“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
― Marcel Proust, French NovelistA new perspective, some adventure and ample relaxation – Aren’t these what we seek from our well-designed and desperately-awaited travel plans? However the holiday begins only when we arrive at the destination and start exploring the place. But what if the ‘adventure’ and ‘excitement’ kicks in right when you are booking your tickets? Or even when you are choosing where to travel to? Navitaire, an Amadeus company has come up with a service that brings to you an engaging travel booking experience, all in 3D. “We live in a 3D world, why shouldn’t we shop for travel that way?” This is what sparked an idea for Justin Wilde, a user experience developer at Navitaire, who then went on to convince his manager to let him develop a concept that would allow travelers to complete an entire travel booking all in VR. Four months later, Wilde’s VR experience was ready for its first booking.
“I see a future in which the internet will be a 3D experience, and everyone will have their own portable 3D headsets. This will be a much more natural experience for us, because the world we live in has three dimensions. I think technology, and the way we design user experience online should reflect that too,” says Wilde.
You can be a MARVELlous traveller!Remember how Tony Stark – The Iron Man– can virtually handpick locations on a map from within his suit with assistance from Jarvis? He can zoom-in, zoom-out, choose a destination and booyah, he’s all ready to fly! Well, Wilde’s VR booking experience is quite similar to this. It begins with the traveler standing on a platform in the clouds facing a giant globe of the world. The user can spin the globe to select a destination, and suddenly there they are, staring at the London Eye for example. If the traveler likes what he sees, he can purchase a flight and go through the entire booking process right through to payment. When selecting a flight, he can walk through the plane cabin to find the right seat, and when booking a rental car, he can hop in and try different cars.
“Amadeus’ approach to innovation is driven by our awareness of customer needs, the creativity of our employees and our foresight into the trends shaping our industry. We have to continually evolve how we do things so that we can help our customers adapt to and thrive in a rapidly changing world,” says Rashesh Jethi, Head of R&D in the Americas, Amadeus.In the future, Navitaire also plans to include hotel booking features, and even social functions to the VR experience, so the traveler could see where his Facebook friends have been as they spin the globe.
“We’re not just thinking of the next ‘big idea’, we want to execute ideas that help our customers to do things more effectively, more creatively and more easily to deliver value to their business. Our internal culture of openness and experimentation means we can identify ideas for doing things differently from teams that work day-to-day with customers, and test different ideas across our base, and Justin’s project is a perfect example of that,” added Jethi.Wilde completed the first booking using his VR search and booking web application on December 31, 2016 in the Navitaire offices in Salt Lake City. For now, it is still in a project phase, with a patent pending. Navitaire has been providing technology and business solutions to the airline and travel industry since 1993. The company was acquired by Amadeus in January 2016.