In the year 2014, the world of tourism marketing will be turned upside-down. Historians will mark the year as the dawn of the Age of Augmented Reality and the merger of our physical and digital worlds. This is the year that Google will introduce its Glass eyewear to the general public.
For an overview of the possibilities of Glass, have a look at this video:
Google Glass will enable us to interact with our physical world more effectively by adding layers of information to what we see and hear. Instead of merely seeing castle ruins on a historical tour, Glass will enable us to envision the original, watch a video of reconstruction efforts, read our friends’ comments on the subject, and even suggest the best picture-taking vantage point. This augmented reality system will be able to offer infinitely more information about a destination in a fun, easily-consumed format.
What does this mean for anyone involved in the tourism industry? Budgeting for application development. Apple Computer spawned a multi-billion dollar app development industry with the introduction of the iPhone and iPad, thus making it reasonable to assume that there will be a significant demand for Google Glass software applications.
From immersive, self-guided tours and video calls with tourist information centers, to treasure hunt games and retail advertising, the possibilities for augmented reality applications in the tourism industry are endless. At a very minimum, destinations can begin preparing for this paradigm shift by posting QR codes in prominent locations that lead to HTML-5, mobile-responsive websites.
The year 2014 will be a game-changer in the travel industry, giving destinations with a strong digital infrastructure a distinct marketing advantage over others. Even if Google Glass fails in its first incarnation, smart phone/tablet usage during travel will continue to grow along with the demand for the digital infrastructure that accompanies it. Perhaps we all need to do an hour of code?