Global hotel giant Marriott has joined forces with visual effects company Framestore to create a virtual travel experience.
The concept, which was revealed on September 18 in New York, provides consumers with a fully immersive sensory experience. Using Oculus Rift technology, travel enthusiasts can see, hear and feel what it's like to be in destinations across the world.
Guests inside the 'teleporter' wear virtual reality headsets, allowing them to 'travel' to various locations – from a black-sand beach in Hawaii, to the top of a London skyscraper. Once in the simulation, pneumatic pumps, misting nozzles, heat fans and a scent dispenser enhance the experience – creating the sensation of the warmth of the sun on their backs and ocean spray on their faces.
"The tech has been there for a while... but now that it is becoming accessible and mainstream, we wanted to be the first to jump out there," Michael Dail, Marriot Hotels' vice-president of brand marketing, told tech magazine Wired. "We wanted something more immersive, more experiential, that helps people connect with that feeling of what travel is really about."
Hotels are increasingly optimising facilities and services to engage tech-savvy consumers, as explored in Hotels & Millennials and Smart Small Hotels. For more on this, look out for High-Tech Hospitality, part of the Future Service Industry Trend, publishing next month.
For more on the use of virtual reality in marketing take a look at Rewiring Advertising and Sci-Fi Marketing, and for retail examples see Virtual Immersive Commerce and Anywhere Retailing: Future Innovations.