Are you ready to take your first virtual reality vacation? Luxury hotel chain Marriott has just launched a new self-described “4-D” experience called Travel Brilliantly that combines the Oculus Rift VR headset with real-world stimuli like wind guests and gentle heat, Bloomberg is reporting. The idea is to simulate travel to exotic destinations from a booth located right outside New York’s City Hall, if only just for a few moments.
To begin your Travel Brilliantly experience, you step inside a special booth and don an Oculus Rift headset. You’re then treated to 360-degree video of a Hawaii beach or the city of London. You can maneuver and explore your new surroundings as you choose. And while you’re doing this, you might feel a warm gust of wind sweep by your legs or the gentle scent of sea mist fill the air to complete the virtual experience.
“The secret sauce,” explains VR marketing expert Tony Berger, “is in 4D, because being on vacation affects more than just your eyes and ears.”
While the tech is a fun marketing stunt for now, it’s certainly not impossible to foresee a future where such virtual vacations are possible by downloading an app for a VR headset. It could also be useful to encourage more real-world travel – think of how cool it would be to take a walk through Boston’s Public Gardens before booking a trip there. Or, perhaps we’ll be able to put on our VR headsets after a long day of work and spend 15 minutes recharging with a real glass of wine in the virtual French countryside.
That may still be a time off, but in the meantime, Berger will continue working on VR projects for Marriott. “Picture a cinematic scene,” says Berger. “Now put it in a motion-capture room with multiple people in the scene with you. Soon, we think you’ll be able to interact with others using VR.”
[Image source: Marriott]