Airbnb is exploring how virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can help people plan — and make the most of — their holiday.
The idea is to take advantage of these new immersive technologies for viewing rental properties both before your visit and during your stay, aiming to “reduce the barriers to travel and the inherent friction that comes with it”.
The company is focusing on two areas: virtual reality before a trip, and augmented reality during it.
VR can enhance travel planning, with capabilities like 360 photos and 3D scans allowing travellers to step into a rental home or city and understand what to expect and how to orient themselves before they leave the comfort of their own home.
Looking further into the future, VR could one day allow people to explore destinations and accommodation options together in a virtual world.
Once visitors have arrived, Airbnb wants to use AR to provide contextual, timely information that helps them find their way around and understand how everything works.
“Some may say virtual and augmented reality technologies could isolate people even further — but we’re building tools for the opposite effect,” the company explained. “The strength of virtual reality is to create fictional, inspirational, shared spaces — allowing us to connect more deeply in situations where we’re already remote or separated. Augmented reality relieves stress and overhead in real-life situations, allowing us to more boldly explore new situations and experiences.”
As yet, there are no release dates as Airbnb is still working on both applications.