Virtual Honeymoon has been preparing for the launch of Virtual Destination Wedding for a while now, in preparation of proving that in order to go to the next level of marketing with wedding venues and resorts, you have to be up on the latest technology, which is VR (virtual reality) It’s the next best thing to being there!!!!!
Virtual Honeymoon just launched a pilot program, Virtual Destination Wedding, where they are working with two selected resorts that specialize in destination weddings, in two different destinations. They have had dozens of resorts/brands around the Caribbean and Mexico apply, but the first in their launch was in Jamaica at the Couples Resorts, a favorite of Virtual Honeymoon owner, Robin Hawkey!
With a average over two million weddings per year in the U.S. alone, with couples spending over $72 billion on weddings and $8 billion on honeymoons, Virtual Honeymoon can help Resorts and Venues capitalize on a big percentage of those weddings by literally dropping a couple into the wedding to experience it without being there, thus doubling wedding bookings!
“This interactive tool saves time, gets your clients excited and ready to book!”
Virtual Destination Wedding is an interactive destination matching tool, Destination Wedding planners use on those time-consuming clients that are “all over the map” find their top two destination matches and virtually experience it before booking, thus closing the sale!
Virtual Destination Wedding software is very intuitive, using scoring + algorithm to search & match destinations…with combining 360* VR technology, we are revolutionizing the way smart agents sell travel!!!
The Maldives is a small tropical Asian country that is comprised of 26 natural atolls in the Indian Ocean and is located just south of India and Sri Lanka.
These atolls are made up of more than a thousand coral islands.
Are you looking for that escape to paradise for your honeymoon or “just because” romantic getaway? The Maldives has beaches that have been untouched and would be a getaway beach destination unlike any other.
Can you imagine these soft, white-sand beaches and the beautiful crystal-clear blue waters, and being on an island alone with your partner?
The Maldives provides a romantic honeymoon destination for couples on their honeymoon, or on a “just because” romantic getaway to celebrate one another.
Enjoying time together, without the hustle and bustle of distracting tourists, taking in and enjoying the real natural beauty. There are many things to do and explore in the Maldives; from exciting water sports activities to couple’s massages at an exotic spa, to the fascinating explorations of underwater life.
Aside from just laying back and enjoying this paradise full of peace and tranquility, there are many things you can do in the Maldives.
* The Maldives has an abundance of beautiful coral reefs and marine life. Take time to enjoy a diving or snorkeling adventure and snorkel alongside whale sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays, all while taking in the beauty of the reefs and other marine life.
*Go on a dolphin-watching excursion. The dolphins in the Maldives can be active and playful; a fun show to watch
* The Maldives is excellent for stand-up paddle boarding. The waters are shallow and calm, perfect for paddle boarding!
*Treat yourself to a Balinese massage at your resort’s spa. Enjoy the peace and tranquility in paradise!
*Experience an Underwater Spa or Restaurant.
* The Maldives has more to offer than the sand, sun, and sea. You can also visit their capital city, Male’. Here, you can visit the Sultan’s Palace, the fish market, experience their culture & heritage, and authentic restaurants. You can also go island hopping and experience how Maldivians live.
*Most of all, enjoy the privacy, isolation, and relaxation of your escape to paradise with your partner!
Let’s not forget about choosing that perfect resort for your stay in the Maldives. There are many top luxurious resorts to choose from.
Here are a few you may enjoy:
The Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives is situated on the exotic island of Emboodhu Finolhu. This resort offers beautiful ocean-view villas, and overwater suites. Take a 15-minute speedboat ride from the airport to this idyllic resort surrounded by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa is a beautiful escape for a romantic getaway or honeymoon.
If you love diving, Fushifaru Maldives is an ideal resort for your trip, located in Lhaviyani Atoll.
Fushifaru is a relatively new resort which opened in 2017. This resort also offers beautiful
beach-view and water villas. Expect to enjoy excellent facilities and excellent customer service.
Are looking for that most intimate and secluded island? The Outrigger Konotta Maldives
Resort, located within the crystal waters of the Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, offers you the ultimate in
privacy. This resort offers you the perfect place to unwind and enjoy your partner. Indulge in an
intimate and luxurious holiday in an overwater villa or beach villa, while also enjoying top-notch
spa services and beautiful, high-quality infinity pools.
The Maldives offers you an ultimate escape with your loved one. Plan your romantic getaway or
honeymoon to the ultimate paradise destination, the Maldives.
Have you ever thought of “tying the knot” or renewing your vows at sea? Sailing away into the sunset on your romantic honeymoon? Well the cruise lines offer that and so much more. Cruise lines now are the floating resorts of the seas stopping at different port around the world for you to venture out and explore shop, eat or just stay on the ship and relax and enjoy.
Many of the cruise lines offer a variety of wedding packages to assist you with a wedding ceremony on the ship in one of the many beautiful venues or shore side at one of the destination ports along the ships itinerary.
Family and friends can join you for just the ceremony or the full cruise.
See how beautiful and wonderful your wedding day can be.
There are several cruise lines that offer different wedding packages to fit your dreams.
These are a few of the cruise lines that offer wedding packages:
Disney Cruise Line
MSC Cruise Line
After the wedding you can go start your honeymoon in one of the beautiful staterooms on the ship.
Or enjoy a dip in the pool, feast in the dining rooms, enjoy a show, go to the spa and get couples massage, shopping, hang out in the bar/lounge, participate in the many activities on the ship, or just honeymoon in your stateroom.
One of the many dining venues on the ship
There is always time to take a dip into the pool.
It is time to enjoy a couple’s massage.
Just think you could have your Wedding/Honeymoon anywhere around the world with family and friends or just you two sailing into the sunset.
Written by Sandra Scott of JFM Travel
For more information on creating your Destination Wedding/Honeymoon or any Specialmoon,
contact Sandra Scott at Sandra@jfmtravel.com
Don’t know where to go on your next getaway?
Maui Island- The magic isle and second largest hawaiian island, but with low population, making it very desirable with its diversity and attractions, there something for everyone here! From its heavenly beaches to its scenic wonders its no wonder why Maui has been voted best island several years now!
Perfect Weather: Average yearly temperature is a tropical 75-85*degrees
Main City: Wailuku
Time Zone: Maui Island Standard Time 5 hours behind US East Coast & 3 hours behind Pacific time -they do not observe daylight savings time
Road to Hana- leads you through tropical rainforest, with dramatic scenery of flowing waterfalls and plunging pools, experience old hawaii first hand.
Haleakala National Park- Maui’s highest peaks 10,023 feet above sea level, morning sunrises are unforgettable
Lahaina- Hot spot on the west, historic whalers village with shops, restaurants & marina, catch some great tours leaving from here.
Molokini- A small island a few miles off of Maui’s southwestern coast, great for snorkelers and divers.
Wailea- South shore of Maui, known for its world class golf courses and crescent-shaped beaches.
Beautiful beaches- Kaanapali Beach on the west is Maui’s famous beach known for its powder white soft sand, and Makena Beach on the south is known as Maui’s ‘big’ beach, the largest beach on Maui.
Exclusive Inclusions: Sample of VIP Perks* at one of our Preferred Resorts:
Free wedding website & honeymoon registry
Luau for 2
One sunset dinner cruise for 2
Daily breakfast for 2
VIP cocktail reception
Room upgrade & late check out (based on availability)
Kauai Island – Kauai, known as the ‘Garden Island’ is the island of discovery, with 50 miles of breath taking beaches against the clear Pacific Ocean with its sparkling blue water to its lush tropical rainforest and cascading waterfalls with rushing rivers, colorful valleys and quaint historic small towns, where no building is taller than a coconut tree. ‘Kauai is the island begging to be explored!’
Perfect Weather: Average yearly temperature is a tropical 75-85*degrees
Main City: Lihue
Time Zone: Kauai Island Standard Time 5 hours behind US East Coast & 3 hours behind Pacific time – they do not observe daylight savings time.
Kauai Island top Highlights:
Napili Coast- Take a boat tour along the scenic northshore to experience colorful sea cliffs.
Waimea Canyon- Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
Wailua River- Enjoy this scenic river, take in famous Fern Grotto.
Beautiful Beaches- Poipu on the sunny south shore and Hanalei bay on the north shore, experience Kauai’s white sand beaches.
Wailua Falls- Known as the Secret Falls – 80 foot high, as seen on fantasy island.
Spouting Horn- One of the most photographed spots, known as ‘blowhole.’
Exclusive Inclusions: Sample of VIP Perks* at one of our Preferred Resorts:
Free wedding website & honeymoon registry
Upgrade on arrival- based on availability at check-in
Buffet breakfast daily for up to two
Evening appetizer, once during stay
Complimentary daily spa access for 2 ($60 value per day)
Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
Labeled as the most romantic place on earth, Bora Bora screams honeymoon and destination wedding. Romance, Romance, Romance which can steer travelers away unless going there for a monumental trip as opposed to going for a summer vacation. When I went there; I wasn’t going on a honeymoon, having a monumental anniversary or attending a destination wedding and my trip surpassed all of my expectations.
If I’m being honest, it brought tears to my eyes, gave me an expressionless face, and left me feeling a way I have never felt before. So is the label right? Is it a place that really needs that special romantic occasion to truly be enjoyed?
Not so much!!! Seeing the Bora Bora waters for the first time brought me to tears and had an effect on me that no other destination ever has and future destinations are going to have to work hard to live up to.
Granted, this was my #1 heaven on earth place to visit. Was on my bucket list ever since I can remember so you can only imagine my excitement pre-trip; but nothing prepared me for what I would feel when I got there. Mesmerized, in aw, speechless, and totally in love. I was romanced by this small island in a way no man has ever romanced me. I was transported to a place words can’t even describe. I had finally found my soulmate. A place that made me feel secure, giddy, and wanting to experience and share more.
In that moment I realized first hand why the tiny island of Bora Bora is known as the island of romance and that realization has nothing to do with a honeymoon, a wedding or even a significant other. I could spend months alone in Bora Bora and never once be lonely, feel lost, afraid, or unhappy. This tiny little island pulls you in, wraps you up in it’s beautiful blue waters and whisks you away to places you couldn’t even imagine even existed. (And let me tell you, I have an imagination like no other and even I couldn’t have imagined this!!!), so grab your favorite glass of wine and enjoy the love story That is Bora Bora…………….
Yes it is true, couples you have found your ideal destination, but this little island is perfect for the whole family and solomooners alike. The small island of Bora Bora is only 18 miles in circumference, but it’s home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and waters that don’t discriminate, they love your little coconuts and solos as well as the love birds.
As a solo traveler, allow yourself to embrace mana and be swept away by the luxurious pampering resorts with overwater bungalows and thatched rooves we’ve dreamt of for our ultimate retreats. Spend lazy days sunbathing while watching the sharks and sting rays swim by your bungalow. Your little coconuts will think they are living in a real life storybook when you let the azul waters wash over them and embrace them in this carefree, picture perfect lifestyle.
The captivating, majestic Mount Otemanu, sharply rising almost 2,400 feet above sea level, lush tropical slopes and valleys, transport you to a paradise that will forever be burnt into your mind allowing you to continue your love affair with Bora Bora long after you are thousands of miles away.
Your resort will be located either on the southern end of the main island or on its own motu (islet in the lagoon). The water is the key to what will keep you active when you want to venture from your lounge chair or spa treatment. The turquoise lagoon surrounded by picture-perfect white sand beaches is your playground for such unique experiences as shark feeding. You stand in the shallow lagoon far enough away but yet close enough to watch your guides hand-feed the sharks. Explore the lagoon via glass-bottom boat, motorboat or jet ski, or just snorkel from your bungalow or off the beach anywhere on the island. Diving is also huge attraction because Adventure off the coast and to the interior roads on a hike or 4X4 accompanied by a local guide. You’ll be treated to unbelievable overlook views. Be sure to make some time to shop for local and international original art, Tahitian pearls, perfumes and oils, and precious wood handcrafts.
Most meals will be eaten at your resort, where you’ll be treated to world-class dining, complete with some of the best water views you’re ever going to see. Many of the properties also offer after-dinner Polynesian shows, incorporating the cultural flavor into your stay. Cuisine here is as you would expect — lots of local seafood, fruits and vegetables to enjoy.
Don’t forget to have at least one of those over the top experiences like a gourmet picnic on a private beach or a sunset cruise with four-course dinner aboard a private catamaran. We can’t forget the ultimate in room service, breakfast by outrigger canoe brought to your overwater bungalow or villa. The flower-decorated canoe brings with it fresh fruits, pastries and juices by a welcoming resort staff member. International flights land at Faa’a Airport in Papeete on the island of Tahiti. Flight time is just under eight hours from Los Angeles and about 12 hours from New York’s JFK with a swift 51 minute flight from Papeete to Bora Bora and your life with forever be changed. Air Tahiti Nui is Tahiti’s national carrier.
The Bora Bora airport is built on a motu; making resort transfers by private motorboats from the airport which sets the tone for your amazing experience that is yet to come causing your little coconuts to ask why all resort transfers can’t be by boat!!!!
Whether you are traveling for romance, celebrating yourself, or introducing your coconuts to a real-life fairy-tale setting, Bora Bora will check all the boxes and when you visit; may your sleep be peaceful and restful, and may you wake by the warmth of the sun refreshed and ready for each new day of possibilities in paradise!!!
Saint Lucia has earned the slogan of, “Let Her Inspire you” and it is easy to see why!
With resorts ranging from family friendly properties with kids’ and teens’ clubs, water slides, petting zoos, paint ball, and trampolines; to boutique properties with little cottages and nearly private beaches; to mega resort properties; to three-sided-open air sanctuaries formed on the side of a mountain for a romantic getaway, Saint Lucia offers it all.
When asked, “What can I do in Saint Lucia?” I have to respond with, “it is easier to advised what you cannot do in Saint Lucia!” You cannot find sky scrapers. You won’t find a desert terrain. But truly, many activities abound in this lush and beautiful paradise! You will understand why Saint Lucia is referred to as the Hawaii of the Caribbean!
Land adventures can be experienced through ziplining, hiking, biking, climbing, jungle swing, aerial tram, bird watching, dune buggies, Segway tours, and even a volcano experience with hot springs! Water adventures include snorkeling, scuba, beaches in various colors, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, kite surfing, speed boating, catamaran cruises, whale watching, and fantastic deep see fishing! While you will not be short on activities in Saint Lucia, should you want to venture out, you can even take a trip over to the neighboring island of Martinique!
I describe Saint Lucia as something for everyone. The clearness and blues of the water welcome you from every direction. The topography offers mountainous Pitons, Rainforest, areas known for calm waters, and areas known for waves and kite surfing! The temperature stays between 75 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. The English language is spoken fluently by most on the island. The currency is Eastern Caribbean, but they will commonly accept the US Dollar when you are shopping or tipping. And YES, the people are welcoming, and the tap water is safe to drink!
If interested in finding out more about Saint Lucia, feel free to reach out directly to TravelAgentSuz
If you don’t know where to go on your next romantic getaway, take our virtual quiz and find your top two matches here:
If you could take a moment and imagine perfection.
Imagine powder white sands, crystal clear waters, culinary delights sure to excite even the most picky of foodies, and pure luxury available a stone’s throw away.
Welcome to Aruba, this small island only a quick boat ride away from the coastline of Venezuela offers everything you would want for the setting of your next romantic destination. So let’s explore, Aruba. It really is one happy island.
Location, Location, Location:
Aruba is one of the most Southernmost islands in the Caribbean and is apart of what is known as the ABC Islands (Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire). Together these islands make up the Dutch Caribbean.
The good news for visitors of Aruba, is due to its location, the island enjoys an arid climate with pleasant weather enjoyable year round. Also due to its location in the extreme Southern Caribbean, the likelihood of hurricanes or bad weather ruining your vacation as the island is located outside the commonly known “hurricane belt” are low.
Visitors looking for a different experience from the lush tropical vegetation present on other Caribbean islands will be at home in Aruba. You will find on the west and south coasts, sandy, crystal beaches with calm waves (my favorite is Baby Beach which is calm, warm, and clear to the bottom), hotels to fit any budget, and shopping, ranging from super luxury to island chic and activities as calm or heart pumping as your heart desires.
On the north and east coasts, you will find dryer conditions and may even spot some cactus and other trees more likely to be seen in the desert than a tropical island. The arid environment is the perfect place to have amazing adventures such as ATVing and dune buggy rides. Home to Alto Vista chapel, it is a great historical site while there remember to get your refreshing coconut water sipped straight from a coconut.
Although it is no muss no fuss to go to an all inclusive resort, I challenge you to resist the urge in Aruba. This island is known as a foodie paradise with restaurants lined up and down the main streets of Oranjestad, the island’s capital. Why stay at the resort when you can explore the downtown and enjoy all of amazing food that is offered.
If food doesn’t excite you how about shopping? Whether it is luxury brands or flea markets there are shopping opportunities available for shopaholics with any budget in the downtown area. Taking a stroll through Renaissance Mall, or in the downtown area is the perfect way to spend a low key afternoon.
Aruba is an excellent location to plan your romantic vacation. Aruba will check all your boxes for food, excitement, beach, and adventure.
We attended the Love Mexico conference last week which was hosted by Xcaret Resort in Cancun, Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Xcaret combines Mayan history, art, and an ecosystem of jungles, caves & rivers that is just perfect for a destination wedding, honeymoon or a romantic getaway.
The resort grounds are beautiful and ready for some romantic exploration. The suites are very large, and offer all the amenities you would expect in a luxury resort. Food options are endless and during our stay we were not disappointed.
The service is impeccable, and Raul & Daniel at the lobby bar deserve a big shout out! Each suite has a balcony or terrace that includes a hammock (or two) for enjoying the views and relaxing. The suites are decorated based on the key elements of the Mayan culture; spiral, earth, wind, water & fire.
We are excited to announce Virtual Honeymoon’s sister site, Virtual Destination Wedding won Trendsetter of the year 2018 award for best targeted marketing idea!
Virtual Honeymoon won this honor for Trendsetter of year in 2016 for best targeted marketing idea as well!
While Virtual Honeymoon software runs both virtual matching sites, Virtual Destination Wedding goes a step further in not only matching a couples destination but helps plan their wedding, this helps wedding planners and destination wedding specialists work smarter!
Virtual Destination Wedding story-
What does Trendsetter awards mean? Each year, the TravelAge West Trendsetter Awards recognize travel agency leaders who make an impact on the industry and the community. Two finalists in each category are invited to and honored at the WAVE Awards as guests of their sponsor.
Entries are reviewed and voted on by the sponsors and editorial staff of TravelAge West. Furthermore, suppliers who sponsor the Trendsetter Awards do so not just for publicity – they support the travel agent community and wish to honor those who are making significant strides in the industry.
See the Trendsetter winners in all categories by checking out the July issue of Travelage West Magazine honoring all the recipients held at The Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Ray, California
A huge thank you goes out to Travelage West for our award and Celebrity Cruise line for honoring us with a Europe Cruise, we are so excited!
Virtual Destination Wedding is honored to work with over 200 Destination Wedding Specialists in US and Canada!
If your a travel agent specializing in romance travel or wedding planner, find out how you can work smarter @ VirtualDestinationWedding.com
“This interactive tool saves time, gets your clients excited and ready to book!”
Robin Hawkey, owner of Virtual Honeymoon, was recently interviewed by Travel Week about how she came up with the concept for this VR interactive matching tool, and how its solving problems for hundreds of Travel specialists in the Romance Travel industry, as well as plans for growth.
the travel industry largest and most trusted media source in Canada!
See below a copy to article.
Virtual Honeymoon launches sister sites
Virtual Honeymoon launches sister sites, partners with ExplorVR amid company growth
TORONTO — Here’s a common scenario: You ask your wedding clients where they would go on their dream honeymoon, and they respond with a bunch of destinations in quick succession. Bali. Italy. Tahiti. The list goes on and on.
But there is a fun and easy way to whittle down the options so that your clients are left with a destination that best suits their needs and preferences. Virtual Honeymoon is an interactive destination matching tool used by agents with indecisive clients. Using intuitive software and an algorithm to search for and match destinations, the tool matches couples with their top two destinations, allowing them to ‘test drive’ these locales and help agents close the sale.
Robin Hawkey- Owner of Virtual Honeymoon
Started and owned by travel industry veteran Robin Hawkey, Virtual Honeymoon kicked off in January 2015 for year-long testing before launching its affiliate program in March 2016. Hawkey says the idea came to her after “years of frustration of working with couples that were all over the map”, which resulted in wasting weeks of valuable time, sometimes only to lose them to the Internet.
“When couples have no idea where to go on their getaway, or say something like ‘We just want to go some place warm and tropical’, that usually leads to seeing every tropical island and comparing them all. We call [these couples] ‘tire-kickers’ or ‘time-wasters’ for using travel agents as a human resource tool,” she tells Travelweek.
How it works is simple: Clients answer a series of fun, interactive questions, the tool then matches them to their top two destinations based on their answers. After clients fill out a contact form, all the questions and answers, including their matches, are emailed directly to the travel agent who will then follow up directly.
The tool costs $24.95/month, or $239.52 per year with a savings of 20%.
You can access the site at virtualhoneymoon.com.
To enhance the experience, Hawkey has added a virtual reality component to the website’s destination pages. She’s teamed up with ExplorVR to allow clients to pre-experience their matched destination. Virtual Honeymoon’s affiliates have already used VR headsets and videos at wedding fairs where clients were able to test-drive their destinations on the spot.
“I think [VR] is so beneficial as most millennials want to be involved in the planning process. VR is the next best thing to being there!” said Hawkey. “I also feel that the agents who don’t get on this VR trend will be left behind – literally!”
Devin Kinasz, President & CEO of ExplorVR, adds: “Virtual Honeymoon is embracing VR technology and partnering with ExplorVR to give their agents access to exciting destination experiences. We are very excited to partner with Virtual Honeymoon because they align with our values of being a forward-thinking company that embraces technology.”
Virtual reality acts as the perfect selling tool in the destination wedding and honeymoon market as it allows clients to “try before they fly”. As Hawkey puts it, all couples want their weddings and honeymoons to go off without a hitch, so the best way to ensure that the destination matches their vision is to virtually travel there ahead of time.
“There is on average over two million weddings per year in the U.S. alone, with couples spending over $72 billion on weddings and $8 billion on honeymoons. The romance niche is such a great niche to get into to build your entire travel business,” said Hawkey. “If an agent does a great job on the wedding or honeymoon, and builds a good relationship with their client, they will do all their travel-related activities such as anniversaries, babymoons, graduations, family trips and more, not to mention the referrals to all their friends getting married. This creates a booming business that will continue to grow and prosper.”
With business booming, Virtual Honeymoon launched its sister site – Virtual Destination Wedding – at the Love Mexico event in Cabo last December. Operating much like Virtual Honeymoon, the new site not only matches clients with their top two destinations but also helps plan the wedding. And like its sister site, it costs $24.95, or $239.52 with a 20% discount.
Looking ahead, Hawkey is preparing to launch the company’s newest addition – Virtual Vacationing – on April 10 at the Travel Agent Forum in Las Vegas. While its main concept is the same as interactive destination matching, she says the new site does not focus on romance as the other two sites.
“We realize that not all getaways are about romance, sometimes it’s about vacation travel with family and friends and they too can be confused about where to go on their getaway,” she adds. “We are so excited to be at the Forum with our VR partner, ExplorVR. They have really helped our vision of bringing virtual travel to life, allowing clients to virtually experience their destination match before booking and, thus, closing sales!”
“Test drive” one of our demo-sites below and find the best match for your business:
Robin Hawkey, owner of Virtual Honeymoon, was recently interviewed by Travel Weekly’s Senior editor, Jamie Biesiada about how she came up with the concept for this VR interactive matching tool, and how its solving problems for hundreds of Travel specialists in the romance travel industry.
the travel industry most trusted magazine source! See below a copy and link to the article.
It’s a problem most agents face on a regular basis: Clients, old or new, want to go on a vacation, but they don’t know where.
Or, maybe they know they want to go “somewhere warm and tropical,” but they haven’t narrowed it down beyond that. With a literal world of possible destinations, the qualifying questions begin.
The situation is one Robin Hawkey knows well. A former agent who specialized in romance travel, she often had clients come to her with little to no idea of where they wanted to go on their honeymoon.
“It’s our jobs as agents to sell them, to match them to the right property,” Hawkey said. “But honestly, when you’re just talking about the destination and trying to narrow that down, that can take weeks, months of your time, and it’s back and forth.”
And sometimes, a much worse scenario plays out: An agent helps clients pick a destination, then they disappear and book it online themselves.
Enter Hawkey’s solution: Virtual Honeymoon.
Using her experience as an agent, Hawkey has created a destination-matching service in the form of an easy online quiz agents can present to clients. The quiz comes on a white-labeled website agents can customize, and it includes destination guides. Hawkey no longer sells travel, instead devoting herself full-time to the company.
Agents first present their clients with a 17-question quiz.
“These are the questions that we would ask if they were sitting in front of us, if we were trying to figure it out, and we pretty much have it down to a science,” Hawkey said. “It’s working extremely well.”
At the end, the clients are presented with their top two matches based on criteria such as travel style and budget, and they can click through to destination guides on those spots.
The website and its components start at $19.95 per month or $191.52 per year (a demo version is live at www.demo.virtualhoneymoon.com). It includes a back-office feature agents can use to make changes or additions to the site that Hawkey said is very easy to use.
Hawkey has added virtual reality (VR) videos to some of the destination pages, and more are being added. She is encouraging agents to purchase headsets to use at in-person client appointments and events like bridal shows.
She has partnered with Canadian company XPLR VR for the videos and directs agents to that company if they wish to purchase headsets. The price point is around $100 per headset.
“I truly feel if [agents] are not going to get in on [VR], they are going to get left behind,” said Hawkey, who describes the videos as “the next best thing to being there.”
It’s something she has had personal success with. While Hawkey no longer sells travel, she decided to do one final destination wedding for her daughter’s best friend and sold the couple on Jamaica using a VR video.
Virtual Honeymoon has been available to agents since last October. Hawkey has not been actively marketing it, but plans to ramp up her efforts soon. Some 60 agents already use Virtual Honeymoon, and Hawkey’s goal is to have 1,000 users by the end of the year. She has also begun approaching consortia about partnerships.
The agents using the tool are all certified as romance travel specialists by the Destination Weddings and Honeymoons Specialists Association.
Lynn Wilson, owner of Shared Travel in Chico, Calif., said she finds the tool useful when couples are unsure of where to honeymoon. She recently purchased two VR headsets to use at an upcoming bridal show. “It’s fun. It’s different. It’s an experience,” she said, adding that the price of the headsets is not prohibitively high, nor are they low quality.
Camille Sanders, owner of Chic Romance Travel in Fresno, Calif., uses Virtual Honeymoon and its quiz as a marketing tool. She includes links to the quiz in her newsletters, on social media and in her signature line of emails. She has also sent it to past clients. “Taking a quick little quiz, it’s fun,” she said. “It doesn’t take very long to do.”
Virtual Honeymoon was created to use on your couples that have NO idea where to go on their Romantic Getaway! The perfect client to use this VR interactive matching tool, is one that is “all over the map” or says something like, “we don’t’ know where we want to go, just some place warm and tropical.” This interactive tool SAVES TIME, gets Couples EXCITED & ready to BOOK!
By implementing VR (Virtual Reality) and 360* Videos, agents can now not only match the couple to their top destination but let them virtually experience it!
“How cool would it be to take Virtual Honeymoon tool to a Wedding fair, try on the couples that don’t know where they want to go on their Romantic Getaway, they can take our fun interactive test, get their destination match and then the agent put a VR headset on them to jet away to virtually experience say Jamaica! Agents better have their deposit forms ready!
How it works:
By answering a series of carefully thought out, fun, interactive questions about their likes, preferences, budget etc….the intuitive VR tool will match the clients to their top two Destinations based on their answers selected. The tool will then show their top two matched destinations side-by-side with descriptions of each, from there they can select one (or both) to experience, a beautiful page opens up with destination information, photo, video, links to explore! The system can track each clients Q/A data and when activated, emailed direct to agent, for follow-up!
Robin Hawkey is the owner/visionary of Virtual Honeymoon and loves to share her passion for Romantic Travel. She has won numerous Travel Awards, with the most recent as 2016 Trendsetter Award for “Best Targeted Marketing” and featured in Travelage West. see article here: Travelage West
Barbados- Sophisticated and casual, warm and friendly, and always distinctively charming. The Caribbean’s easternmost island boasts beautiful powder white sand beaches, shady palms, and clear blue waters all surrounded by lush tropics of this friendly little British island.
Barbados is nestled in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean, and Caribbean’s most eastern island. Blessed with beautiful powder white sand beaches, shady palms, and clear blue waters all surrounded by lush tropics of this friendly little British island. Barbados is an ancient coral reef that formed over one million years ago, with 20-mile stretch of soft coral, permeated by the water forming underground caverns
Barbados Beaches- As diverse as the island. The west coast is calm and palms sway on the white sandy shores while the water laps gently to shore, head to the South side and you will still find flawless sandy beaches protected by coral reefs, go south-east and experience more lively surf for watersports, along the east coast the beaches are wind-blown and the shore is pounded by the Atlantic ocean making a surfers dream come true. Head to the North side and coral and sandstone cliffs rise out of the sea reaching over hundred feet in height, you will also find sheltered coves there.
Lawrence Gap- A 1.3 km stretch of road in the parish of Christ Church, is famous for it’s fine restaurants, diverse accommodation, lively nightlife and good shopping.Commonly known as a place where cultures meet and merge, a great Barbados experience.
Oistin’s Fish Fry- Fishing town on the south coast, puts on their version of street fair with excellent fresh fish, (tuna, swordfish, marlin, mahi-mahi, flying fish), lobster, chicken etc…in a informal setting. Enjoy live bands, dancing, craft vendors, or just hang out with the friendly locals.
Harrison’s Cave- Located in the central uplands of the island, this breathtakingly beautiful, crystallized limestone cavern is a testament to nature’s mastery. Flowing streams, deeps pools, of crystal clear water and towering columns characterize this living cave. This is a must see to believe underground adventure!
Wildlife Reserve- Tropical haven for exotic animals, reptiles and birds, of which are threatened with extinction. Wander through their tropical jungle, or stay a day and experience the wild side of Barbados, don’t miss the green monkeys!