COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented shift in industries all over the world—and one of the hardest hit is travel and hospitality. With travel bans, flight cancellations, property closures and more, the industry has been forced to improvise and lean in to the new normal (at least for now—things will get back on track).
One of the biggest trends to develop is virtual tourism—thanks to livestreams and pre-recorded videos, you can travel the world from home. Not only does this help ease the reality of being stuck inside, it’s also serving as inspiration for future trips. So if you’re a property or destination, this is your chance to help people escape now and show them why they should escape with you later.
Here are some of our favorite virtual experiences:
Bahia Resort Hotel (San Diego, CA) | This resort’s live cam is focused on its marina and occasionally oscillates so you get a panoramic view of the bay, beach and boats. It’s a serene scene that sparks wanderlust and is a nice visual to keep on in the background.
Inbal Jerusalem Hotel (Israel) | More than just a simple livestream, the Inbal allows you to control the rotation of the camera (or keep it still), plus you can click the “hot spots” button to view IDs of the structures you’re seeing as the camera pans.
Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa (French West Indies) | If you’d prefer being transported via sound, then give Le Barthélemy’s tranquil “sounds from our ocean” a listen while you close your eyes and picture yourself on a sugar-sand beach.
For a curated tour of the world, utilize the Google Arts & Culture feature. You can explore locales spanning the continents, including parks, museums, street-art tours, opera houses and more.
And don’t expect virtual travel experiences to stop once we can act on our wanderlust. Forbes is predicting that virtual reality (VR) could help propel the industry forward after the current situation is over. The idea is that once people are able to travel again, VR allows them to get a feel for destinations before they settle on a vacation—and give them a desire to travel more.