Expedia taps VR to offer immersive virtual room tours

We've seen VR used to ease patients' pain and increase the thrill of real-life rollercoasters, and now we're seeing it make its way into the travel industry. Booking website Expedia is planning to offer virtual reality tours of rooms to give prospective customers an immersive tour ahead of time. The idea here is that while photos on the website give some idea of what the room is like, VR is as close as the person can get to actually being in the room short of booking.

Expedia detailed the plans and offered a demonstration in Singapore recently, according to Mashable. The company plans to take its virtual reality tours to the next level, enabling them to interact within a room in addition to seeing it. This includes things like being able to slide open a door inside a VR room or stepping out onto the balcony.

Work on the project is underway at Expedia's innovation lab, where the company is said to be working on other modern booking methods, too. This work includes exploring the use of devices like Amazon Echo for expanded booking methods, though it is debatable whether a customer would be willing to book a room without seeing it first (through photos or otherwise), unless it is a repeat booking.

The VR room tours are still a project at this point, and so the closest you can get at the moment are traditional 360-degree panoramic views and hotel videos. When the company plans to launch the VR tours, which headsets it will support, and how many hotels will be onboard with recording the necessary types of content for these tours is unclear at this time.