How mobile devices in the travel industry can improve customer service with augmented reality

By Jonathan Crowl

Mobile devices in the travel industry along with other items travelers use


While augmented reality (AR) technology has struggled to break into the mainstream — with a few notable exceptions, such as the overnight success of Pokémon Go — this immersive platform is poised for a big breakout in the coming years. Statista reports that the augmented and virtual reality global market is set to make an enormous leap from 17.8 million consumers in 2018 to 143.3 million by 2020.

With that market growth, it’s expected that mobile devices in the travel industry will evolve into relied-upon tools for delivering augmented reality experiences to tourists, helping enhance destination travel while enticing travelers to take the plunge on a dream vacation they’ve been planning for years. Here are a few ways AR will soon be improving customer service across the travel industry.

Interactive hotels increase engagement

With competition increasing from Airbnb and other vacation rentals, hotels have been focused on winning over customers by creating immersive, exciting experiences. In that way, augmented reality could be a revolutionary technology.

Developers have already identified multiple use cases for AR in hotels. Individual rooms can be outfitted with virtual markers that pull up information about housekeeping, room service and other hotel amenities. Lobbies can overlay maps and directions to navigate the hotel and find luggage checks, pools and other attractions.

Hotels can also use AR as a supplement to concierge services, such as providing virtual directions for taking public transportation across the city or finding interesting attractions nearby. Because hotels offer a physical space that travelers spend so much time in, each property represents a gold mine of AR markers that can increase engagement and customer satisfaction.

Enhance destinations with mobile devices in the travel industry

Most travelers know what it’s like to look at a historic building and not entirely know what they’re looking at or why it’s important. AR can revolutionize this experience by overlaying markers onto sites of interest. As Travel Weekly points out, AR apps already exist that offer pop-up overlays to highlight important features of historical markers and to provide greater context that makes the visit more enjoyable for travelers.

In a similar way, augmented reality can display ratings of local restaurants as travelers scan a busy street looking for a place to eat. This can ultimately represent a valued marketing opportunity for AR platforms and local businesses: Tourist attractions, tour groups, restaurants and other attractions could eventually pay for prime promotion within these AR experiences.

Interactive tours entice travelers

Going on tours of historic destinations can become more informative and fun through the use of augmented reality. Not only can AR provide informative overlays, but tours can increase engagement from tourists by implementing some gamification of the tour experience, according to Metaverse. Completing tasks such as climbing to the top of a historic tower can unlock vouchers within the AR experience, such as a discount at the nearby gift shop, or it can be used to promote replica statuettes or other souvenirs travelers may be interested in.

As consumers warm to augmented reality and discover how this technology enhances their experience, other competing brands will feel pressure to adopt this technology or risk falling behind in the race to win over tourists. But as with any new technology, augmented reality and virtual reality must still deliver on those consumer expectations, providing value without disrupting or distracting from their reason for traveling.

For AR adopters, the use of mobile devices in the travel industry creates a new opportunity with unexplored potential — delivering personalized, immersive experiences that make destination tourism more engaging than ever before.