As we look back on 2020, it seems that the year was less about taking off on adventures and more about crash landings.
Tourists stayed home. Customers kept apart. Regular travellers had to lay down their passports and let their city-guides go unused, as governments all over the world asked people to stay home to control the virus. And as a result, the impact of COVID-19 on the travel and tourism industry was huge.
When an industry is forced to completely change the way it works overnight, the results (by necessity) are not only game-changing, but something we could all take inspiration from.
The entire travel industry is having to ask itself how it can continue to stay relevant at a time where travel quite often isn’t a viable option. The answer? Virtual tourism.
We’ve collated some of the most innovative examples of online travel experiences which attempt to overcome the restrictions created by the pandemic.
And who knows, the results might just inspire you to consider how you can create your own virtual offering or trigger a new and inventive way of getting your brand out there during these extraordinary times.
When museums were forced to shut their doors to the public, the Louvre Gallery in Paris got creative with its solution. It allowed customers to experience everything on offer, including the world-renowned Mona Lisa, with virtual tours. By making a handful of rooms free to explore alongside several ticketed exhibitions available to view for a fee, the Louvre was able to drive both community interest and profit during challenging times.
Taking escapism to a whole new realm, the experts at NASA invite anybody interested in space to explore what it would look like to set foot on another planet by using top of the range VR alongside real data already available. A great virtual experience and an even better answer when your colleagues ask what you’ve been up to over the weekend.
Get up close and personal with one of the seven wonders of the world like never before, with Google. The tech giant added the first ever underwater images to its Street View function, allowing users to explore the world’s largest reef in a way that, up until now, was only available to experience in real life.
Anybody missing that ‘take off’ feeling doesn’t need to search far to find it. Thanks to Google Arts, you can now marvel at the infamous volcanoes of Hawaii from the skies, with an overhead virtual tour by helicopter. The tours make use of video, audio, 360 panoramic views and more to provide an authentic experience.
This year Robert Colbert invited art enthusiasts to experience his work like never before, by allowing them to take their own interactive virtual tour using robots. Unlike most virtual tours, users can experience the exhibit in real time, controlling their very own remote ‘robot’. The full exhibition is now available online.
6. Cosy up with your favourite animals with the Cloud Zoo
While the gates to zoos and aquariums around the world remain firmly shut, many of them have been making use of live-streaming technology in order to capture the activities of some of nature’s most amazing animals in real time. And now thanks to ‘digital zookeepers’ RJ Andrews and Amber Thomas, it’s all available in one place and ready to be explored.
Now may not be the time to see the Northern Lights from your hotel window, but it could be the time for you to explore the vastness of space without even getting up from the sofa.
And, actually, isn’t that just as remarkable in its own way?
If you’re looking into how you can apply these learnings to your own offerings and drive customers to your product virtually in a new or creative way, talk to one of our advisors today.
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