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Virtual reality set to "revolutionise" destination marketing, tech firm claims

Claims come as Telford becomes first UK destination to use VR as part of its destination marketing

Pictured: Tim Luft of Woote

Virtual reality and wearable tech are set to “revolutionise” the destination marketing industry, according to one tech firm.

Telford-based virtual reality (VR) suppliers Woote teamed up with Telford and Wrekin Council at International Confex to become the first UK destination to use virtual reality technology as part of its destination marketing.

Speaking in a seminar at the show, Woote director Tim Luft said: “2016 is the year of virtual reality. Virtual reality is here to stay, and 2016 is the year we’re going to see it. Out on the show floor, apart from Telford, I haven’t seen any technology used to promote a destination – there’s a real opportunity there.

Woote produced a two-and-a-half minute virtual reality tour of Telford’s main attractions, which proved a popular draw on the stand at the show. The film uses an Oculus headset to drop viewers into the midst of attractions, including the town’s Iron Bridge and International Centre.

Luft said that the technology was starting to become more widely used in the industry.

He said: “If you fly first class with Qantas you get a pair of virtual reality headset and you get to go to the destination before you’ve got there. Marriott Hotels give you a VR headset in your room. 

“You’re going to see virtual reality revolutionise the destination marketing industry. This technology is already here, so it’s a real opportunity to grab it.”

He added that smart glass products, such as Microsoft’s soon to be released HoloLens augmented reality device, also provided opportunities for destinations.

“Smart glasses are going to fundamentally change the way destinations market themselves. There is a phenomenal opportunity to use smart glasses to really explore a destination. It will be the biggest wearable tech product in the UK this year bar none. You will be able to explore a destination by putting on the goggles.

“The ability to drive around a location is something we are trialling at the moment. We’ve just rendered the streets of Abu Dhabi and it’s a very unique way of presenting a destination.

“You need to think outside the box – what do people like to do and use? Virtual reality is a low cost investment that can get a lot of use and hold a lot of interest. If you’re going to get involved with VR now’s the time to do it. Smart glass platforms will be out and about by Easter. You have the ability to take your destination and immerse it in VR at a relatively low cost.”

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