Every captain needs a first mate. And at Virgin Voyages, the adults-only cruise line set to debut in 2020, its second-in-command will be none other than travel agents.
TORONTO — The Intrepid Group has found itself ahead of the latest trend that’s taking the travel industry by storm: virtual reality.
Partnering with Explor VR, Intrepid Travel and Peregrine Adventures, two brands under the Intrepid Group, have just launched VR experiences on the newly revamped app, which is free to download through Apple’s App Store as well as through Google Play. Intrepid’s Morocco experience plays like a Lawrence of Arabia-type fantasy, complete with carpet merchants and Berber tribesmen, while Peregrine offers two videos that highlight the ‘Peregrine difference’ as well as its Croatia tours.
Armed with this revolutionary new virtual reality tool, agents can engage with clients in the office or at trade shows and events, transporting them to the destination they are trying to sell. Ideal for attracting foot traffic off the street and showcasing a hotel, cruise ship or destination right at point of sale, Explor VR also gives agents a leg up over OTAs, which do not offer a retail setting for a fully immersive VR experience.
“We believe that VR is going to be huge for the industry, which is why we wanted to get involved from the beginning,” said Leigh Barnes, Intrepid Travel’s Director of North America. “It will allow agents to sell their clients an experience in more depth and detail than ever before. It will also allow travellers to experience a destination without physically being in that destination.”
With over 1,000 trips around the world, the impact VR will have on Intrepid Travel’s growth is limitless. “To be able to show travellers what they can expect on one of our trips before they leave home, whether it’s looking over Medina or a seafood dinner in Croatia, is an exciting tool for the growth of our business,” added Barnes.
Barnes compared the two very different experiences of a client reading about the company’s small-ship Adventure Cruises in a brochure, versus them putting on a headset and actually taking a walk around the ship to see it for yourself. “That’s when they’ll really be sold,” he said.
The Intrepid Group is just one of many partners that have launched VR experiences with Explor VR. Since Travelweek launched the app in 2016, it has grown rapidly from just 30 experiences to 88.
“Virtual reality is the future of travel, which is why it’s so important for suppliers to get onboard and not be left behind,” said Devin Kinasz, Explor VR President. “We are so fortunate to be working with the industry’s biggest names, who are not only passionate about this revolutionary technology, but are also invested in giving travel agents the best and most innovative tools to do their jobs better.”
All experiences can be viewed on a mobile, however, to maximize their impact, agents are encouraged to purchase a VR headset at explorvr.com, which is currently on sale for an extra 10% off using promo code: INTREPID.
Agents can download the app from the App Store or Google Play, peruse through different destination experiences to find Intrepid and Peregrine, then either play in mobile view, VR mode with a headset, or download for future offline play.