Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is accelerating on the topic of entertainment: on July 25, the Group and The VOID announced a partnership to bring over 25 permanent immersive virtual reality destinations to the Group’s shopping centres in the United States and in Europe.
This partnership will allow The VOID to offer visitors a cutting-edge, first-to-market entertainment across the Group’s locations.
The partnership kicked off this summer with four temporary pop-ups opening in August and September with Star WarsTM: Secrets of the Empire and Ralph Breaks VR. The destinations set to launch these pop-ups include Westfield World Trade Center in New York, Westfield San Francisco Centre, Westfield Santa Anita in Los Angeles and Westfield UTC in San Diego. All of these centres will open permanent The VOID locations in the subsequent months. Additional permanent locations are slated to include centres in cities such as Paris, London, Amsterdam, Chicago, Copenhagen, Oberhausen, San Jose, Stockholm and Vienna. The full roll-out will be completed by 2022.
Discover The VOID, an immersive Virtual Reality Experience: https://youtu.be/hLhswj2zFDw
As the leader in immersive entertainment, The VOID recognises that consumers are looking for deeper and more meaningful experiences that will bring them closer together with family and friends. The VOID transports consumers as far as their imaginations will go, providing them with an unforgettable entertainment experience that they will want to relive over and over again. Partnering with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and utilising their footprint of premier destinations will allow us to deliver unprecedented social, out-of-home, and immersive entertainment experiences on a global scale.Curtis Hickman
Over the past years, our industry has evolved dramatically. In a connected world, shopping is not enough anymore. Today, our customers expect to be entertained and brought together to share memorable, engaging sensory experiences. We are very happy to partner with The VOID in an industry-first, to bring cutting edge immersive experiences like these to our visitors. It shows how our new transatlantic platform allows us to implement great concepts across our portfolio worldwide and how we can leverage our scale to create value.Christophe Cuvillier
Offering unique experiences to our visitors
This recent partnership with The VOID is in line with the Group’s innovation strategy to strengthen desire of people towards our shopping destinations by reinventing their experience.
Indeed, consumers are seeking more memorable experiences and spending more on leisure: for instance, recreation spending in the US increased by 24% from 2012 to 2017, while UK expenditure on leisure activities was up 17% in the five years before 20181. In response to this underlying trend and the rise of the e-commerce, shopping destinations seize the opportunity to enrich their offer to create all-round experiences that give customers new reasons of visits.
From cinema to art and culture, sport and well-being, gaming, or night time, we are reinventing shopping centres with permanent and temporary activities to become immersive and experiential destinations, far from traditional malls. As a consequence, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield shopping centres have been dedicating an increasing share of their leasable surface to entertainment (+9% of GLA – gross leasable area – between 2014 and 2018 in the European centres) and to sport as well (+18% of GLA over the same period).
Moving towards a diversified leisure and entertainment offer is thus crucial for the Group to stay ahead as it strengthens the attractiveness and the visibility of the centres. In that respect, the Group seeks to bring state-of-the-art technologies and experiences to create urban destinations where people can get together and share memorable moments. In addition to The VOID, we have also partnered with other Virtual Reality brands such as Mind Out in Westfield Vélizy 2, VirtualTime in Aéroville, Dreamscape Immersive in Westfield Century City, or escape games in Virtual Reality such as Virtual Adventure in Westfield Carré Sénart or TeamBreak in CNIT and Aéroville, are a few examples of successful partnerships that offer unique entertainment to visitors and reinforce the attractiveness of the Group’s destinations.