As the festive period fast approaches, many may still be searching for fun-packed destinations to visit and may not be sure of what to expect in their choice destination.
Travellers can now experience several destinations virtually and make informed choices on where to visit before they get on the planes.
Touchdown Travels, a Travel Management Company (TMC), is taking travel beyond the confines of travellers, with the introduction of Virtual Reality into the travel sector in Nigeria.
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated 3D environment that enables users to explore and interact with a virtual surrounding in a way that approximates reality, as it is perceived through the users’ senses.
Olufunso Ekundayo, Chief Operating Officer of Touchdown Travels, while speaking during the launch of Lekki Experience Centre, said this is a game changer in travel management and for the sector as a whole.
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The Lekki Experience Centre is different from the other branches of the company where tickets can be bought, bookings and other travel packages can be gotten. It is equipped with VR technology where passengers can experience their preferred locations and destinations before travelling.
According to him, ”Today, we are launching the first of its kind Travel Experience Centre. It is not just a branch, not just a location, it is a full experience centre. What we are doing is end-to-end; all your needs as regards travel, your flight status, airport pick-ups, everything and what we are offering here is a full trip.
“During the trip or on the day of your trip, everything that is required is taken care of. And here, we are also leveraging technology, this is something which is new. Part of what we will be doing here is give people the opportunity to experience the locations even without travelling there through our virtual reality tools.
“You want to make a trip to the Maldives for instance, imagine if you have the opportunity to experience the beautiful locations without moving, the idea is it helps us to get people to get convinced to travel and experience it before they travel. Also, imagine couples travelling for their honeymoon experiencing hotel rooms or malls before they travel, that’s leveraging technology. We look at that as a game changer in what we are doing,” Ekundayo said.
He explained that apart from that, there are other things that have been compressed into travel, doing check in, and all those things that would have been hassles for passengers at the airport, Touch Down can actually do it all.
“You get the best rates that are available, you get the best advice about visa eligibility, while at the same time, you also have premium service at the best affordable rates.
“TouchDown Travels has been there for 30 years, we have been doing this for 29 years, we have a strong niche in corporate travel. What we are trying to do with this Travel Experience Centre is to extend the same quality experience in corporate travel to every individual,” the COO said.
Ekundayo noted further that the experience comes with no extra cost, adding, ”It’s a value added service and we are going the extra mile to do this. One of the things that we also do is we try to solve the problem of finance, we partner with Eazy Pay and other financial institutions, travellers could pay in installments, they can book your cheap fares and lock them down and pay in instalments.
“At Touch Down, we understand that. We ask ourselves, Can everybody afford to travel?, no, but we strongly believe that everybody deserves to travel. And there are two major problems, first of all, availability of deals inventory and the second one is financial capacity, we try to solve those two problems.
“The first one we are looking at is having the best deals available from our airlines, the second one is we partner with these financial companies to be able to provide solutions to our customers and take advantage of our service while they pay in instalments, we are tying to make life easy, we just want to help people travel and live their lives to the fullest, we want to help people run out of their passport pages.”
He explained that what Touch Down Travel wants to do is that it wants to give travellers authentic local experiences of the locations they are going to, build memories for people, expand their horizons, and empower them.
The travel management expert explained that Touchdown Travels, established 30 years ago by Dayo Adeola, has been delivering values over the years, adding that the company plans to deliver the same top-notch value that the corporate sector enjoys to individuals.
”We are looking at setting up two more locations before the end of the year, we are financially strong and capable. We are passionate about travel, we just want to get close to our customers and deliver value to them.”, he said.
Speaking at the event, Olumide Olaleye, Key account manager, United Airlines praised the management of Touchdown Travels for coming up with such idea of VR in the travel sector, noting that it is a bigger step further in passenger experience.
Jamile Ebifemi, corporate account manager for Air France-KLM, also described the Experience centre as an amazing one, adding that Touchdown Travels is known for offering top notch service to customers.