your options are essentially limitless. You can create any experience you want to engage with consumers. The key to success is understanding what your customers need and designing accordingly.

That’s where we can help. If you’re ready to change the way your brand is perceived in the experience economy, contact us today and learn how we can help you make the most of AR, VR, and other technologies.