How tvOS Can Change The Face of Travel And Tourism
With tvOS opening the floodgates for a more diverse collection of content on Apple TV, there is an opportunity for the travel and tourism industry to create new experiences on an almost entirely untapped medium.
The Airbnb tvOS app is an early example of the possibilities. According to Airbnb, the app focuses on the fun of discovery, providing a largely visual and immersive experience. And importantly, it creates the possibility for shared booking experiences, leveraging the big screen to let families or couples look at potential accommodations together, right from their living rooms.
Airbnb’s tvOS app is a great point of reference for those looking to get onto the platform, but it’s just a very early demonstration of what’s possible. Below are a few examples of what travel and tourism companies – particularly in the travel booking and planning space – can accomplish with tvOS.
Creating Shared Experiences
One of the biggest changes with Apple TV as it moves towards a more diverse content environment is the fact that it promotes shared rather than individual experiences. The ability of Apple TV to capacitate this opens up many doors for the travel industry, allowing companies to facilitate experiences that let couples, families, and friends plan their trips together (without having to crowd around a laptop).
The shared experiences can go beyond the living room, too. The option to add someone to your itinerary, or even have group itineraries, can make travel planning a truly collaborative experience, helping groups of people plan their trips together easily even if they are in different locations.
Immersive, Visually-Driven Navigation
There is a big advantage to creating a more immersive, visually-driven experience in travel booking. An article in Mashable reflecting on the Airbnb app tells exactly why this is the case:
“Travelers spend a lot of time planning, visiting as many as 38 websites before booking, and there is evidence that planning the trip can bring more happiness than the actual vacation…So even while many travel companies work to speed up the booking process, others might want to consider how people want to spend a lot of time thinking about travel.”
Apple TV is the perfect medium to accomplish this. There is an opportunity for travel booking services to offer a much more immersive experience, with high-resolution images and integrated video winning out over the text-heavy, busy interfaces prevalent on desktop and even mobile. City tours, slideshows, video guides, and more are just a few of the ways to provide more involved travel booking experiences on the Apple TV.
The visual experience can also be leveraged as a direct sales channel. Many brands – Hugo Boss, Burberry, Topshop, Gap – have been experimenting with shoppable videos on other platforms like Youtube and have seen success. Integrating this into an Apple TV app can help accelerate bookings and purchases directly from the Apple TV app.
Travel By Season
The focus on visually-driven experiences on Apple TV allows developers to get much more creative with their apps. One possibility is to customize the travel booking experience by season, both aesthetically and functionally. Depending on when the user wants to travel to a particular location, the app can serve photos and videos that are reflective of that season in that location. Furthermore, the recommendations – things to do, seasonal deals for accommodations and flights, etc. – can be customized based on the dates the user will be in each destination.
Booking Integration via Handoff
Purchasing directly from within the app isn’t the only solution. In the case of Airbnb, they have not yet implemented shoppable videos, but have opted to pass the booking to their iPad and iPhone apps. This model can be emulated using Handoff, which allows for the easy passing of tasks between Apple devices. For example, if a user wants to add a flight, a hotel room booking, and a car rental to their itinerary, they can save all of these to their wishlist while continuing to explore. Rather than interrupting the experience on their TV, a user’s wish list can be handed off to their phone or tablet, which can be used to book the items on the itinerary.
Since tvOS is still so new, there aren’t many examples of travel and tourism applications apart from Airbnb. That said, the potential for these kinds of apps on the Apple TV are vast, giving companies the ability to build experiential brands and create entirely new user experiences. Early adopters will be able to gain a competitive edge as the new Apple TV ships and the user base grows.