This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

March 2, 2016

Selling Vacations Using Virtual Reality

Carnival Corporation, owner of ten cruise lines, accounts for half of the cruise industry's annual revenues. According to Carnival, the growing global popularity of cruising vacations is outpacing land-based vacations by a 23 percent margin. However, many people have still not enjoyed this unique experience. That's why we were not surprised to see this leading-edge innovation in promoting cruises coming from Carnival.

Technology and travel---a good match
Partnering with AT&T and using Samsung Electronics' Gear VR, Carnival is offering 360-degree vacation experiences to customers 133 AT&T stores across 37 states. Carnival is counting on virtual reality (VR) to give consumers an immersive sense for what it feels like to vacation aboard one of its ships.

Connecting with early adopters of VR through 360-degree video vacations
Fewer than 20 (19.9) percent of the United States population have ever been on a cruise; even fewer people from other parts of the world have experienced cruising. Carnival hopes to expand this percentage worldwide by offering 360-degree video vacations. The VR gives would-be passengers the opportunity to feel as if they are really on the cruise ship. So far, Carnival has created one VR promotional experience.

Using VR to give prospects a full experience
People visiting the participating AT&T stores will be "transported" to a virtual cruise environment where they will have a small taste of the full experience---from the open sea, to the entertainment and dining, to the engaging shore excursion options around the world.

Expanding the market
Over the past decade, cruising has grown faster than land-based vacations. The company hopes to encourage more people to consider cruising when planning their next vacation. Carnival is also offering consumers the chance to enter a sweepstakes and win one of 10 seven-day cruises on their Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line brands by checking out the virtual reality experience and signing up via an in-store tablet or by visiting through March 11.

Using VR to sell experiences
The travel industry is the ideal use of VR and a logical use to promote cruising since in the last 10 years, the $30 billion cruise ship industry has grown younger. Expect to see a variety of devices providing a range of VR experiences, from driving various vehicles to sky diving to shopping.

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