12 August 2014 – Thomas Cook brings the holiday experience to the high street with industry first Virtual Reality trial

12 August 2014 – Thomas Cook brings the holiday experience to the high street with industry first Virtual Reality trial

Thomas Cook brings the holiday experience to the high street with industry first Virtual Reality trial

Company continues to push technology boundaries to improve the customer experience through digital innovation, trialling virtual reality technology to bring the destination to the high street and transform retail

Bluewater - Shop front Oculus Bluewater - Staff
Photo Caption:Thomas Cook’s new Concept Store
in BluewaterHigh Res Photo: Click Here
Photo Caption: Jozsek Novak, Foreign Exchange Sales Consultant, and Sherena Sydamah Ramsami, Travel Sales Consultant, enjoy the Oculus experience

High Res Image: Click Here

Thomas Cook is bringing the holiday experience to life at its all-new Concept Store in Bluewater in the first ever trial of virtual reality technology in travel. Reflecting Thomas Cook’s dedication to inspiring customers with a ‘Hi-Tech, Hi-Touch’ approach, visitors to the store will be able to immerse themselves in digital virtual reality content, helping build excitement around the fantastic holidays the company offers.

Customers will be able to ‘enter’ a virtual world where they can experience a 360 degree, stereoscopic tour of one of the company’s SENTIDO resorts as well as the in-flight experience from Thomas Cook Airlines, courtesy of the most cutting edge virtual reality technology available.

This first pilot will see customers enjoy a virtual tour on a developer’s version of Oculus Rift, a head mounted virtual reality 3D display, which features an ultra-wide field of view and low latency head tracking. The headset combined with the newly developed application will translate head and motion movements across to the virtual world as customers explore the resort, while bespoke audio and even the smell of a SENTIDO fragrance complete the immersive experience.

The technology advancements in virtual reality over the last 18 months have made it a real contender for playing a key role in changing the way we can showcase experience-based products to our customers, especially in the high street environment,” said John Straw, Chairman of Thomas Cook’s Digital Advisory Board. “We have a roadmap to move forwards into more testing which looks at how we integrate innovative content into a virtual experience for our customers across Europe.”

Future plans include offering customers the chance to experience New York City with Oculus later this year, tying in with the company’s strategic partnership with BrandUSA promoting America’s ‘Great Outdoors’ as well as Thomas Cook’s all-new flights and holidays to the Big Apple.

Joanna Wild, Managing Director of the Thomas Cook and The Co-operative retail network, added: “This trial is an industry first which, using developing technologies, demonstrates our ambition to leverage digital advancements to further improve the customer experience – in this instance to enhance what our customers experience in retail today and in the years to come.”

With Oculus primed to transform the retail experience, virtual reality will allow customers to take a sneak peek into the future of the high street travel agent.

“Whatever the long term future,” concludes Joanna, “visitors to our new Thomas Cook Concept store are set to have a whole lot of fun when shopping for their next holidays with us!”


Notes to Editors

Thomas Cook concept stores are located in White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds, Teeside Park in Stockton on Tees, Broadmead Shopping Centre in Bristol, Hannover Street in Edinburgh, Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex and Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent.