How Virgin Holidays creates sensory experiences in store

Virgin Holidays has never been one to follow the crowd. Their latest retail stores give their customers the chance to experience their holiday before they book. We caught up with Rachel Wilton, head of retail, to find out more…

You recently opened a spa in your Milton Keynes store – what was the thinking behind that?

This was to offer our customers a completely different experience while booking their holiday, an opportunity for them to relax and enjoy a flavour of what’s to come. It creates an experience that's different to the rest of the high street. We really believe the holiday starts when our guests come into our stores at enquiry stage and this is a great first impression and start to really immerse themselves in that overall experience.

A customer has a manicure at the spa in Virgin Holidays' Milton Keynes store

You’ve also given your guests the opportunity to experience a virtual reality rollercoaster in store – what do guests think of that?

This has been a great asset to our stores and it really brings to life some of the holiday experiences we offer. It gives our customers a glimpse of what memories they can make on one of our Florida holidays through the different experiences they will have.

Customers love it, it entertains the children but, most importantly, it really captures their imagination. We can see this in the reaction in their faces and the fact they bring family & friends back to stores to experience it too.

Two Virgin Holidays employees enjoy the virtual reality rollercoaster in store

Do you think that the ability to immerse your senses in something new and different is a key reason why people get such a buzz from going on holiday?

Absolutely: this is why our retail store concepts and designs have been created in this way. The Upper Class seats, virtual reality rollercoaster, spa and relaxed bar experiences all offer our customers the opportunity to immerse themselves in their holiday right from when they walk in to enquire about it. And this continues all the way until they come back and share their experiences and memories with our store teams.

Outside of a Virgin Holidays store

What do you believe is the most powerful sense when you’re on holiday?

All the senses play a part in your holiday – you’ll see, hear, smell, taste and feel things you’ve never experienced before. But the most important is personal to our customers, enabling them to make memories they will never forget. We want our customers to experience things for the first time, feel that familiar excitement and anticipation, and surprise them with the unexpected.

Take a trip to your nearest Virgin Holiday store and enjoy the holiday experience while you plan your next break.

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