Posted on September 5, 2016 by staff

Holiday of future all about VR – and digitised butlers


Our holiday experiences will one day rely heavily on virtual reality while digitised butlers could also be coming, a new report has claimed.

The Holiday of the Future Report by Expedia looked at how technology will transform the experience of travellers.

And it seems that many of the pillars of the holiday experience of the future are already with us, to some degree.

Travel companies are increasingly experimenting with 360-degree tours and VR while some are already utilising artificial intelligence – Facebook booking bots – to interact with customers.

The report said social media will also play an integral part of the entire travel journey, from the ‘consideration phase’ to returning home.

“Through social media, the generations of today feel much deeper connections with the wider world,” said Alex Platts, commercial director of Brand Expedia Northern Europe.

“Regardless of age, they have a strong desire to enrich their lives through travel and a genuine need of sharing every experience online in new ways.”

Budget airline easyJet is already using AI to manage its flight schedule – and has big plans for the technology.

Content shared upon social media is expected to evolve from the standard photo into rich-media experiences, while VR and 360-degree film technology will begin to reach critical mass once brands invest in those technologies.

For example, Tourism Australia recently partnered with Expedia to launch a brand campaign using 360-degree video entitled ‘How Far’.

The booking process is predicted to be completely transformed through immersive virtual and augmented reality – allow travellers to have a deeper understanding of what a destination feels like before making a booking.

Rachael Power, of Virtual Reality News, said: “Virtual reality has the potential to radically change travel.

“People can ‘try before they buy’ by visiting locations in VR, from the UAE to the Irish Wild Atlantic Way.

“It also shakes things up for those who are immobile or on smaller budgets: the view from Machu Picchu is now simply the cost of a Google Cardboard headset away.”

The days of visiting a high street travel agent to book your annual two weeks in the sun is becoming a distant memory – and On The Beach has taken advantage of the shift.

Self-driving transportation and smartphone-based airport and hotel check-in technologies are already being tested.

The report believes that the future could bring holographic concierge features, digitised butlers and ‘smart mirrors’ designed to provide bespoke services.

We reported recently how Hotel Bonanza is an online travel agent with a difference and seeks to give a fairer deal to property owners.