- Emirates, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, introduced 3D cabin models on emirates.com to help travelers experience a virtual reality (VR) tour of its aircraft. The models display an immersive 360-degree view of the interior of its Airbus A380, letting customers navigate through the economy, business and first-class cabins, according to a company press release.
- The experience lets customers look at the view from each section on the plane, and then immediately book a seat without ever leaving the website. The 360-degree view is accessible through the mobile web, without an app download or need to click on a special ad. Customers who visit emirates.com on a mobile device or the Emirates app for iOS and Android can also get a view of seats before checking in online.
- The 3D seat models were created in partnership with Renacen, a Spanish user experience (UX) technology and consulting firm. The immersive experience soon will be expanded to show renderings of Emirates' entire fleet of aircraft, including all configurations of the A380 and Boeing 777.
The experience of flying on a jetliner can be difficult to convey to customers through TV, print or internet banner ads. That's why VR technology is powerful in giving travelers a chance to better inspect the interior of an airplane before they decide to book a flight. This way, airlines can manage the expectations of travelers before they get on a plane, boosting the likelihood that they will be more satisfied with their seat choice and amenities. Emirates' 360-degree views give users more control of what they can look at through a smartphone without having to download anything or own a clunky headset.
Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific last year ran a similar campaign with 360-degree mobile video ads to let people see immersive views of the airline's lounge and first-class cabins. That campaign helped to boost perceptions of the airline, according to results from the effort. The airline saw gains in several key audience metrics, including unaided awareness (+27%), favorability (+25%) and preference for the airline (+12%). These results demonstrate the power immersive tech can have on customers' purchase intent and brand perception.
Airlines aren't the only companies in the travel industry that are using VR technology to connect with potential customers. Online travel agency Kayak last month released Kayak VR, an app for Google's Daydream device to let travelers virtually "visit" a location before booking. The app is available on Google Play and started with two cities: Venice, Italy, and Kathmandu, Nepal.