Is VR capable of influencing one’s destination image?

First things first – What is the term destination image actually referring to?

          A.                                                   B.                                                            C. 

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If you guessed B, then you’d be correct.

Unlike images on Instagram, where everyone in the audience sees more or less the same thing, a destination image is different for each person. ‘Destination images’ are personal internalized ideas that we mentally piece together throughout our lives. It was William C. Gartner(1) who really brought the idea to our attention that someone’s desire to visit a destination was a direct result of not only their knowledge, but also their feelings. It most likely comes as no surprise that effective marketing requires audiences to be emotionally involved. Research has shown that traditional printed brochures, websites, and even videos struggle to influence emotional involvement.

 

But, what if we told you that the keyword here isn’t just ‘emotion’, but also ‘involvement’?

Involvement is measured by how well a medium captures the audience’s attention. What’s interesting is that studies have shown that the same information displayed on social media had higher involvement levels than when displayed on a website(2). Which led us to the question of:

Can we influence destination image purely based on a device?

The answer is YES, and the device was VR goggles.

 

So just how did we come to this conclusion?

We conducted an experiment, where we took a neutral 360-degree video (‘neutral’ here means it was not information or emotion inducing). Then we split participants up in two groups: one group who watched the video on a computer and the other one watched the video through the VR goggles. The group with the VR goggles reported receiving more information, had higher emotional involvement, and had a stronger overall image of that destination.

What are the implications of this research?

This research matters because the devices and platforms that you share your marketing materials on might be just as important as your storytelling and attention grabbing techniques. Virtual Reality is a real game changer in this regard due to its unmatched involvement levels. So if your destination is looking to be remembered, adding VR-enabled videos to your marketing mix might just be worth a try.

 

He who controls the image dominates the minds.

– Bill Gates


Watch our funny making-of on Youtube:

 

 

 

 

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