Virtual reality travel marketing is a hot topic for sales and marketing professionals throughout the travel industry. One challenge for those who seek to employ this emerging medium for business objectives is there are few thought-leaders in the industry who understand the current state of the technology, market landscape, and, at the same time, how virtual reality can specifically apply to travel marketers.  This is why Greenlight Insights, the leading provider of market intelligence about virtual reality technology and applications, convened a webinar on June 6th titled “VR Wanderlust: Why Virtual Reality is the New Tool for Travel Marketers“ with invited guests from Tours.com and Exit Reality.

The panel discussed how VR is currently being used to create innovative brand experiences that drive tangible business outcomes for destination marketers, tour operators, hotels, and others in the travel industry.  The panel sought to deconstruct the business case for travel marketers using virtual reality and other immersive technologies.

Greenlight Insights Industry Analyst Alexis Macklin, who covers emerging technology trends at the intersection of immersive technologies and the entertainment industry, detailed how companies, such as London's iconic Oxford Street Topshop, are successfully (and unsuccessfully) using VR to promote their destinations, save costs in their marketing budgets, and building incremental revenue opportunities.

The panel also zeroed in on the benefits of VR in generating new sales as the technology equips operators with a virtual fan tour that immerses potential customers in a destination’s experience. “We are starting to see new companies create search-and-booking websites pursue-built for virtual reality travel marketing experiences — so VR may become the new tour operator catalog,” said Maria Polk, CEO of Tours.com.

Exit Reality’s Head of Partnerships, Trace Wax, cautioned that ultimately producing a high-quality virtual reality travel marketing experience is paramount. Describing the investment required for a campaign (estimated at $10,000 to $15,000 per minute of finished experience), Wax emphasized the importance of considering the total costs of any campaign, including the investments in distributing and promoting a new experience.

The webinar, which will soon be available for replay on the Greenlight Insights website, was sponsored by Tours.com.