• Carola Epple

The role of immersion: How Virtual Reality tools influence booking behaviour (part 2)

Aktualisiert: 30. Juli 2019

Recently, I have described how important it is to evoke emotional arousal for your virtual experiences to make an impact. Yet, there are two more scientific concepts that play a role for the model I have developed to explain the impact of VR experiences on booking behaviour.

Presence and technology acceptance influence VR supported booking decisions “Presence” is a phenomenon that occurs when VR is good enough to trick your senses into believing that you are actually experiencing the environment you are virtually experiencing. This also means that your body responds in kind. “TheBlu” is a deeply immersive VR series that allows you to experience the majesty of the oceans. The debut episode features an incredible close encounter with a giant blue whale. I remember how I moved back when he was almost touching me with his fin. Of course my brain knew it was only bits and data, but I felt otherwise. This is presence. Transferred to travel marketing, presence is the feeling of being in a difference place, e.g. on a cruise ship or at the beach. In these moments, users are immersed and a part of them feels like not being in the travel bureau or at their desk anymore.

The second concept that plays a role is called “technology acceptance”, which describes the user’s attitude towards VR as a technology. According to scientific insights, not only the attitude towards a product, but also towards a technology in use has an effect on the purchasing decision process. So for example, if you are constantly annoyed by the heavy head-mounted-display or if you feel uncomfortable by imagining the sweat of many others that may have used the device, that is not helpful for technology acceptance.

Integrating it all into one model The path model you see below integrates all relevant concepts that our study has found to influence different aspects of VR supported booking behaviour. The arrows marked in purple (I like purple, you know?) indicate the significant relationships. As mentioned in my last article, emotional activation plays the key role in this model: emotions such as enthusiasm, interest and curiosity exert the most significant influence on the probability to book, the speed of decision-making and turnover. Presence has a significant, direct influence on two aspects of the booking decision, which are purchasing probability and the speed of decision-making. In a similar way, technology acceptance exerts direct influence on the purchasing probability and turnover. Additionally, the feeling of presence and technology acceptance both have a positive effect on emotional activation. So they also indirectly influence the booking decision.

How to put the findings into practice In practice, this means that it makes sense to conceptualize VR content in a may that it does not only induce emotional activation, but also the feeling of presence an considers technology behaviour.

To enhance the feeling of presence, we recommend to use a visualization that is as authentic as possible. 360° videos work better than static 360° images, for example. A first person perspective is also a good technique to make your users feel like “being there”. If possible, you should ensure continuity of the experience and minimize interruptions as well as a pleasurable experience with high picture quality and good movement tracking.

To consider technology acceptance, we recommend that you make your customers feel comfortable with the glasses. If yo realize that they are not or they don’t have a positive attitude towards the technology, it may be better to use different selling techniques.

Anything more you would like to know? Then request our study, drop us a line or schedule a free call!

#virtualreality #360degrees #travelmarketing #bookingbehaviour