A survey of 24,179 people in 32 nations revealed that almost half would use the metaverse to inspire their choice of destination.
The survey was conducted by the travel website booking.com revealing consumer attitudes to traveling in 2023.
Travel reimagined in 2023
The travel industry is hoping for relaxed restrictions and the reopening of borders next year, following a period of national lockdowns and restrictions.
While travel may return to something approximating pre-COVID normal, some things have moved on since 2019. In particular, the way consumers select their holiday could change, as digital twins of real-life locations offer opportunities for holidaymakers to test and try out their destinations in advance.
Of the 24,179 survey respondents, 43% expressed an interest in exploring potential destinations virtually, while 46% said they would be more likely to visit a place they had first experienced in the metaverse.
Of those asked, the holidaymakers most likely to test locations in virtual reality are Gen Z (45%) and Millennials (43%). Just over one-third of respondents (35%) said they would spend multiple days in the metaverse to get a hang of the surroundings.
Selling the metaverse dream
Survey respondents may be keen to experience digital twin destinations but 60% of travelers said these facsimiles could not replace the real thing.
That did not stop booking.com from selling the dream of virtual experiences that far excel the capabilities of today.
According to booking.com, “As haptic feedback technology advances, virtual travelers will soon be able to feel the sand between their toes and the sun on their skin without even having to step outside.”
Researchers continue making breakthroughs in haptic (touch) technology, but simulating individual grains of sand or the rays of the sun would appear to be some way off.
For the travel industry, that may be a good thing since such high-fidelity virtual experiences could persuade some people not to bother with the hassle of travel at all.