I spoke at a conference last year and said the future of travel would be virtual. I never would have imagined that something like a pandemic would be the reason this becomes a reality so soon.
With so many of us working from home, isolated and unable to travel, and with others going stir crazy, virtual reality will become one very real way we’re able to escape, explore and travel sustainably without leaving the confines of our homes.
Recently, my improv group decided to stop holding practices. Though I suggested a Zoom or Gotomeeting, Linda, who never fails to surprise us, set up a virtual room within an hour. Within two days, we all had bought our Oculus VR goggles and were convening in a virtual world to practice improv. It was unreal.
Within a few more days, I piloted my VR travel experience in my backyard. With the sun overhead and bursts of warm weather, I laid back in a hammock with nothing but a beach vista surrounding me and the sound of ocean waves in the distance. The content that already exists is incredible. It was a mental escape. I got vitamin D. With a more stable seat I probably could have had a cold adult beverage. And if I had had a sandbox to dig my feet into, the experience would have been even more real. Amazon, here I come.
I’m sad about what’s happening in the world these days. It’s the slow response and lack of clarity that’s making people panic. But since social distancing won’t be going away anytime soon and travel isn’t realistic, those of us in the hospitality industry can start thinking about ways to bring experiences to people. In the meantime, get your Oculus glasses and come find me: I’m Yvette 2020. We can brainstorm on a beach or outer space. The options are limitless.