Travel specialist Skyscanner has predicted that virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift will soon be used to offer virtual ‘try-before-you-buy’ holidays.
With the Oculus VR developed Rift headset currently causing waves on the gaming scene ahead of a public release later this year, Skyscanner has drawn attention to alternative uses for the virtual reality gadget, with travel tipped as one such growth area.
The prediction, which forms part of the company’s Future of Travel 2024 report – produced in collaboration with The Future Laboratory and 56 futurologists and trend experts – suggests VR headsets will let travellers sample their holidays before even leaving the country.
“Rather than replacing holidays, Skyscanner forecasts that virtual reality will offer holidaymakers the opportunity to ‘try-before-they-buy’ by test-driving trips such as a dive on the Great Barrier Reef through technologies such as Oculus Rift,” the Future of Travel report stated.
Technology Futurist Daniel Burrus added: “Virtual reality won’t replace real travel, as is often portrayed in sci-fi movies. It will become a new form of show rooming, an incredible 3D taste of a destination that will make travellers long to experience the real thing.”
It is predicted that virtual reality will let travellers explore digitally rendered hotels before booking their stay or get previews of local landmarks before deciding on a holiday location.
While Oculus Rift is currently leading the way on the VR headset front, Skyscanner has predicted the device could pave the way for more specialised offerings.
“The new Oculus Rift VR headset from US start-up Oculus VR is the predecessor of the virtual reality devices that our traveller will deploy in his home as he samples a range of holiday scenarios in 3D,” the report states.
Although offering engaging, visual stimulation, VR holiday previews are just part of the story. According to the Skyscanner report, VR headsets will be used alongside haptic feedback panels to offer truly immersive experiences.
“Haptic technology, which takes advantage of a user’s touch to provide tactile feedback, will enable consumers to actually feel what they could experience during their holiday, such as the texture of the bed at a hotel or the plushness of an airplane seat.”
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