Destination British Columbia was one of the first travel destinations to give VR a try. The Canadian-based destination marketers created a VR experience of what it’d be like to traverse British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. The results, according to Maya Lange, Destination BC’s vice president of global marketing, was a 5 percent increase in visitors.
Internal research at YouVisit has shown that 13 percent of people who experience a vacation in VR go on to either book a trip or get in contact with lodging or transportation companies.
Back in May 2015, Amnesty International UK unleashed what might have been the first VR fundraiser in the world, and saw a 16 percent increase in people signing up for direct debit donations toward Amnesty’s human rights works. The campaign was designed to transport people from the streets of Britain to war-torn Aleppo in Syria.
The two devices that will dominate VR headsets sales in 2016 will be Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR. According to a forecast by IHS, both VR headsets will make up 30 percent of the market.
About one-third of tech-oriented people surveyed at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January identified education as the area most likely to benefit from VR. Ways they thought the education sector would be affected? Virtual classrooms and augmented reality/VR-enabled textbooks.
Last year, YouVisit used Google Consumer Surveys to gauge adult interest in VR. We found that 41 percent of adults are interested in giving VR a try. This number is now likely higher, considering the increase in VR activation by major brands.
Marriott is running one of the most buzzworthy VR marketing campaigns. One part of that campaign is “VRoom Service,” in which guests at specific locations can request a VR headset to their room. Along with this campaign, the company created “VR Postcards,” short travel stories to places like the Andes Mountains in Chile or an ice cream shop in Rwanda. Fifty-one percent of people who viewed the experience said they wished they were at more Marriotts.
Media relations company Walker Sands’ most recent Reinventing Retail report surveyed more than 1,400 U.S. consumers to get their perspective of how they shop. A specific section of last year’s report touched on VR. Sixty-sixty percent of consumers said they were interested in virtual shopping.
We already know that Generation Z loves tech. Seventy-three percent of U.S. internet users in this age group said they were interested in VR, according to a study from Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research
About 75 percent of the Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands have created some form of VR or augmented reality experience for customers or employees, or are themselves developing these technologies. Given that this study was conducted in October 2015, the number is likely higher.
Last year, Greenlight VR conducted a national study, and found that 80 percent of consumers were familiar with VR.
80 Percent – Redux
Back to the YouVisit-Greenlight VR study: We found that nearly 80 percent of people who viewed a travel-based VR experience felt “transported to another world.”
The Touchstone Research study also found that 81 percent of consumers who try VR claim they would tell their friends about the experience.
Last summer, travel giant Thomas Cook placed Gear VR headsets in 10 of its store locations in the U.K., Germany, and Belgium. After strapping in, viewers were able to experience walking through curtains of a Santorini hotel balcony and a helicopter ride over Manhattan’s skyline. The company reported that the VR-promoted New York excursion revenue increase by 190 percent.
Sales of virtual reality headsets are expected to explode in 2016. How much? Sales are projected to increase by 500 percent over 2015 and reach 102 million units sold, according to Consumer Technology Association research.