Annual travel trade show ITB Berlin will feature a Virtual Reality Lab for the first time this year.
The lab will showcase how virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used in the travel industry to give customers an almost lifelike impression of destinations before they go on holiday.
Visitors will be able to try out VR goggles that offer a virtual tour of a hotel room, or enjoy 360-degree views walking around New York take a computer-animated tour of a cruise ship.
Experts will offer an insight into the latest technologies and projects, and a daily VR raffle will give trade visitors a chance to win a set of Oculus VR goggles.
On Wednesday, March 6, Robert Eysoldt, creative consultant at communication formats company Zerooverhead Consulting, will give an introduction providing examples of destination VR and a run down of the three-day programme.
On Wednesday the programme also features Dr Mandy Tom Dieck and founder and director Dr Timothy Jung of the Creative AR and VR Hub at Manchester Metropolitan University who will discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by VR and AR.
Adrian Kalcic of Jump To, an Australia-based VR travel platform, will talk about how tour operators can benefit from VR and how it can be put to effective use.
Following that a session entitled ‘walk-in movie,’ will see Frank Govaere, VFX supervisor of UFA, a German film and television production company, present the development of volumetric video, the technology behind VR and AR.
Thursday kicks off with Michael Faber of German tourism networking company Tourismuszukunft who will provide information on VR trends in the travel industry.
This is followed by Dr Cornelia Zanger, chair of marketing and commercial business studies at TU Chemnitz, and David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin, discussing ‘Digitalisation at trade fairs and events with a special focus on AR and VR.’
In her lecture on ‘Augmented Reality Games Meet Tourism,’ Anne Beuttenmüller, head of marketing at EMEA for American software development company Niantic, will show how mobile app games Ingress Agents and Pokémon GO Trainer can be used to travel the world with AR games, and how the tourism industry can learn from this.
Afternoon sessions start with chief executive officer for Urban Timetravel Johannes Berdin and project manager of VR-Timetravel Luxembourg Guy Breden, illustrating how the city of Luxembourg has integrated VR and AR in its “Smart City” concept.
This will be followed by Dr Ulrich Wünsch, consultant and former founder, president and rector of Berlin SRH University of Popular Arts (hdpk), Congruens, who will talk about ‘Immersion – delving into a virtual environment.’ Wünsch will explain the non-technological side of immersion and why our brains want to be entertained.
The programme on Friday, kicks off with a lecture by Sebastian Plesch, research associate of university of applied sciences Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin. Plesch will provide an overview of the latest developments in VR, AR and interaction technology as well as its possible uses in the tourism industry.
Taking Beethoven VR as an example of tourism promotion in Germany, Thomas Bedenk, director of immersive media at digitalisation company Agentur für Digitale Transformation Exozet, will talk about VR destination marketing.
And concluding the three-day event, Andreas Weigel, chief executive of Kreuzfahrtbranche-based VR company digitnetmedia, will present a case study on Virtual Reality in the cruise industry.
Niantic, the New York-based company and inventor of the smartphone game Pokémon GO, has created a Pokémon IN game specially for ITB Berlin.
Visitors can chase little monsters live on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds and find out how virtual content can be integrated into the real world. Many of the PokéStops will sport an ITB Berlin design. Users will get a chance to win a 50 percent discount code for up to two tickets to ITB Berlin on Sunday March 10.
Programme details can be found online at: http://www.itb-berlin.com/ITBBerlin/DestinationsSegments/VirtualReality/.
From March 6 to 8 at stand 108 in hall 10.2 of the new ITB Virtual Reality Lab, for the first time ITB Berlin will be highlighting the importance of VR and AR for boosting tourism sales.