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Agencies in Japan up the sell using virtual reality
Kathryn Wortley, Tokyo, October 18, 2016

Travel businesses in Japan are embracing virtual reality as a means to increase sales and to upsell.


From November, travel agency HIS will begin offering virtual tours of hotels featured in its Hawaii brochure through smartglasses.



“If customers can see the hotel before choosing it, their satisfaction level will rise,” said Atsushi Okamoto, team leader of HIS’ Kanto regional sales administration division.


“In addition, after seeing inside a hotel, customers may opt for a better ranking property, so we are expecting an increase in sales revenue as well.”


Meanwhile, Japan’s second largest agency, KNT-CT Holdings, which owns Kinki Nippon Tourist Co, is leading the charge in using virtual reality as a travel sales tool.


Its smartglasses are increasingly being used by tourism bodies as a way of differentiating themselves and providing information in other languages.


Hirosaki City Government contracted the company to develop its tour of Hirosaki Park, in Aomori Prefecture, and was launched in 2016. Visitors use the smartglasses to visualise the park in all seasons and to learn more about its history.


“Many tourists have been surprised and happy to see the area in full bloom during the cherry blossom season,” said Jun Ogasawara, Hirosaki City’s executive director of tourism promotion.


However, Toshiyuki Tojo, a national guide for Kinki Nippon Tourist Co, says a matter of concern is the high price of the equipment and that the software is not easy to handle.


But if these issues are resolved, the company plans to use the technology to “offer guides not only on history and nature, but also anime and attractions at Japan’s airports and stations.”

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