Antony Lawrence
Jun 19, 2018

How brands use VR to bring destinations to life

The director of brand engagement for Pico + MENA on how VR is breaking boundaries and shrinking distances for travel brands.

How brands use VR to bring destinations to life

The travel and tourism sector is seeing a big uptick in the use of interactive technology and this is having an impact on travel plans, with virtual reality (VR) in particular being used to create virtual journeys that excite people.

Marriott was one of the first hotel brands to use VR for marketing, with its ‘Vroom’ service allowing guests to experience its hotels through Samsung Gear VR headsets preloaded with virtual “postcards” from exotic destinations, providing a panoramic, immersive glimpse into new places.

Interactive tech prepares for “take-off”

Keep in mind that interactive tech is just getting started. Virgin Atlantic began using VR in 2015 and is now implementing VR across its operations. Take its new Immersive Digital 360 Drinks Experience, which offers “a new way of enjoying a cocktail”.

Passengers waiting for their plane are transported through VR to a high-end bar in another city. They can order a drink from New York, for example, while sitting in the airline’s lounge at Heathrow. They put on VR goggles and are immediately transported to their chosen bar to sip a fancy cocktail.

Transforming perceptions with VR

We recently worked with a client to develop a VR solution to promote a destination internationally.  Our aim was to transform perceptions – changing people’s view of the destination from being a “traditional beach and retail destination” to something much grander: a world-class family and business tourism hub.

VR experiences and holistic zones were created to showcase various elements representing the destination. Participant reactions were captured with biometric bands monitoring real-time electrodermal responses like movement and skin temperature. We also measured the impact of the experience and captured data for a post-activation report.

The experiential journey finished by incentivising participants to share their experiences on social media platforms like Snapchat and Twitter, growing brand awareness and opening new marketing channels at the same time.

We are entering a new era of content where consumers are seeking better, more engaging experiences. When done well, interactive tech is the perfect portal to
these experiences.


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