Storytelling has existed for centuries. It is an innate desire found deep within the human brain to want to share, learn from and cultivate stories. As humanity has evolved, storytelling has changed from being a mere campfire activity to one that includes lights, cameras, and special effects. Hieroglyphics turned into newspaper print that has now gone digital, and here we are in the Age of Instagram.
After all, isn’t that what we’re trying to do when we upload travel photos to our Insta feed? Well, some of us are trying to send some serious FOMO our friends’ way. But, others are simply just trying to convey a story. With one simple click, edit and upload, we’re able to share our story of a day at The Colosseum or along the Nile River with the entire world. What if we could even further immerse others in that story?
While some argue that dynamic storytelling with the help of augmented reality is the future of journalism, there’s a place for the innovative technology to revolutionize other markets as well. Enter, the travel industry. With the ability to completely change the way we interact with our world, share information, and immerse ourselves into travel adventures, augmented reality is set to change the way people plan and take trips.
The Rise of Augmented Reality in Apps
ASsaugmented reality begins to gain steam in the world of gaming and social media, the CEO of Snapchat claimed that their dancing hot dog was the world’s first augmented reality star, with the filter having been viewed over 1.5 billion times. Gosh, we’re sorry we had to remind you of that horrid time.
Other apps such as Pokémon Go have allowed gamers to combine real-world interaction with that of their virtual reality. Essentially forcing players to head outside to explore the real world in order to catch Pokémon, the game created a craze when it was initially released in 2016. Does AR have the ability to change the way we interact with our environment? Absolutely.
Eric Johnson of Recode spoke about the difference between simply a virtual reality and an augmented one. He stated that it “takes your view of the real world and adds digital information on top of it. This might be as simple as numbers or text notifications, or as complex as a simulated screen…but in general, AR lets you see both synthetic light as well as natural light bouncing off objects in the real world.”
Augmented Reality is Reshaping Travel Storytelling & Planning
News outlets have already begun racing to incorporate this game-changing technology into their storytelling efforts. And, yes, this has raised issues of how journalists, media creators and even travel photographers will have to change the way they create travel stories. But, in the end, at least in terms of storytelling, it can help add detail, perspective and other characteristics that writing presented in print or digitally simply cannot. How does it work?
Usually, readers of a media outlet walk through instructions on how to download an augmented reality application to their smartphone. Then, they have to point the camera at a custom-made logo or photo that activates the video content.
Imagine being able to map an entire trekking route to Machu Picchu before you ever even get to Peru. You would be able to effectively walk the hike well before you arrive, which is cool, obviously. But, you’d be able to immerse yourself in a semi-real world. And, that would better allow you to prepare for the trip and trek. It’s revolutionary stuff.
Augmenting Our Travel Realities
So, what’s so special about augmented reality? Well, to begin with, your phone’s camera isn’t being used to simply record a photo or video, it is allowing you to engage and interact with content in real-time, to see experiences taking place in the world around you. You are now able to interact on a much deeper level with your surroundings.
Storytelling has largely been an entertainment activity for centuries. But, the introduction of augmented reality introduces the issue of how to best present the desired experience. Creators will have to develop new filming techniques, frameworks, and storytelling methods. These techniques will permeate the media and journalism industry.
And, all of that truly has the potential change the way we travel entirely. That is if we harness the technology correctly. Have you ever rented one of those audio walkthroughs at a museum? Then, you’ll understand what it’s like to be guided through a real-time tour of something cultural. There’s a backstory and all.
But, imagine being able to tour the Eiffel Tower and watch, in front of your eyes, how they built the tower step by step. Or, think about just how much more enriching a solo trip to Prague might be if you could turn on your phone and go on a real-time personal walking tour of the city.
Augmented Reality Travel Apps In The Market
Augmented reality in the travel industry is a reality (no pun intended). There are numerous apps that exist on the market today that work to use AR to help travellers immerse themselves deeper into their adventures.
Senditur, for example, was designed specifically for hiking the famous Camino de Santiago in Spain. Simply point your phone’s camera at the landscape before you and pins will pop up showing you which way to head for water, help or other amenities.
AR City is a navigational app that will guide you through the streets of an urban environment. It provides you with a route by foot. But, it does so much more than that. If you’re passing by a restaurant that smells great, you can pull up the location on the AR map. It’ll show you reviews in real-time. The same goes for information about landmarks.
And, while all of this sounds great, it’s still not a fraction of what could be done with augmented reality in the travel industry. It’s the kind of technology that can revolutionise an entire industry, once we’re ready for it. Any business or individual in the travel industry will have to begin thinking about travel in a whole new way.