VR is one of the developing technologies that is able to change habits of people. It can be used in tourism organizations for management and marketing purposes, entertainment, accessibility, education or heritage preservation. Furthermore, VR as a marketing tool is very powerful for promoting destinations. There have been studies that confirm VR’s positive influence on the decision-making process as well as on the information-search process.
Over the last months our VR research group conducted an experiment, where a 360º degree clip and conventional promotional material were compared. Dubrovnik’s 360º promotional video was selected and brought into comparison with the tourism brochure of the Croatian city. The traditional promotional material was designed by our VR research team and contained the same information as the 360º video. It was confirmed that VR is highly beneficial for destination’s marketing. Hypotheses were confirmed and already existing scientific findings strengthened.
VR plays an important role in the decision-making process. That means that before purchasing a product the viewer is using VR to evaluate a certain destination. Therefore, the desire of going to the viewed place is higher after watching a 360º video. This is due to the simple fact that VR allows the viewer to have more realistic expectations of the destination. In addition, viewers can explore and experience the atmosphere, weather, destination’s facilities and much more. The potential tourists are able to get a clearer and more real perception of the place.
As VR influences the decision of going to a certain place or not, it similarly influences the information-search process. Through VR the viewer learns about the destination in a more interactive and faster way. Furthermore, VR is able to stimulate senses such as vision and hearing. Some studies confirm that when more senses are involved in the promotional material, the chances are higher of acquiring new customers. Due to this fact, the information provided with VR is more reliable through viewer’s perspective. Additionally, VR reduces elements of uncertainty by supplying the viewer with rich and more “tangible” information.
This was a short summary about our findings. Soon, the whole project will be uploaded in our new section research.