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How virtual reality could change the way we book travel

/ 04:06 PM April 11, 2017
VR

Online travel site Expedia is toying with VR. Image: Michal Krakowiak/Istock.com via AFP Relaxnews

Virtual reality technology could become a popular travel tool during the booking process, allowing consumers to explore their hotel room, cruise cabin or destination before they plonk down their hard-earned money.

As VR headsets become more affordable and increasingly popular within common households, online travel booking site Expedia has been exploring how to tap into the emerging technology in the travel world. At its Singapore office, Expedia showed Mashable a demo of the kinds of products they’re working on at their new innovation lab facility.

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Travelers shopping for a hotel room or cruise, for instance, could don their headsets and get a virtual tour of rooms and cabins, sliding open doors and stepping out onto the balcony.

It’s not the first time Expedia has toyed with the potential of VR. In a charitable collaboration with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital last year, Expedia brought the world to sick, bedridden children with 360-degree cameras, interactive live-streaming technology and room projections. Kids momentarily forgot about their illness as they were whisked to Patagonia, the jungle, the depths of the ocean, and embarked on fossil hunts with archeologists in the desert.

The company is also looking at how Amazon’s Echo voice-controlled speaker devices could help the travel process. Last year, Expedia partnered with Amazon to launch a new feature that allows consumers to interact with their Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo and Echo Dot devices, and receive real-time updates on their travel itineraries, including hotel bookings, flight status, loyalty points balance and rental car reservations.

Likewise, the company also launched an Expedia bot last year, allowing travelers to book a hotel room directly on Facebook or Messenger. JB

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TOPICS: Travel, virtual reality, VR
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