What will the travelers do when the experience of virtual reality surpasses the satisfaction of real life? When a fortnight on vacation is less compelling than the Fortnite video game?
“The video gaming industry is one of the greatest competitors the travel industry has,” said London-based Phillipe Brown, of Brown and Hudson, a bespoke travel agency. “Video games are addictive. The reason for this is simple: millions of dollars are spent creating virtual experiences that are perfection. They’re designed to engage, entertain, amuse, challenge and to allow people to bring their friends in and to discover other people. And you can have that entire experience without leaving your bedroom.”
So Brown has embraced the old adage: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
“If travel is to thrive and survive, we need to look outside and learn from the virtual world. After all the revolutionary concept of Airbnb came from outside the travel industry,” explained Brown. So his company devised “The Great Game” as an option for their travel clients. It’s a high tech scavenger hunt similar to what’s seen in the films “National Treasure” or “The Da Vinci Code.”
“The standard family vacation model hasn’t changed in years, but when kids are in a virtual world, they’re in a different world. So the idea of going on yet another family trip with everyone playing the same usual roles just isn’t exciting. It can’t just be ‘go somewhere, see some stuff, and come home.’ So with ‘The Great Game’ we create the arc of their trip just like the story arc of a Hollywood film,” Brown explained. “We consult with parents to find out how they want their kids to grow and develop. Then we take all the learning from video games and bring those into the real world. Whether they’re traveling to Paris or Africa or the beaches of The Algarve there needs to be suspense, engagement, challenge, and different languages. We create an escape in which the travelers are fully engaged, deeply immersed and actively alive. They get to compete, win and move the game on. What happens one day will affect what their family will do the next day.”
Some of Brown’s family clients prefer to get together and play a board game at the end of the day which is custom made based on the day’s itinerary and experiences.
And it’s not just families seeking Brown and Hudson’s gaming experiences. The CEO of a major Middle Eastern government agency enjoyed a guided scavenger hunt through the lush valleys, hidden waterfalls and high surf of Hawaii near the filming sites of “Jurassic Park.”
A woman considering running for mayor of a large American city was introduced to the mayor of a European capital to gain personal insight and boost her credibility back home.
Brown, an expert travel advisor who was a presenter at Virtuoso Travel Week, is authoring a book for publication in 2020 entitled: “Revisit: The New Art of Luxury Travel.” In the book he writes about future travel trends including hyper-personalization, transformative travel, space travel, and the increasing role played by artificial intelligence.
“Silicone Valley has ideas. Perhaps underneath the skin you could have implants which affect you in certain ways by controlling your hormonal release and playing with your emotions. And that’s the psychological level creatively we now try to take travel to naturally.”
Contact Travel Writer Michael Patrick Shiels at MShiels@aol.com His radio program may be heard weekdays at MiBigShow.com or in Lansing on WJIM am 1240 from 9-noon.