WILMINGTON, NC – When a mid-size destination and its destination marketing organization [DMO] is able to claim a ‘first,’ it is a big deal. That’s why the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau [CVB] is excited to announce that it is the first-ever DMO in the nation to incorporate SkyNav™ 3D interactive tour technology via the destination’s official tourism website, WilmingtonAndBeaches.com. The CVB’s SkyNav™ destination tour was officially launched during National Travel & Tourism Week at its annual Travel Rally breakfast.
“To be the first destination marketing organization in the nation to roll out a SkyNav™ tour for the travel and leisure industry is a win for both the New Hanover County tourism industry and our visitors,” said Shawn Braden, executive vice-president of marketing for the CVB. “By providing our visitors with an easy-to-use tool that will positively aid trip-planning, we believe it will not only enhance the virtual experience but also encourage travel, thereby positively impacting visitation to New Hanover County.”
Consumer interest in virtual reality [VR] ranks very high (74 percent) in the categories of travel, tourism and adventures, and projected virtual reality active-user growth is expected to rise exponentially over the next three years. Companies that use this forward-thinking immersive technology to market products demonstrate a commitment to the future. [source]
What Is SkyNav™?
SkyNav™ is a web-based, next generation immersive experience that allows visitors to engage with a brand without an exclusive delivery device or downloadable app. Visitors can enter into 360° “worlds” that are full of high quality panoramic images and experiences based on their needs, such as viewing videos, image galleries, interactive text and image boxes or various call to actions. SkyNav™ is the first WebVR-capable product that not only allows visitors to experience areas in a 3D environment on desktop, mobile or tablet (iOS and Android), but allows them to view these scenes in VR without a downloadable application. SkyNav™ is emerging as a next generation experience marketing tool.
How the Wilmington and Beaches SkyNav™ Tour Works
The SkyNav™ 3D tour consists of 13 aerial and 14 ground 360° panoramas that encompass the entire coastline from Wilmington, North Carolina, to its three island beaches: Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. Wilmington’s tour uses the latest developments of interactivity with over 54 information beacons that are strategically placed throughout the tour. This 3D technology allows visitors to either “fly” or go “ground level” to explore an area, fully immersing themselves via one of the CVB’s 32 videos, or one of 20-plus hotspots, text and images, or click-thrus to partner websites. Visitors that are directionally challenged or not familiar with the area can click on a virtual “air compass”. Users can also share the tour via social channels and email, view the areas via Google maps, and follow the CVB’s social media channels.
What makes SkyNav™ Different?
Most of today’s web-based interactive maps showcasing geographical areas are very dated. They usually consist of a PDF-type look and feel, are static and are not immersive. SkyNav™ breaks from tradition to deliver a cutting edge 3D and VR environment that allows the visitor to become immersed into “experiences” that drastically increase time on the site, user excitement, control over their experiences, and ultimately conversion for trip-planning and visitation. Additionally, SkyNav™ totally distinguishes itself by being WebVR-ready, the first of its kind in the WebVR industry.
One of the biggest advantages of the Wilmington and Beaches SkyNav™ tour is there is nothing to download – no app is required, so users can just click and go. The tour has ten VR windows that enable anyone with an iOS or Android device to instantly go into VR mode without an app. Once in VR mode, the visitor can simply slide their mobile device into any VR cardboard, Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR headset to experience the area in VR, like never before.
The Wilmington and Beaches CMS/Website
The CVB and its content management system [CMS] product team built a brand new “hybrid CMS” website from the ground up. Utilizing open source solutions coupled with tried and true industry tools, the new website launched in February 2017 and features a responsive and modern design, refreshed content, real-time feedback page editing, maps, multimedia galleries, user generated content tool, promotional widgets, Geo triggers, special alerts and more.
To further enhance the online user experience, the CVB partnered with SISDigital, a full-service Wilmington, N.C.-based digital agency, to add web-based aerial and ground 360°and virtual reality tours to the destination website offerings. The tour is designed to showcase main town areas and things to do, as well as incorporate the destination’s tourism videos, photos and other digital assets into a centralized area. The CVB will also be launching a SkyNav™ tour for meeting and event planners to give them a firsthand experience and tour of facilities and venues. For more information about SISDigital and SkyNav™, visit skynav360.com.
To immerse yourself in the Wilmington and Beaches’ exciting new SkyNav™ WebVR tours, visit 360.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/
The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority d/b/a Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization of New Hanover County which stimulates economic development through the promotion of travel and tourism. For more information, go to WilmingtonAndBeaches.com. You can also find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CapeFearCoastNC and Twitter and Instagram, @WilmingtoNCoast.