Insight

Who to Target with Virtual Reality Travel Marketing


As virtual reality continues to pick up steam, more and more travel and destination marketers are utilizing the technology to reach and engage prospective visitors in a unique and memorable way. But, as with any new technology, there are questions about who uses virtual reality and its benefits.

Below, we’ve outlined who is using, and interested in, virtual reality, and several of its benefits.

Demographics

For travel and destination marketers, the question of who uses and who wants to use virtual reality is important. The answer will determine what type of virtual experiences they create and who they target. According to a recent study, virtual reality skews toward a younger demographic; however, this doesn’t mean that Baby Boomers are shunning VR.

In 2015, Greenlight VR partnered with Touchstone Research to evaluate interest in the new technology. They found that 80 percent of the people surveyed were familiar with the technology, which is good news for travel and destination marketers considering a VR campaign.

The survey also laid out who marketers might consider targeting with virtual reality experiences. According to the survey, the people most interested in virtual reality were:

  • Generation Z: Sometimes referred to as “The Founders,” Generation Z is coming of age quickly. Defined as those currently between ages 10 to 18, polls indicate that 79 percent of Generation Z Internet users are interested in VR.
  • Millennials: Not far behind Generation Z are Millennials–73 percent of whom would consider purchasing a VR headset.
  • The study also reported that 64 percent of Baby Boomers have positive feelings associated with virtual reality.

Still, interest in a new technology doesn’t mean it’s useful.

The Benefits of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is an immensely versatile tool. It’s already being used by travel and destination marketers, such as Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Destination British Columbia, in creative ways.

In general, these destinations are using VR to build engagement and drive visits. For example, Destination BC saw a 5 percent increase in its number of visitors and earned 65 million media impressions since it launched its VR experience.

The reason for Destination BC’s success are complex, but VR’s success can be attributed to the technology being:

  • We are all hardwired to remember events that are linked to specific locations. This is a boon for virtual reality, as the tech transports users to locations and events that make them feel as if they are actually there. The end result is that VR creates memorable experiences that will ensure a brand stays top of mind.
  • Impactful: In advertising and marketing, there’s been a shift from showcasing benefits to highlighting emotions. This trend goes well with virtual reality, as the technology can greatly affect users’ emotions. In a recent study, nearly two-thirds of people who viewed travel-based VR experiences said they felt a sense of joy.
  • Creating interesting and unique branded experiences has long been a go-to strategy for businesses that want to increase mindshare. Unfortunately, these experiences can be costly and relatively small–limited to people at conferences, trade shows, and buzz marketing campaigns. Virtual reality empowers brands to create scalable virtual experiences.
  • Novel: In the next five years, virtual reality is expected to turn into a $30 billion industry, according to a Digi-Capital report. But right now, the tech is still relatively new. Early adopters have several opportunities to take advantage of the technology’s status. Because VR is so unexpected, travel and destination marketers can better capture an audience’s attention. Similarly, media publications are detailing new VR experiences in a way they might not be interested in five years from now.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was adapted from “The Travel Marketer’s Guide to Virtual Reality,” an ebook that outlines everything travel and destination marketers need to know about virtual reality and how to utilize the technology in their marketing strategy.

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