Today I saw a video from TED 2010 of Blaise Aguera y Arcas (an architect at Microsoft Live Labs, the architect of Seadragon and the co-creator of Photosynth) presenting how Bing Maps has begun to integrate augmented reality into the experience. Really very cool stuff. Watch the video (below) and then meet me for the rest of the post.
So it’s cool, but what can we do with this in the travel industry? I see a TON of uses, but let me start with just one.
Think of how this could impact the packaged travel sector. Last week at Travel Technology Europe 2010, Viator’s Patrik Oqvist, Managing Director, Europe spoke about how the travel booking process is actually upside down – the booking process is centered around getting there while people’s desire to travel is based on what they’ll do once they arrived. So if you’re trying to convert lookers to bookers, isn’t the best thing to increase the excitement they have for taking the trip in the first place?
This is where I think augmented reality comes in. Instead of just showing some canned pictures of a venue or activity, let prospective travelers literally see those activities through the eyes of people who have already been there or view live video. It could not only help travelers build excitement during the planning process, but also help them build/select daily itineraries, see what other activities are nearby, etc.
Of course these kinds of uses don’t need to be limited to tour operators or DMO’s but could also be used by hoteliers to promote their property and proximity to other activities and perhaps help put them at the center of the travelers’ plans.
Well that’s my initial reaction. What ideas do you have for integrating augmented reality into your travel marketing plan or travel technology platform?