Tech In Action: Expedia auditions hotels in VR

Searching for a place to stay may become a bit more hands-on.

One of the biggest risks that online travel booking sites must mitigate is the potential mismatch between what a traveller expects a hotel room to look like and what it actually looks like.

Expedia is planning on using virtual reality to help bridge this gap by allowing customers to explore hotel rooms and cruise ship cabins.

“If you’re going to make the decision of [booking] a cruise, wouldn’t it be cool if you could check out the ship [virtually] before you spend that much money?” said Arthur Chapin, Expedia’s senior vice president of product and design, during a press conference in Singapore.

Part of the proposed experience seems to be engaging with brand-led VR experiences: trying the various amenities and looking out the windows at the view. But where a hotel can curate that kind of experience as it can its website (and how many hotel websites have made a room seem bigger with professional photography?), Expedia has a solid community of customer reviewers. So we could also see customer-shot video demonstrating a how big or clean a room is, and what the view from its balcony is actually like.

Mashable was the first to get a hands-on demo of the softwware, that showed a user opening a balcony door.

Image courtesy Unsplash