This morning, (April 1st) luxury holiday park operator Darwin Escapes has announced that it is going to become the first holiday provider to offer ‘Virtual Holidays’, taking advantage of the ever developing virtual reality technology which is engulfing the market.
This is set to have major ramifications for the travel industry, allowing holiday makers to experience all of the facilities and accommodation on offer at the company’s 19 holiday resorts without even leaving their front room.
DE: VR – The Future of Holidays
Android and iOS users will be able to download the brand new DE:VR app from their relevant app store direct to their smartphone for just £49.99. This is expected to become available in Summer 2017 with the UK based firm promising that a version of the app is currently being developed specifically for Windows phones, with this set to be released at a later date.
Developed by Chester based Digital Marketing Agency Clicky Media, the app will allow the whole family to experience their own ideal holiday experiences separately. The intention is to ensure that everyone will be able to enjoy their own “tailored adventure”, with holiday makers able to utilise the on-site facilities and activities that they are most interested in without being forced to take account of the requirements of other family members.
In order to get an optimum experience from the app, customers will be required to utilise headphones and purchase the Darwin Escapes Google cardboard viewer which is set to be sold separately.
Darwin Escapes Operations Director, Drew Campbell commented: “Darwin Escapes are very excited to announce the brand new DE VR app, launching in Summer 2017!”
“We are always striving to stay ahead of the game and believe this the future of holidaying, allowing people to have all the excitement and relaxation they need from home. The aim is for everyone to have their own tailored armchair adventure!”
Of course, another core advantage is that the app will allow its customers to experience multiple holidays at anytime. The company is confident that this will more than compensate for the initial purchase cost which is significantly higher than the average app, with holiday makers ultimately making significant savings in the long run.
Darwin Escapes batted away suggestions that the app will ultimately impact on its overall revenue generated from holidays, suggesting that it hoped it would help the brand engage with new customers and ultimately encourage them to stay at one of the resorts for the first time in first person with the company confident that by giving customers the chance to experience the facilities, activities, entertainment and accommodation at all 19 of their resorts ultimately, that they will ultimately win new customers over.
This company will also likely be hoping that this will have an impact on the overall holiday home sales numbers at the resorts, with ownership a possibility at eight of their destinations currently. Despite some of these being owner exclusive, they will still be accessible via the app.
Darwin Escapes was also keen to emphasise the environmental benefits that the app will bring, with customers no longer being required to travel in order to reach their chosen holiday destination. The premise of virtual reality holidays is therefore expected to have significant ramification on the overall travel industry and its impact on the environment which has long been debated.
There are a number of features which will be available within the app as standard, including the ability to walk around the resorts themselves, take advantage of the entertainment which is on offer at some of the destinations and also explore the surrounding countryside at the 19 locations.
Basic accommodation experiences will be available, but customers will be able to take advantage of a “Prestige & Homeseeker Lodge” in-app purchase for just £3.99 which will give customers the chance to experience the holiday home manufacturers premium offering including their two storey Lookout Lodge.
It is also possible to access a wider range of the on-site facilities, with separate hot tub and spa experience add-ons available for £1.99 each. In addition to this, pet lovers will also be able to purchase a “Yappy Days” expansion for £3.99 so that their dogs can experience virtual reality also. Initial trials with the app suggest high levels of engagement with the app from animals:
“Ahead of the Game”
Darwin Escapes are going to be the first brand to provide a virtual holiday offering, with the DE:VR app available for download at some point in Summer 2017. This is expected to be the first of many virtual reality holiday experiences on offer, with competitors expected to flood the marketing with similar offerings in over the coming months.
You can read more about the DE:VR app here.