The travel and tourism industry has done fairly well with simulations – virtual reality, putting on expensive headsets, and whatnot. If you think this way, you are partially correct. It is one of the industries that has witnessed massive growth. Augmented Reality in tourism is one of those developments that has benefited tourism the most, growing from $15.52 billion worth of industry in 2023 to a projected $21.44 billion in 2024. It represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.1% between 2023-2024. It is not just growing in size, but it is also elevating how we travel to a certain extent in multiple ways.
Augmented Reality in Tourism – Top Use Cases
Today Augmented Reality is finding application in various ways, transforming how travelers experience destinations virtually. Here are the two main ways folks use AR to elevate people’s experience in traveling.
AR City Tour
Who doesn’t want to spend their days traveling to new cities and enjoying the varying cultures that sprout from there? Watching the Eiffel Tower in the morning and the Taj Mahal in the evening, doesn’t that sound like a dream for any traveler? With AR and its hyper-realistic augmentation, we are finally close to a world where it’s possible.
Many brands have already started to offer tours to particularly famous regions and cities. In the upcoming years, it will be perfected to a point where people can enjoy the ambiance of their dream city without worrying about travel expenses or work leave.
AR Museum Tour
Traditional museums are transforming. At least, many of them are on it -adding elements to the setup that excite modern-day travelers. Recently, many museums have started to provide AR tours, and visitors are embracing it. Imagine watching an ancient ship through 3D models or adorning armor worn by kings with AR museums. It is not just interesting but super cool now.
How is AR enhancing the tourism experience?
The most compelling ways AR is enhancing tourism are:
1. You can navigate unfamiliar places in AR for better awareness.
AR travel apps allow users to explore and preview unfamiliar destinations before visiting with the help of Interactive 3D maps that provide spatial awareness and logistics recreation, enabling its users to simulate walking through and practice navigating a new place, reducing uncertainties and giving them more confidence. It also lets visitors know what to expect and plan accordingly to avoid issues, navigate efficiently, and make the most of new destinations.
2. AR travel guides allow you to explore destinations from home.
It provides 3D renderings and interactive visuals of tourist destinations, allowing people to virtually explore them before visiting. You can know the ins and outs of the place you will visit beforehand and make decisions based on that.
3. AR tourism amplifies your recreation and entertainment needs.
AR technology allows immersive virtual tourism experiences, reducing costs and environmental impact. There are also Collaborative travel plans and gamified tours that add entertainment and make it more accessible and engaging.
How is the hospitality industry using AR?
Hospitality relies heavily on tourism, and it is also using AR for its growth. Here are the many ways they are using it:
1. Virtual room previews
Hotels use AR to let guests view and customize rooms before booking. It provides immersive experiences previewing accomodation and helps them explore the various options available during the visit. It also reduces the rate of cancellation for the hotels, thus reducing the losses.
2. Interactive guides
AR-based interactive guides give tourists self-guided tours of insights that feel surreal. For first-time visitors, it is a great utility when they can view and have a closer look at the intricacies of what they will likely get on their physical visit. It is a preview of the destination, its attraction attributes, and all other related information in an interactive and immersive manner, improving the overall experience.
3. Menu previews
Restaurants use AR so visitors can closely view food and beverage options digitally before ordering in their own space. Customers can see the ingredients and the finished dishes and interact with them uniquely.
4. Promotions and packages
Packaging is a great way to integrate AR and woo potential customers. Also, magazines, promotional collaterals, and brochures can attract tourists. And the hospitality industry is already pairing it with lucrative discounts to incentivize bookings.
5. Gaming and entertainment
Hotels embed AR games and visuals to make stays more engaging and personalized. These games and entertainment modules are related to local interactions, making it engaging for the visitors while they enjoy unparalleled experiences on their travels.
6. Operational efficiency
AR headsets assist staff with tasks like room servicing, maintenance checks, and locating items faster. Instead of visiting each room to perform the tasks, AR-based models can help them choose the rooms and places that need the most attention, increasing overall efficiency.
How is Augmented Reality in tourism benefiting the industry?
With AR in their various business applications, tourism elevates the tourists’ experience. The industry is going through a qualitative change and is abstracting many benefits:
Higher customer satisfaction
Reducing logistical uncertainties and stress for travelers is a big advantage. Previewing destinations and understanding navigation in advance make people feel more satisfied and in control during the real trip. It contributes to greater customer satisfaction.
Greater sales and conversion
AR and tourism apps encourage bookings by giving people an exciting preview of locations. The simulated previews enable customers to experience destinations first-hand from home. It builds confidence in the trip and increases conversion rates for related bookings like hotels, flights, and packages.
AR allows different tourism providers to collaborate and offer enhanced combined experiences. For example, a museum can partner with a local restaurant to provide an immersive exhibit tour and dining package. Alternatively, a hotel can collaborate with transit providers to offer AR previews of the city and how to navigate different sites.
What AR holds for tourism in the future?
Augmented Reality in the travel industry is forecast to grow steeply, reaching $78.14 billion by 2028. It reflects a 38.2% CAGR between 2024-2028. Many new variables will come into play to make this possible, like:
Future Augmented Reality tourism may incorporate more senses beyond just visuals and audio. Tactile elements allow users to feel textures and environments. Smells could be simulated to make the experience more lifelike.
More convenient booking/planning
Augmented Reality apps may integrate firmly with travel booking platforms and providers. Users could book flights, hotels, and attractions directly within the AR experience for more seamless trip planning.
AR holds the potential to make tourism more inclusive for those with disabilities or other limitations. People who cannot easily travel could still experience environments and cultures right from their homes.
Gaming elements will increase engagement in tourism AR. Competitive scavenger hunts and other interactive adventures will be embedded in travel experiences.
Augmented Reality in tourism will enable new ways to travel remotely with friends and family through shared virtual environments. The social connections of real trips can be replicated.
By elevating the experience for travelers and convenience for stakeholders, AR in tourism is a much-welcome change. If you are looking for a game-changing technology or want to level up the experience you provide your customers, consider PlugXR’s intuitive platform. Sign up or book a demo now to know more!