Without a doubt, the emergence of virtual reality has been the hottest travel trend of 2014 – and yes, that statement is fraught with implications for an industry that makes money by physically moving people and providing actual real-time experiences.

Facebook’s purchase of VR headset maker Occulus Rift has accelerated interest in this emerging technology, with some travel brands quickly jumping on board to experiment with how the technology can enhance the power of travel marketing. High Street travel retailer Thomas Cook has already been testing virtual reality technology as a means of showcasing destinations – the idea is that the immersive experience will trigger enhanced emotions that lead to higher conversions for travel.

Marriott is the next up to test virtual reality, and has actually done a fantastic job at demonstrating the technology’s emotional heft. The company set up a “Get Teleported” booth outside of New York’s City Hall, targeting the 100 couples that are married there each day.

Two booths were set up, with a host standing in the middle, so the couples could each experience the destinations on hand – from Maui to London, the couples could experience a quick trip around the world.

The couples were asked about honeymoon plans right after experiencing the world via virtual reality, and were emphatic about having an increased appetite to travel. “Let’s go, let’s go,” says one groom – fittingly, the final moment in the video, suggesting that the power of the technology does indeed increase wanderlust.

The #GetTeleported campaign is part of Marriott’s ongoing “Travel Brilliantly” initiative, which has led it across many technological avenues to position the brand as the most forward-looking in the field.

The brand will be taking the Teleporters on tour over the next 2 months, hitting DC, Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose and closing it all out in San Francisco – no doubt with a mega marketing event that ties SF’s technological chops into the final leg of the Travel Brilliantly initiative.

Watching how the people experience the immersive experience is fascinating; seeing them grasp for balance and generally react to their surroundings shows the sheer power of the virtual reality platform.

There are obviously plenty of ways that travel marketers can use this virtual reality technology to showcase destinations – the question is: does it increase travel bookings enough to invest in both creating the content and purchasing the specialized hardware needed to play the content?

Original author: Nick Vivion