TUI Travel is predicting holidaymakers will be able to enjoy holidays virtually in Star Trek-style “holodecks” before making a booking.

These would effectively offer rooms where customers could enjoy simulated sounds, sights, smells and temperatures of the destination.

Thomson.co.uk new media director Graham Donoghue is convinced the new sales environments will become a reality as holidaymakers become increasingly knowledgeable about destinations.

“It´s about using technology to inspire you about a destination. I think it will become as common as picking up a brochure. It´s never going to replace travelling but it could replace the inspiration,” he said. “A lot of people no longer go on holiday to lie on the beach, they go because of the destination.”

Donoghue said the development would just be an extension of the current gaming world and a natural progression in the travel industry.

Other trends predicted by the company are the ability of customers to swipe information from conventional brochures into mobile phones and a rapid contact website search facility to help customers track family and friends while they are overseas.

Meanwhile, the company confirmed that First Choice will incorporate TripAdvisor ratings on its website next year. Sister company Thomson already features TripAdvisor reviews on its site and uses them to discuss quality issues with hoteliers.