The Importance of Augmented Reality (AR) in the Tourism Industry

Updated: 3 October 2023

Augmented Reality

3 October 2023

The Importance of Augmented Reality (AR) in the Tourism Industry

Travelling to new places whether they are a few hours away by road, or involve a long-haul flight, can be exciting. Picking the right location can be a challenge when you are looking at 2D images or words to get a feel for whether a destination meets all of your holiday requirements. 

Augmented reality in tourism has taken searching for the perfect holiday to a new level. It has opened up a new dimension of possibilities from letting you experience a hotel room without setting foot in it, to virtual tours of a location. Read on to find out how augmented reality can enhance a tourist’s travel experience.

Augmented Reality Overview

In a nutshell, augmented reality is an interactive version of the real world that is enhanced by digital sensory elements such as sounds or visuals. Digital content is overlaid onto objects and can be used, for example, for enhanced training or retail experiences.

How is Augmented Reality (AR) Revolutionising the Tourism Industry?

People who want to book a holiday or mini break are more likely to do a lot of research before they buy than they do for a lot of other types of purchases. Visitors are likely to have many questions about things like accommodation, local facilities, and transport links to help them decide if a location fits their needs, and also once they arrive to make the most of their stay.

Augmented reality in the tourism industry not only helps holidaymakers decide which location to book, but it can also help them once they’re there, providing key information that enhances their experience. If you’re looking for a destination that provides you with guaranteed sunshine, relying on website information may not give them up-to-date information. Being in a new place where you only speak the basics of the language can restrict a tourist’s ability to find the best places to visit or the history of a local landmark. 

For both of these scenarios, an AR-enabled app on your smartphone can provide you with quick and accurate information about a range of things from the weather forecast to restaurant menus and Wi-Fi hotspots in a more fun and interactive way. They eliminate language differences and can make trips to museums and monuments fun and interactive by bringing them to life.

Further Reading: 5 Ways Augmented Reality Can Revolutionise Your Business

Examples of Augmented Reality in the Tourism Industry

Most people visit new destinations for their holiday so that they can learn about the culture, famous landmarks, and history of the location. One of the key benefits of augmented reality in tourism is that it can provide visitors with up-to-date information about a location, quickly and in their language.

Interactive Hotel Experience

The Hub Hotel from Premier Inn is one of the leaders in the use of AR in tourism to provide their customers with a more immersive and exciting way of finding information that will enhance their stay. Rather than having a plain wall map of the local area, they’ve created ones that are AR-compatible and provide guests with information about local places of interest or places to eat. Guests simply need to view the map through their smartphone or tablet and be given this additional information that is superimposed onto the image of the map.

Augmented (AR) Tourist Destinations

Augmented reality in tourism helps visitors plan their visits before they arrive and enhance their stay once they’re there. If you want to explore the Palace of Versailles to see whether it’s a location worth visiting, Google’s Arts and Culture app lets you explore from the comfort of your own home. Apps like this make world-famous landmarks and attractions accessible to everyone. 

Tour companies, museums, and galleries are developing apps that provide visitors with architectural details, historical information, and other interesting facts that create a more immersive and enriching sightseeing experience.

Augmented Reality Gamification

Gamification adds elements of game playing, such as point scoring, to another activity that encourages engagement with a product or service. This can be a powerful marketing tool that adds an element of fun and competitiveness that encourages tourists to engage with their surroundings. Gamification apps allow visitors to solve puzzles or complete challenges that unlock rewards for them like discounts at a local restaurant and encourage them to share their experiences on social media, encouraging others to visit as well.

Immersive Navigation and Guided Tours

Augmented reality in travel and tourism can revolutionise the way we learn about and visit world-famous landmarks, museums, and galleries. AR allows people to have a guided tour of a museum before they visit, helping them to decide if it’s a location they want to see, or bringing to life a venue that isn’t accessible to some in real life. 

If you’re visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris and are surrounded by people holding their smartphones toward the landmark, don’t think that they’re all taking photos as a reminder of their visit. Some will be, but you’ll probably find that many will be using an app that provides them with information about the history of the Tower. By pointing their phone at the landmark, information about it is overlaid onto their screen, on top of the real-life image.

Beacon Technology and Push Notifications in Hotels

AR can eliminate the need for guests to wait in a queue to check-in. Beacon technology enables guests to receive a “check-in” push notification as they walk into a hotel lobby. They simply check it and then confirm their reservation with a swipe of their finger and receive a virtual key for their room enabling them to unlock the door with their phone. 

How is the metaverse changing the travel and tourism industry?

Augmented reality in tourism is changing the relationship between tourist businesses and their customers. Metaverse technology can bridge physical distances, allowing people to experience a museum or landmark they may not otherwise be able to see, or persuade them to book to see it in person after a virtual visit exceeded their expectations. It allows businesses to inspire customers by giving them details and information about their venue that makes them want to visit in real life. 

Augmented Reality Solutions for the Tourism Industry

From virtual tours, push notification check-ins, and unlocking their room with their phone to real-time weather reports and venue information overlaid onto images, augmented reality is revolutionising the tourist industry. It enables an enhanced user experience for people researching where to go, and those wanting more information once they’ve arrived at the holiday destination. 

Get in touch with our team to find out how our augmented reality services can help you create an enhanced experience for your customers.


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