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BizReport : Ecommerce : August 13, 2014


U.K. tour operator installs virtual reality experience in-store

Thomas Cook, the UK-based tour operator, is using the latest in virtual reality technology to provide potential customers with tours of resorts and the company's airline.

by Helen Leggatt

The latest of Thomas Cook's concept stores, recently opened at Kent's Bluewater shopping mall, is taking travel agent technology to the next level. In the existing concept stores features include an 'Advice Bar App', developed exclusively for Thomas Cook by Microsoft partner Infusion. The app is only available to use in-store and includes features that enable store visitors to research holidays by price, departure time and gateway. The concept stores also feature an area dedicated to group bookings and a Disney-themed children's area.

The new Bluewater-based concept store will feature even more technology, most significantly the introduction of Oculus Rift headsets. Using the headset's virtual reality capabilities, store visitors can immerse themselves in a holiday experience by 'visiting' one of Thomas Cook's Sentido resorts or having a look around the company's airline.

Not only will headset users enjoy a visual experience, but the virtual reality trip also provides them with audio and olfactory cues.

"The technology advancements in virtual reality over the last 18 months have made it a real contender for playing a key role in changing the way we can showcase experience-based products to our customers, especially in the high street environment," said John Straw, Chairman of Thomas Cook's Digital Advisory Board. "We have a roadmap to move forwards into more testing which looks at how we integrate innovative content into a virtual experience for our customers across Europe."

Tags: in-store trends, travel industry, virtual reality










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  • Nice idea - not sure how pragmatic the uptake will be, but could be a useful tool to upsell luxury package trips or sell new luxury plane compartments and new hotels with unique experiential designs.




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