The travel and tourism industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by greater consumer desire for personalized offers that enhance the traveler experience. The need to provide an experience has grown, with younger cohorts seeking more than just vacations and trends such as transformational travel growing. This has put pressure on tourism businesses and attractions operators, and investing in innovation is an integral part of the response. Technologies such as machine learning and big data analytics have enabled personalization of offers, while virtual and augmented reality have enabled companies to enrich their marketing materials and attract travelers during inspiration phases. and planning. In the past three years alone, more than 15,000 patents have been filed and granted in the travel and tourism industry, according to GlobalData’s Virtual Reality report in Travel: Virtual Touring Interfaces.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses more than 21,000 patents to analyze the intensity of innovation for the travel and tourism industry, there are more than 20 areas of innovation that will shape the future of the industry. .
Virtual tour interfaces is a key area of innovation in virtual reality
Virtual tours allow businesses to go far beyond the traditional means of high-quality static images and video and truly inspire the traveler or potential guest by transporting them to the hotel or venue at the means of a semi-immersive VR tour that allows them to experience it remotely. While it can’t replace the feeling of being physically there, it’s not meant to. It is intended to compel the traveler to then book such a trip. This technology, along with augmented reality, came to the fore during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as travel restrictions limited the ability to travel, but people still wanted to plan their next trip. Virtual tours were the perfect in-between solution.
GlobalData’s analysis also reveals which companies are at the forefront of each area of innovation and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity in different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are more than 10 companies, spanning technology providers, established travel and tourism companies, and promising start-ups engaged in the development and application of virtual tour interfaces.
Key Players in Virtual Tour Interfaces – Disruptive Innovation in Travel & Tourism industry
“Application diversity” measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly divides companies into “niche” or “diversified” innovators.
“Geographical scope” refers to the number of different countries in which each relevant patent is registered and reflects the scope of intended geographical application, ranging from “global” to “local”.
What is immediately noticeable when looking at which companies apply for IP protection in the area of virtual tour interfaces is that players across the travel and tourism spectrum are evident. Attractions operator Universal Studios has filed the most patents since 2015, followed by Airbnb. Major cruise line Royal Caribbean is also in the top ten, as is IT travel specialist Amadeus. Royal Caribbean has filed for protection of innovations related to virtual reality catering, a virtual reality trampoline and an augmented reality tourist guide, showing the wide range of possibilities for virtual tour interfaces. This area has not escaped the attention of global tech giants, with Microsoft and IBM filing 12 and 9 patents respectively since 2015.
To better understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the travel and tourism industry, access GlobalData’s latest topical research report on Virtual Reality (VR) in the Travel and Tourism Industry (2021).
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