Virgin Holidays unveils augmented reality app

An augmented reality feature which aims to bring destinations to life when shopping is included in a new retail app from Virgin Holidays.

The app is designed to help consumers with their holiday research and buying decisions – particularly when they are in one of the operator’s network of 100 shops.

The AR function is claimed to be the first of its kind for a holiday company.

The app has been built to capitalise on a growing trend of using smartphones while in a retail environment and features advances that give greater access to rich content.

Hidden offers within the store are to be introduced that can only be unlocked through the app, as well as notifications to promote key offers and campaigns.

Virgin Holidays head of retail Lee Haslett said: “This new app incorporates Aurasma, the world’s leading AR technology, and represents yet another first for Virgin Holidays.

“We’re convinced of the potential for new technology to fundamentally change the travel retail experience, and combined with our shops and concessions, we’re building an unbeatable, integrated package.

“This is just the first of a number of new developments that will put further clear air between Virgin Holidays and our competitors. It not only takes us a step further to realising the fully immersive ‘virtual’ experience we want people to have when they enter our shops, it also gives us incredible flexibility to support specific campaign periods or promotions.”

The first version of the app is initially available for download for free to iPhones only, but will be followed by iPad and Android-capable iterations this summer.

Virgin Holidays’ existing brochure app launched in 2010 and has attracted more than 100,000 downloads on the iPhone and iPad. It also goes live on the Android platform this week.

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