Who goes to a travel agent to buy a holiday these days? If the gradual spread of holiday shops from the likes of Tui and Virgin Holidays is anything to go by, quite a lot of people, it would appear.
The latest Virgin Holidays store is its biggest yet. It’s in the Centre: MK, in Milton Keynes, and it packs something of a digital punch, as well as being spread over 1,700 sq ft: at least as big as many convenience stores.
Designed by London and Melbourne-based You Studio, the ‘shopper’ can choose from a variety of ‘experiences’ ranging from a ‘Taste Your Holiday’ bar to the chance to test drive the seats in the various cabins of a Virgin aircraft prior to deciding on whether to book a flight/holiday. The environment itself is designed to feel like one of the brand’s hospitality environments with a palette using neutral oak, soft upholstery and ‘warm’ lighting.
Worth noting too perhaps is the VR rollercoaster at the front of the store, designed to attract passersby and to give visitors the opportunity to take a virtual trip to some of the destinations on offer. And if the mood takes the customer, there are free manicures on offer.
This is some distance away from the traditional travel agent and its location in a large shopping centre does go some way towards justifying its claim to be a holiday ‘store’.