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Everyday this week Nick Hall, founder and CEO of the Digital Tourism Think Tank, is going to release one emerging digital trend to watch out this year. Today’s trend is about the emergence of Virtual Reality in tourism and it’s opportunity as a marketing trend. Sign-up to get more trends in your inbox.

2016 Biggest Trends to Watch in Tourism

What are the biggest trends to look out for in 2016? This is surely not the first trend prediction you’ve read this year but with my top tips coming in February, it may be the last. Take careful note, I’ve tried here to sidestep the obvious and focus on the five that I believe every DMO should write with a permanent marker on that office whiteboard.

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#1 The Year of Virtual Reality

Starting with probably the most ‘obvious’ but one that I really couldn’t sidestep is virtual reality. To say that 2016 will be the year of VR is nothing short of an understatement and believe me, that’s coming from a VR sceptic.

Until this year, most of us associated VR as some sort of geeky-tech-hobbiest past-time and certainly not something for the mainstream. Here are the #DTTT, we share offices with France’s leading online gaming company which probably doesn’t help challenge this notion 😉.

Getting past the awkwardness of giant overpriced headsets like Oculus Rift and getting hands-on with more mass-market commercially oriented alternatives like Google’s cardboard is the first step to realising the huge potential of this technology. The rest is down to brands to tap into the opportunity of creating powerful immersive experiences and getting them in front of consumers.

One of the big offshoots of virtual reality has been the emergence of 360° video and already on the tail end of 2015 we saw some big travel brands launching some pretty amazing content. A true trend setter in this space has been Visit Dubai with the launch of Dubai 360, which even supercharges this already exciting development by virtualising pretty much everything, handing controls to the user. More recently we’ve seen the likes of Emirates, Australia Tourism and many more entering this space.

Here is one of our favourite 360 videos from Tourism Australia. Watch more here.

What’s really exciting here is that this is trend is truly here to stay and it’s going to explode this year. For mass reach and engagement, just head over to YouTube (sorry, it’s a Chrome-only feature for now!) and experience 360° video for yourself. For more targeted but truly multi-sensorial immersive engagement, create a rich 4D experience, order a batch of branded cardboard units and be smart about distribution, teaming up with FMCG and Luxury brands to get them in the hands of the right consumers.

Take a first look at VR and 360° video with the Google workshop at #DTCC2016.

Are you considering VR within your marketing strategy this year? What are your thoughts about it?
Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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