At a launch event for American Express Travel’s 2018 expansion to its Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection programs, Travel Agent got a chance to check out a new virtual reality walkthrough showing off what travelers can expect.
The virtual reality experience puts the viewer in the shoes of an American Express Travel customer checking into the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, which joined the Fine Hotels & Resorts program this year. The viewer walks through the hotel lobby, chatting via text with an American Express concierge to make reservations at the hotel’s Jean-Georges restaurant, reserve a pool cabana, and even have one of the hotel’s signature cocktails sent up to their suite (a complimentary upgrade through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program).
We caught up with Tom Stein, vice president of American Express Travel, who said that the future plans for the virtual reality experience are “still a little bit to be determined.”
When we asked if the experience was something travel agents could ever see or take advantage of, Stein said “that’s certainly a possibility.” He noted that it could be great for a booth at a tradeshow as an in-depth way of helping travel agents gain familiarity with the product.
At the event Stein also announced the addition of over 150 properties across 40 new destinations to the Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection programs. Notable additions to Fine Hotels & Resorts include the Conrad Bora Bora Nui in Bora Bora; the Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal; and Schloss Elmau in Krün, Germany. The Hotel Collection will include over 80 new properties in 2018, including notable new arrivals Meghauli Serai – A Taj Safari in Nepal; ION Adventure Hotel in Nesjavellir, Iceland; and The William Vale in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The Fine Hotels & Resorts program provides American Express Platinum Card Members access to a number of benefits with an average total value of $550 when booking through American Express Travel. The Hotel Collection provides Gold and Platinum Card Members exclusive benefits ranging from room upgrades, if available, to property credits.