AR and VR Business Opportunities in Travel Applications

by Anastasiia Diachenko

Pack your bags because the future of travel is taking a quantum leap into the realms of AR & VR opportunities for travel. In this article, we’ll embark on a journey that explores the incredible business opportunities waiting to be unlocked in the fusion of technology and wanderlust. From immersive destination previews to gamified adventures, the world of AR and VR is redefining how we explore, plan, and experience our dream getaways. So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a visionary tour of the travel industry’s next big frontier!

Table of contents

Virtual Reality in Travel and Tourism: Stats and Trends

The Global AR/VR in the travel and tourism market is set to experience high growth (CAGR) from 2022 to 2027, driven by increased demand for travel services worldwide and augmented investments in AR/VR to enhance the travel experience. In 2020, travel and tourism contributed approximately 4.7 trillion U.S. dollars to global GDP. VR is a powerful marketing tool in travel, increasing awareness and revenue. Augmented reality in travel enhances tourism by providing information and improving visitor experiences. Both are in demand across planning, advertising, education, and more.

AR/VR technology enhances tourism policy and management, offering entertaining and educational experiences, further driving market growth. These technologies can be integrated into current applications for geographical marketing.

AR/VR enables virtual tours of restaurants and stores, smartphone access, coupons, reservations, and language assistance for non-native travelers, encouraging new experiences. Real-time navigation, hotel bookings, virtual visits to establishments, and cultural exploration contribute to industry growth, improving guest satisfaction and hospitality management.

These numbers underline an undeniable fact: the fusion of AR and VR technologies with the travel industry is not just a fleeting trend but rather a paradigm shift, paving the way for a more interactive, informed, and innovative future of travel.

Benefits Travel Businesses Admit After Incorporating AR/VR 

AR and VR opportunities in travel are transforming the industry, offering innovative solutions and immersive experiences that benefit businesses in various ways. Here, we explore the key advantages of incorporating AR and VR into travel operations:

1. Enhanced Customer Engagement:

  • Immersive Previews: AR and VR provide travelers with virtual previews of destinations, accommodations, and activities, increasing their engagement and excitement.
  • Interactive Travel Planning: Interactive AR apps and VR tours empower customers to customize their itineraries, boosting engagement and personalization.
  • Scavenger Hunts and Gamification: Gamification in travel apps often includes scavenger hunts, quizzes, and challenges. Augmented reality in travel can turn cities or natural landscapes into giant game boards. Users can hunt for hidden treasures, complete location-based challenges, or solve puzzles at historical sites. These elements make the travel experience more dynamic and engaging.

2. Improved Marketing and Sales:

  • Visual Storytelling: AR and VR enable captivating visual storytelling, enhancing marketing campaigns and driving sales.
  • Virtual Showrooms: Travel businesses can create virtual showrooms for customers to explore, facilitating bookings and upselling services.

3. Efficient Training and Onboarding:

  • Staff Training: AR and VR are valuable tools for training travel staff, reducing training time, and ensuring better customer service.
  • Employee Onboarding: Streamline onboarding processes for new employees with immersive training modules.

4. Cost Savings:

  • Virtual Prototyping: Save on physical prototypes and mock-ups by using VR for testing and refining new travel experiences.
  • Remote Assistance: Use AR for remote maintenance and troubleshooting, reducing the need for on-site personnel.

5. Enhanced Customer Service:

  • Real-time Assistance: AR can provide real-time translations and navigation assistance, enhancing the customer service experience.
  • Virtual Concierge: Offer virtual concierge services through VR, providing guests with on-demand support and recommendations.

6. Sustainability Initiatives:

  • Reduced Travel: VR can reduce the need for physical travel, contributing to sustainability goals by decreasing carbon emissions.
  • Environmental Education: Use AR to educate travelers about local ecosystems and promote responsible tourism practices.

7. Data Collection and Analysis:

  • Customer Insights: AR and VR interactions generate valuable customer data, allowing businesses to understand preferences and behaviors better.
  • Operational Efficiency: Analyze operational data from AR/VR applications to optimize processes and resource allocation.

8. Competitive Advantage:

  • Innovative Differentiation: Embracing AR and VR sets travel businesses apart from competitors, attracting tech-savvy travelers.
  • Early Adoption Benefits: Early adopters of AR and VR technologies gain an advantage in offering cutting-edge travel experiences.

Incorporating AR/VR into travel operations can revolutionize the industry, providing businesses with new ways to engage customers, improve processes, and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Use Cases of AR/VR in the Travel Industry

These technologies are revolutionizing the travel landscape, introducing immersive experiences that allow explorers to preview, plan, and enrich their journeys. The following are standout use cases, exemplified by top apps in the domain:

Historical Reenactments and Events

The Alternative-spaces team had the privilege of collaborating with the Banská Štiavnica Museum, an official UNESCO World Heritage Site in Slovakia. Our project enabled the museum to offer visitors a fully immersive virtual tour, addressing the challenge of engaging modern audiences in traditional museums.

Our clients aimed to showcase Banská Štiavnica’s rich history uniquely, turning to Alternative-spaces for assistance in realizing their vision of a historical VR tour. Our task was to create an innovative and lifelike virtual tour replicating the museum’s real-life experience.

With the help of the Alternative-spaces team, our clients now have a dependable VR app that allows visitors to explore the history of Banská Štiavnica in an engaging and informative manner. Leveraging VR technology, we crafted historically accurate models and lifelike graphics to immerse users in the authentic atmosphere of the town. The historical VR tour we developed sets the museum visit apart, delivering a distinctive and engaging experience that enhances visitor engagement.

“We have been cooperating with Alternative-spaces for several years. Alternative-spaces has proven their reliability, creativity, professionalism and passion to sort out every task as a highest priority. Delivering excellent performance and quality, alongside great communication made this cooperation very smooth.

This is the reason why we highly recommend Alternative-spaces and will use their services for us and our customers needs certainty again.”

Peter Marek, CEO at V.I.S.I.O.N. s.r.o.

Virtual Destination Tours

In today’s digital age, travel enthusiasts no longer need to pack their bags in order to physically explore the world’s wonders. Thanks to AR and VR technologies, travelers can embark on immersive journeys to far-flung destinations without leaving their homes. This innovative tourism approach is revolutionizing how we experience the world, and it’s all accessible through specialized apps. One notable example is the Ascape VR app. This VR application provides 360-degree video tours of destinations worldwide. From the beaches of the Maldives to the bustling streets of Tokyo, users can preview potential vacation spots or simply embark on a virtual adventure from the comfort of their homes.

Interactive Hotel and Room Previews

Beyond mere photos, some apps now provide AR and VR views of hotel rooms. Here are some examples of these apps:

  • Marriott International’s “VRoom Service” (Marriott VR Postcards): Marriott’s VR app allows guests to experience travel destinations and hotel rooms virtually. While it’s primarily aimed at Marriott properties, it’s a great example of how major hotel chains use VR to showcase their rooms.
  • Oculus Travel: Oculus Travel offers various VR experiences, including hotel room previews. Users can explore hotel rooms and amenities in virtual reality before making a reservation.
  • Expedia VR: Expedia was working on a VR app allowing users to view hotel rooms and destinations in VR. However, the availability and features of this app may have changed since my last update, so I recommend checking the latest information.
  • Trivago VR: Trivago, a well-known hotel search engine, also explored VR technology for hotel room previews. Keep an eye on their app or website for any VR-related features.

Augmented Local Exploration

Augmented Local Exploration with AR/VR apps enhances our discovery and interaction with our immediate surroundings. These apps leverage augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to provide immersive and informative experiences within a local context. Here are some examples of these apps:

  • Google Maps AR: Google Maps offers an AR navigation feature that combines the phone’s camera with GPS data to provide real-time, on-screen directions as you explore your local area. Your smartphone camera overlays directional arrows and street names in the real-world view.
  • Yelp AR: The Yelp app has an AR feature that lets users access restaurant and business reviews, ratings, and information by simply pointing their phone’s camera at storefronts. It enhances the dining and shopping experience by providing contextual information.
  • Airbnb Virtual Tours: Airbnb offers VR-based virtual tours of rental properties. Travelers can use VR headsets to explore potential accommodations as if they were physically present. It allows users to understand the space and surroundings before booking.
  • Wikitude AR Travel Guide: Wikitude offers an AR travel guide app that provides information about nearby points of interest as you point your smartphone at them. It’s like having a digital tour guide in your pocket.

In-Flight Entertainment

In-flight entertainment has undergone a transformative evolution with the integration of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) apps, enhancing passenger travel experience. Airlines and aviation companies are increasingly adopting these immersive technologies to offer passengers various engaging options during their flights. For instance, airlines like Emirates have introduced AR apps that allow passengers to explore the interior of their A380 aircraft before boarding, providing a preview of the luxurious seating and amenities. Furthermore, VR headsets, such as those offered by airlines like British Airways, allow passengers to enjoy virtual cinematic experiences, interactive games, or even explore immersive travel destinations while cruising at 30,000 feet. These AR and VR applications elevate in-flight entertainment and make air travel a more enjoyable and memorable experience.

Augmented Navigation

Augmented Navigation is a cutting-edge technology that harnesses the power of Augmented Reality to provide real-time navigation assistance. By overlaying directional arrows, landmarks, and points of interest onto the real-world environment, Augmented Navigation makes it effortless for travelers to navigate unfamiliar territories. This innovative approach enhances the ease and accuracy of navigation and adds an extra layer of engagement and convenience to the travel experience. Whether exploring a new city, hiking in the wilderness, or simply finding your way through a bustling airport, Augmented Navigation transforms how we move and discover the world.

These applications represent just the tip of the iceberg in the vast sea of opportunities that AR and VR technologies present to the travel industry, signaling an exciting future for globetrotters worldwide.

AR&VR in Travel: Best Practices When Building an App

Incorporating Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies into the travel industry holds immense potential to transform how travelers explore and experience the world. To harness the power of AR and VR effectively, it’s crucial to adhere to best practices that ensure travelers are provided with immersive and unforgettable journeys. Here, we delve into the top best practices:

1. User-Centered Design: 

Place user experience at the forefront of your app development process. Understand your target audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. Create intuitive, user-friendly interfaces that seamlessly transition between real and virtual worlds. Prioritize easy navigation, clear instructions, and interactive features that enhance the overall journey.

2. Personalized Travel Planning:

Tailor the travel experience by leveraging AR and VR for personalized travel planning. Utilize these technologies to analyze individual preferences, creating itineraries and recommendations that align with travelers’ interests. Whether suggesting unique experiences or highlighting hidden gems, personalization adds enchantment to the journey.

3. Realistic and Informative Content: 

To ensure that AR and VR experiences leave a lasting impact, focus on delivering content that balances realism and informativeness. Employ high-quality graphics, 360-degree videos, and informative audio guides to create an immersive and educational environment. Detailed historical and cultural insights add depth to the experience, enhancing travelers’ understanding of the destination.

4. Seamless Integration with Real-World Navigation:

When developing AR navigation applications, prioritize seamlessly integrating directional cues, landmarks, and location-based information into the traveler’s real-world environment. This ensures travelers can navigate unfamiliar territories effortlessly, enhancing the overall travel experience.

5. Mobile Accessibility:

Recognize the importance of mobile accessibility in AR and VR applications. Design user-friendly apps that cater to travelers using smartphones and tablets, as they are the most accessible and commonly used devices. The convenience of having augmented information at travelers’ fingertips enhances their engagement with the technology.

6. Multilingual Support: 

Consider the global audience and provide multilingual support in AR and VR applications. Real-time translation features can enhance communication and understanding for travelers in foreign destinations.

7. Accessibility Features: 

Incorporate accessibility features to cater to travelers with disabilities. Ensure that AR and VR experiences are inclusive and can be enjoyed by all, regardless of physical abilities.

8. Virtual Travel Communities:

Foster virtual travel communities within AR and VR platforms, allowing travelers to share experiences, tips, and recommendations with fellow explorers. Building a sense of community enhances engagement and provides valuable insights.

9. Marketing and Promotion: 

Leverage AR and VR in marketing efforts. Create immersive promotional content that showcases the unique aspects of a destination or travel service, enticing potential travelers.

10. Continuous Innovation: 

Stay up-to-date with advancements in AR and VR technologies and continually innovate your travel experiences. Embrace emerging trends like mixed reality (MR) to offer more compelling and interactive journeys.

By focusing on these top best practices, travel companies can elevate the traveler’s journey, offering memorable adventures and enriching educational experiences. Augmented and virtual realities have the potential to redefine how we explore the world, making each trip a uniquely immersive adventure.

Alternative-spaces is Your Reliable Tech Partner: Our Experience in AR/VR Development

At Alternative-spaces, we understand that incorporating Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies into the travel industry can be a transformative game-changer. With a proven track record of successful implementation across various sectors, including travel and tourism, we are well-equipped to help your travel business harness the immense potential of AR and VR.

Our expertise in AR and VR implementation is designed to help you engage more clients, both new and existing, by offering immersive and memorable experiences. Introducing these cutting-edge technologies into your travel business allows you to create captivating destination previews, interactive travel planning tools, and lifelike virtual tours. This captures travelers’ attention and fosters deep excitement and anticipation, translating into increased client engagement. At Alternative-spaces, our portfolio extends beyond the travel sector, encompassing successful AR and VR implementations in diverse industries. Here are some of the examples from our portfolio:

HoloKit X

One of the standout success stories in Alternative-spaces’s portfolio is the development of a robust Mixed Reality (MR) environment that promises users an extraordinary experience using just headsets and smartphones. This achievement stems from a fascinating case study where Alternative-spaces embarked on a journey to create a groundbreaking solution for its client. Alternative-spaces’s dedicated team faced the challenge head-on. They set out to develop a cutting-edge version of Mixed Reality tailored for Android and iOS devices, and the results have been nothing short of remarkable. This innovative solution lets users witness virtual objects seamlessly integrated into their real-world surroundings.

Using state-of-the-art technology and a commitment to excellence, Alternative-spaces delivered an open-source Mixed Reality solution that has inspired developers and enthralled AR/MR enthusiasts worldwide. Integrating the real and virtual worlds has never been smoother or more accessible.

The result is an experience that transcends the boundaries of the ordinary. Users simply run the mobile app on their smartphones, place them into augmented reality helmets, and enter a captivating Mixed Reality environment through the lenses. The magic unfolds as virtual objects seamlessly blend with the real world, creating a truly immersive experience that was once the stuff of science fiction.

VR app for viewing stereoscope photos

The Alternative-spaces team was tasked with creating an immersive VR solution that resurrects the 19th-century stereoscope images, breathing life into history. This case study showcases our achievement in preserving antique photos’ authentic style and depth effects, making them accessible across various platforms. In a bygone era, people would spend evenings marveling at stereographs or stereoscope images (3D pictures), capturing diverse locations, events, and individuals. Our client stumbled upon a treasure trove of these stereoscope photos in the local library’s archives and envisioned an application to enable people to relive these antique images, leading them to reach out to us.

Our team faced the challenge of translating the experience of viewing stereoscope photos into a captivating VR environment, effectively resurrecting history. Our aim extended beyond creating a mere photo-viewing VR application. We set out to construct a comprehensive VR solution housing hundreds of antique photos, multiple review modes, and educational and entertaining historical references. Moreover, we ensured seamless VR photo viewing across various platforms, guaranteeing optimal performance on chosen VR devices.

The Alternative-spaces team embarked on the development of specialized shaders for VR rendering and devised an optimized pipeline for 3D models to deliver exceptional performance across all devices. We meticulously retouched the images by hand, a painstaking process necessary for preserving the distinctive visual style of the 19th century. This dedication allowed us to resurrect history, immersing users entirely in the ambiance of the 19th century.

AR mobile app to enhance Alternative-spaces promotional materials

This case study showcases our creation of an AR mobile app that unveils captivating details hidden within Alternative-spaces printed booklets, transforming our company’s narrative into an interactive experience. In an era where traditional business presentations and charts have become obsolete, we recognized the need for a fresh approach to promotional materials. While printed booklets offer valuable insights about our company, their potential was unlocked by integrating AR technology.

Our team conceived the idea of an augmented reality app to present Alternative-spaces company’s story in a modern and captivating manner. AR allowed us to redefine our client’s perception of exceptional business presentations. We firmly believe associating a brand with creative and innovative experiences positively enhances brand perception.

Leveraging AR technology, we developed the Alternative-spaces mobile app, allowing users to scan a brochure with their camera to unveil the company’s statistics, project overviews, and a 3D model of our headquarters. Now, clients and curious individuals alike can delve deeper into the world of Alternative-spaces through a unique, engaging, and enriched experience simply by pointing their mobile device at a page – and witnessing it come to life.

Supermarket AR scanner

The supermarket industry has seen a surge in requests for integrating augmented reality technologies. The Alternative-spaces team created an AR scanner for supermarket goods. 

Upon scanning a barcode, the system swiftly identifies the product through its unique code. The application then requests the API, fetching comprehensive details about the product, including its description, ingredients, price comparison, and a visual representation. This presentation offers enhanced convenience, replacing the often minuscule text found in the corners of product packaging with neatly organized and categorized information. 

The product photo is an AR marker, enabling the overlay of additional information tiles. These information panels seamlessly move and rotate with the product, providing users with an immersive and interactive experience.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, integrating AR and VR technologies has ushered in a new era of possibilities for the travel industry, revolutionizing how travelers explore, learn, and engage with destinations. As we’ve seen, these immersive experiences have the power to captivate, inform, and inspire.

At Alternative-spaces, we stand prepared to harness the full potential of AR&VR opportunities for travel. Our expertise and commitment to innovation make us the ideal partner for those seeking to elevate their customer experiences and stay at the forefront of technological advancements. With our assistance, businesses can embark on a transformation journey, embracing the boundless opportunities that AR and VR offer in reshaping the travel experience for the better. Let’s embark on this journey and redefine travel in the digital age.


Q1: What are some practical applications of AR and VR in travel app development? 

A1: AR and VR can enhance travel apps in various ways. They can provide immersive 360-degree tours of destinations, offer interactive navigation and wayfinding, and even simulate historical or cultural experiences, making travel planning and exploration more engaging.

Q2: Can AR and VR be used for language translation and communication during travel? 

A2: Absolutely. AR can translate signs and menus in real-time, while VR can offer immersive language lessons to help travelers overcome language barriers. These technologies facilitate smoother communication and enhance the overall travel experience.

Q3: How do AR and VR add gamification to travel apps? 

A3: AR and VR introduce gamification to travel apps by turning sightseeing into a game with scavenger hunts, quizzes, and challenges. They offer rewards for completing tasks, create virtual tour guides with interactive storytelling, and encourage social interaction by enabling travelers to share their experiences and compete in exploring new places. These gamified elements make travel more dynamic and enjoyable.

Content created by our partner, Onix-systems.


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