In partnership with virtual effects firm Framestore, Marriott recently introduced The Teleporter, a machine equipped to offer travelers a glimpse of certain destinations before they commit to traveling. A Wired reporter shared his experience using the machine on a virtual vacation to Hawaii. Marriott also made the machines available to the public this week, debuting them on the streets of London. Passersby were encouraged to utilize the machines to travel virtually to the sandy beaches of Hawaii.
What’s worth noting about this machine is that users can’t actually move when they’re using it. Instead, they can take in the views, feel the warm sun on their foreheads, and the sand beneath their toes. A company representative described this foray into virtual vacationland as a step towards “build[ing] credibility with younger travelers.”
This technology isn’t meant to replace traditional vacations. Thank goodness, because I can already see the corporate world adopting these gadgets as a substitute for giving out actual vacation days. It is promoted as a tool to help travelers get a feel for destinations they’re interested in before making actual travel plans.
This is certainly a headline-grabbing piece of technology. It got Marriott the attention they wanted from the young/tech-savvy crowd. And I’m sure Londoners will enjoy toying with it for 90 seconds. However, when it comes time to actually go on vacation, I imagine most people will still turn to the internet to do their research. Unless Framestore finds a way to incorporate travel reviews into the experience, I’m sticking to Flyertalk, Tripadvisor, and Youtube for researching potential vacation destinations. Still, Framestore reports it’s gotten a great deal of interest in the gadget, so perhaps other hotel chains will jump on the bandwagon and adopt this technology.
In the sad world of the American workplace, filled with workaholics who don’t use their paid vacation days and stay late to show how hard they’re working (guilty on both counts), this invention might pick up steam one day. Perhaps every corporate office in America will offer these for employees as a kind of performance incentive. “Nice job this week! You’ve earned yourself 45 minutes in The Teleporter.”
If you’re interested, Marriott will be showcasing The Teleporter in the following cities:
- September 19-23: New York Marriott Marquis
- September 26-29: Boston Marriott Cambridge
- October 2-5: Marriott Marquis Washington DC
- 9-12: Atlanta Marriott Marquis
- 17-20: Dallas Marriott City Center
- 24-27: San Diego Marriott Marquis
- November 6-9: San Jose Marriott
- November 13-16: San Francisco Marriott Marquis
For a look into the experience and to get feedback from those who have used it, be sure to check out #getteleported on Twitter.