ITB 2018 Special Reporting
Virtual reality excites travel industry, though technology still lags behind.
Wednesday, 15th March 2017
Source : Austin Davis - Exclusive & Live from ITB 2017

Buzz around virtual reality as a travel and tourist platform continues to mount, but while experts have compared virtual reality (VR) hype to that prior to the launch of the internet in the mid-1990's, logistical issues continue to prevent the tech from taking off.

"Right now, we're not using user-generated, virtual reality content. The technology's just not there. But the equipment will be much better very soon," said Juan Pablo Lafosse, CEO of Vravel, at Berlin's ITB conference.

According to Lafosse, Vravel is the world's first and only global virtual reality platform for travel and tourism.

Working with tour operators, activity providers and hoteliers, Vravel seeks to bring remote experiences directly to prospective travelers, while also introducing them to new, more accessible locations.

The technology could also be useful to organizations looking to bolster travel knowledge among staff.

"We think that VR will not only help travelers plan trips, but will also help companies train their staff," said Lafosse.

Vravel also integrates social media and web channels into one platform for direct sharing of user-generated, virtual reality content.

"Partners can upload up to two minutes of video focused on prospective user experiences. We want them to pay close attention to the script in order to inspire users," said Lafosse.

But in order for the innovative marketing strategy to reach the masses, the proper technology has to be developed.

While Lafosse and Vravel have VR teams filming locations worldwide for use in travel campaigns, their dream of a multifunctional platform featuring user-generated content is still far off.

Lafosse estimates that only 10 percent of people actually use VR gear to view content. Meanwhile, filming VR with a mobile device doesn't produce the high-quality video needed to draw in tourists.

Still, Lafosse remains hopeful for the prospect.

"We assume that by next year we'll have enough user-generated content to take off," he said.

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