The Reality of Virtual Travel

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Club Med allowed visitors at the Sydney Travel Expo in Australia to test its new 360-degree virtual reality tours first-hand.
Club Med allowed visitors at the Sydney Travel Expo in Australia to test its new 360-degree virtual reality tours first-hand.

Virtual reality technology is popping up across all sectors of the travel industry, bringing your clients closer to far-flung destinations and you closer to closing that deal.

A 360-Degree View of Club Med 
Club Med has recently introduced 360-degree virtual reality tours of its properties and a new resort app to help agents plan their clients’ trips. Each video tour, available on the all-inclusive resort operator’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, showcases Club Med’s exotic locations, luxurious rooms and resort activities, including Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil in Punta Cana, where guests can explore the property’s circus-inspired playground; Club Med Finolhu Villas in the Maldives and its luxe overwater bungalows; and Club Med Peisey-Vallandry in the French Alps, where guests will go on a virtual mountain biking excursion. In addition to the four featured resorts currently available for 360-degree virtual tours—Kani, Finolhu Villas, Punta Cana, and Peisey Vallandry—Club Med plans to add its resorts in Cancun Yucatan, Mexico; Val Thorens, France; and Sanya, China in the near future. In order to get the 360-degree view virtual reality experience, you, or your clients, will need to purchase a cardboard viewer. Google sells its cardboard viewer at store.google.com for $15. Amazon also has a version of the cardboard viewer available for purchase at amazon.com for $9.97. Videos can also be watched on the app without the cardboard viewer, but you will not get the 360-degree virtual reality experience.

Agents will also want to take note of Club Med’s new resort app that guests can download before or during their stay. The Club Med Resort App features information about the variety of sports, activities, dining options and events available to guests at specific properties, including restaurant and spa hours, activity schedules and other useful resort information. Best of all, the app offers a complimentary text service that allows guests to chat with one another while onsite. This summer, additional functions will be added to the app including the ability to make spa and restaurant reservations. Club Med Punta Cana, Club Med Cancun Yucatan and Club Med Sandpiper Bay are already accessible on the resort app, with Club Med Columbus Isle (Bahamas) and Club Med Turkoise (Turks and Caicos) launching in the coming months. For more information, call (800) 258-2633 or visit clubmed.us.

Mountain Travel Sobek's first virtual reality travel film takes guests on a journey to the ruins of Machu Picchu.
Mountain Travel Sobek’s first virtual reality travel film takes guests on a journey to the ruins of Machu Picchu.

A New Frontier for Adventure Travel
Mountain Travel Sobek has partnered with JauntVR to produce a series of virtual reality travel films featuring unique experiences available through the tour operator. In the first video of the series, available for download through the Jaunt app on iPhone, Android, and Samsung Gear VR, guests journey from Cusco to the ruins of Machu Picchu following MTS guide Ian Lewis on Mountain Travel Sobek’s flagship Machu Picchu Inn-to-Inn Trek. While a virtual reality headset is recommended to view the video, it is not necessary. Plans to release new films are already underway. To see a preview of Mountain Travel Sobek’s Machu Picchu video click here. For more information, call (888) 831-7526 or visit mtsobek.com.

A still from Etihad Airways virtual reality film starring Nicole Kidman.
A still from Etihad Airways virtual reality film starring Nicole Kidman.

Etihad Airways Premieres Virtual Reality Film at ATM
Etihad Airways premiered an exclusive trailer of its virtual reality film starring Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai. Using Google Cardboard technology and Samsung Gear headsets, this first-of-its-kind, fully immersive VR film allows viewers to experience the airline’s Airbus A380, which includes The Residence—a luxurious, private 3-room suite. Click here to see a clip of Etihad Airways’ virtual reality film. For a truly immersive view of the video, Google Cardboard or a similar device is necessary.

Additionally, Etihad Airways recently launched a new mobile app that provides guests with the option to customize their booking and travel experience, whether its choosing how they prefer to interact with the airline, organizing and managing their journey, booking flights, checking-in, viewing the status of their flight or navigating their way around Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) using indoor maps. For more information, visit etihad.com/en-us.

Recommended Feature Story

groups

Groups Just Want to Have Fun

Fun-filled days under the sun—that’s what Palladium Hotel Group is offering you for your group business with its new Groups for Fun program.