NC – May 2017 / Newsmaker Alert / 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
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.
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
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
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,
and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau