Are you longing to go somewhere far, far away, but just can’t afford it? The costs of vacation travel sometimes hold us back from getting the heck out of Dodge when we need it the most. But what if you could believe you’re in another place, even if you can’t get there in reality, even if just for a minute?
The Marriott hotel chain is pioneering technology that makes you feel like you are on a beautiful black sand beach in Hawaii, or the top of a tower overlooking a lovely nightscape in London, England. You may have already heard of the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality technology – both in general tech news as well as a previous post here on Unscrambled regarding a possible consumer version of it – but if you are in a major city on the tour route in the near future, Marriott may give you a chance to try it out for yourself.
It’s something of a sampler, a teaser – the virtual experience is designed to make you want to have the real experience. Step inside the “Teleporter” and strap on the headset. In a moment you’ll feel the ocean spray on your skin and see 360-degree views of a gorgeous Maui beach. After enjoying the four-dimensional sensations there, you’ll be again teleported to London. The wind, the cool air, the smell, and the tilting floor all join the visual and auditory information to enhance the real in this virtual reality experience. Marriott has a made sample of the “Goggle View” available, but it’s the booth that really brings the visceral sensations to life.
In an attempt to redefine travel, Marriott teamed up with Framestore – who brought us the great effects in the movie Gravity – along with marketing geniuses at Relevant to produce an unbeatable 4-D experience. There’s no question that standing in a teleporter to get an idea for your next travel experience dominates the coffee-table-picture-book advertisements that we get in our hotel rooms. On the other hand, the picture books rarely cause the nausea often sensed with virtual reality visuals.
Of course, nothing beats the real thing, but if I had something like this of my own, I might never leave my house. My next vacation might be a virtual reality staycation. And, if I had my own set up, I wouldn’t be embarrassed to stumble around and freak out in what’s essentially a phone booth on display.
The hotel chain’s teleporter pop-up VR tour includes stops at Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco. Check out Marriott’s Travel Brilliantly site for tour dates and information. And if you get a chance to try it out, tell us how you liked it.