Airbnb shares its vision to incorporate mixed reality experiences in travel. In a recent blog post, the company discusses how the emerging technologies could revolutionize the travel industry.
The idea is that “Technology allows us to increase real-world connections and create more authentic, immersive travel experiences”. This could be realized in two ways. First, by using 360 photos and 3D scans to display the lodgings and the city in VR before travel. Second, by using augmented reality during travel to overcome the barrier of new language and culture. “Looking far into the future, virtual reality could allow guests to share more than a spreadsheet or email chain when planning travel together. Instead, they could share a virtual world together, perusing and touring destinations and home options while interacting in a more natural manner.”
The blog argues that the technology that some say will isolate the individual could actually be used to have the opposite effect and make the world more connected. And that is what the company is going for. “The strength of virtual reality is to create fictional, inspirational, shared spaces —allowing us to connect more deeply in situations where we’re already remote or separated. Augmented reality relieves stress and overhead in real-life situations, allowing us to more boldly explore new situations and experiences. “
The current agenda for the company is experimenting and prototyping to create more immersive experiences for the traveller and therefore improve the Airbnb experience.
Travel could be a very daunting experience to some and has been so historically. However, technology has narrowed that bridge over time and is enjoyed by an increasing number of people every year. “Today, when travelling, people can live like locals in a downtown apartment in the arts district, eat at local cafes and take classes from home-grown artists—today’s travel is experiential travel.”
AR and VR are all the hype now, with the recent releases like the apple ARKit that make development easier. It is the right time for companies like Airbnb to bank on this tech, though it remains to be seen when it will become available to the general user. The company announced last August that it would be putting together a new team called Samara dedicated to experimentation and prototyping.