Utilizing technology has been one of the proven effective ways to elevate many industries, including the tourism industry. In fact, as technology is fairly easy to access and offers flexibility other things can't, its adoption is on a high demand in the industry.
Augmented reality (AR) experiences turned out to be one of the technology alternatives incorporated into the tourism industry. The use of AR can add up the value of traveling, providing a fresh method for people to explore new places.
Just a heads-up, if you're a routine traveler, you might have made use of these examples we're about to unveil, without even realizing that they're actually AR. 😉
So, how can AR be implemented in the tourism industry, both in the present and the future?
1. Navigate tourists through smartphones
Ever got lost while travelling in another country? We surely know how you feel, and it's not something to be proud of. However, AR experiences can help to navigate you safely without having to ask for directions to the locals.
The most basic example would be Google Maps. Your go-to-navigation app turns out to incorporate AR in so many ways, especially on its Live View feature. By activating the feature, you can scan around the roads with your phone camera, and let the app directs you to places with virtual arrows and pointers.
But another problem might occur when you're not speaking any of the local languages in the country. Although you can use body languages (to be fair, it's a universal language whenever you travel!), sometimes you might end up in frustration just to fail explaining or understanding something from the locals.
Again, another cutting-edge translating app released by Google is there to help you. Google Translate, a worldwide popular translating app, makes use of AR to help you translate image texts. It's a travel hack for everyone which will be extremely helpful to overcome a language barrier in any countries.
All you need to do is to open the app, and tap on the Camera button. You can point out your camera towards any texts around you, and the app will translate them instantly, words by words.
2. Serve as a free, personal tour guide
Feel a little tight on your budget, but in the need to explore interesting places? No worries, nowadays you can have your own personal tour guide, powered with AR experiences.
From the comfort of your smartphone, AR allows you to identify objects or buildings nearby, and adds insightful description about the local places interest.
City Tour app, for example, uses object recognition to display information on your screen regarding places of interest, museums, galleries, and other tourist attractions.
Another app called Florence Travel Guide Offline in App Store is also another successful example. It offers you a personal tour guide when you travel in Florence, a city in Italy. You just need to download it, and you can be your own guide whenever you're in the city.
3. Leave more remarkable hotel experiences
Spending your nights at great hotels will let you have a nice sleep, and it's even better when you can enjoy none-like-other experiences at the same time.
Apparently, some hotels are using the element of interactivity to attract guests, as well as to leave remarkable experiences. What do they use? Believe it or not, it's the AR gamification!
Best Western Plus Kelowna Hotel and Suits was one of the pioneers in this field. In 2016, they partnered up with QuestUpon, a technology company to build an app called BC Wildlife Adventure.
Supported with AR experiences, the app enables you to explore interactive quests of scavengers and treasure hunts. It overlays virtual objects of nature and wildlife in British Columbia and Kelowna into the surroundings of the hotel, allowing the guests to engage with them.
However, that's actually not the first AR adoption initiated by Best Western. Previously, in 2013, they also incorporated the technology to bring Zapped's lead actress, Zendaya, came alive in their North America branches.
4. Educate people about the past historical value
When it comes to travelling, historical sites are also one of the most popular tourist attractions – be it for domestic or international tourists.
However, it's also disappointing as some important landmarks across the world were not on their origin state, or worse, destroyed completely. What could have been a great treasure of knowledge and attractive sight-seeing, is now left unknown.
Learning from that fact, South Korea tried to relive the Donuimun Gate, one of the Four Great Gates in the City Wall of Seoul. Although the government had already discussed the possibility of rebuilding the gate, they couldn't complete it, considering the cost and the traffic.
That's why, instead of a real rebuilding, they tried to rebuild it virtually using the AR experiences. Visitors can simply download Cheil Worldwide's mobile app, and they can view the cultural site in different lights based on different times. It's a smart tourism, giving an opportunity for tourists to explore a long-forgotten history with technology.
5. Enjoy fun museum experiences
When you travel in a foreign country, are you the type of person who enjoys museum trips? If so, we're bringing you an interesting fact: AR experiences can double, triple, or whatever you'd like it, the fun!
The National Museum of Singapore took the chance to enhance their Story of the Forest exhibition with AR experiences. Inspired by the Southeast Asia's ecology, people can scan along the digital mural using their smartphones and catch the animals to be collected.
Looking at a different perspective, you can say that it benefits all kinds of age ranges. Be it children, youngsters, or adults, they can enjoy exploring and learning at the same time!
6. Create interactive advertising
No matter how fascinating your tourist attractions offer, it will still be unknown if you don't promote them. That's how important marketing is – it plays a huge portion for your incoming visitors.
In 2012, Kuoni Travel became one of the first UK tour & travel companies to make use of AR experiences. Partnered up with Aurasma, the tourism company boosted up their campaigns in all national press and magazines with interactivity, forming a two-way communication.
Marella Cruises, which went under the name Thomson Cruises before, also advertised their cruises using an AR-powered brochure. Again, it's Aurasma that made the dream advertising possible.
By downloading the free Aurasma app on their smartphones, people can scan selected images on the brochure and the ships will appear above it, cruising through the "ocean".
So, that's how augmented reality can be implemented for the tourism industry. If you are keen to utilize augmented reality for your tourism business, or any other business purposes, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd be glad to help! 😉
In Assemblr, we believe that all people – including you – can create and present your own AR experiences. With an easy-to-use application, Assemblr empowers people to implement AR in any occasion. Interested to unveil more possibilities of AR? Download Assemblr now, available in App Store and Play Store!