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360° & VR – Revolutionizing the Travel and Leisure Industry

“You have to see it to believe it!”

This common expression highlights an issue that has always been present in travel and leisure marketing: try as we might, it’s difficult to get a person to fully understand how superb a vacation will be — until they experience it. People are happy to pay for their new and exciting experiences. So to sell, we must tell a beautiful story – a story in which the customer can easily paint him or herself.

However, telling that story in a way that is easily received is not easy. Those who plan to travel must spend a great deal of time researching a new vacation experience. They likely start with a Google search, look at photos, take a peek at a few social media websites for reviews, download a brochure or two, and view all the videos they can find. It takes considerable work on their part to get the big picture, and to make up their mind that this is the location they want to visit – this is the experience they want to have.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Using cutting-edge SkyNAV™ technology, travelers can immerse themselves in a unique and fun preview experience – with multiple senses, capturing and keeping their full attention.

SkyNAV™ technology allows the traveler to experience the destination as if they were actually there, incorporating the following features in one easy-to-use format that can be used on any device – not just VR goggles:

  • 3D images
  • 360° videos
  • Sky-to-ground views
  • Interactive maps
  • Videos
  • Web VR (requires no downloadable app)
  • Interactive maps
  • Location-based shopping

Is VR a passing fad, or something worth investing in to promote travel and leisure? Here are some quick numbers and estimates to think about:

  • Augmented Reality (AR) and VR grew 25.5% in Quarter 2 of 2017, with 2.1 million orders
  • The International Data Corporation predicts a growth to 100 million VR units by 2021
  • The current amount of VR devices (excluding Google’s Cardboard) is about 10 million
  • Market leaders in VR are currently Samsung, Sony and Facebook, with 60% combined market share.

SkyNAV’s™ virtual reality (VR) technology is growing quickly in the travel and leisure industry – immersive marketing is becoming a necessity. Once you take look for yourself, you’ll see why.

The SkyNAV™ Experience in Action

The Wilmington, NC Convention and Visitors Bureau recently took advantage of SkyNAV™ technology to promote its Convention District. Now, meeting planners who may be considering Wilmington as a convention location are able to immerse themselves in an experience of flying over then touring the Wilmington Convention District, including:

  • 13 aerial 360° views of the city (including Wilmington and its surrounding beach communities)
  • 14 ground 360° views within in the city (including Wilmington and its surrounding beach communities)
  • 54 information beacons that give more detail on points of interest
  • 32 videos
  • 20+ hotspots, text, images, or click-thrus to partner websites
  • 10 virtual reality windows

Shawn Braden, Executive VP of Marketing for the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau, is enthusiastic about this new technology and what immersive marketing will mean for the area. “Consumer interest in virtual reality ranks very high in the categories of travel, tourism and adventures. Projected virtual reality active-user growth is expected to rise exponentially over the next three years – it is where the industry is headed. We are excited to be the first to allow planners to experience our destination through the power of this exciting, innovative technology by simply clicking for immediate access to high quality panoramic views.” View a few CVB examples here.

Does VR Technology Motivate Users to Purchase?

An important question remains: SkyNAV™ and other web VR technology may be interesting and fun, but does immersive marketing successfully motivate users to purchase an experience? Simply put, the answer is yes.

  • 51% of adults found VR appealing for researching travel.
  • 360° photos perform 45% better than conventional pictures.
  • 29% more people viewed a 360° video than the same video in a traditional format.
  • Users spent an average of 25 minutes longer on a SkyNAV™ tour than on any other page on the website.

North Carolina’s St. James Plantation, an upscale coastal community, used SkyNAV™ technology to introduce online visitors to its amenities and experiences. Dan Kingsbury, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for St.James Plantation confirms that SkyNAV™ has been a smashing success for his team. “We have more showings booked as a result of SkyNAV™, and it’s only been live for 4 weeks,” he says.

How Can You Implement SkyNAV™ to Increase Bookings and Sales?

With immersive VR technology, you can use many different tactics to promote, incentivize, and intrigue your audience… all with increased bookings and sales as the result. Here are just a few ways this can be done.

  1. Take a step inside: One of the most captivating features of SkyNAV™ is the integration of 360° views: not just aerial, but exterior ground, and indoor tours. You can even add audio to make the experience multi-sensory. Your prospective customer will not have to imagine: they will be immersed in the experience.
  2. Remarketing: Once your viewer has become captivated, it’s time to throw out a little incentive to motivate them. “Like what you see? Book now and dinner’s on us!”
  3. Direct Sales: At the end of the VR tour, invite the viewer to make a reservation. Offer an upgrade or a small discount as added incentive.
  4. Gamification Incentives: During the VR tour, your viewer unlocks an ‘easter egg’, which gives them a prize to claim: free passes to the local amusement park, breakfast on the balcony, VIP passes … you get the idea.
  5. Content Marketing: The imagery from a SkyNAV™ tour can be used on every medium you can imagine. Use 360° images on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Share videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Use images on websites and other digital marketing. That’s just the beginning of what you can do.

There is no doubt about it … SkyNAV™ is the ultimate shift in the immersive marketing experience for travelers. Make it yours and benefit from this one-of-a-kind user experience that is guaranteed to convert viewers into customers. We are fully FAA (part 107) certified, and NCDOT approved. Reach out to us to find out how your organization will benefit from SkyNAV™.


Fly into the ultimate travel guide that connects visitors with their next vacation destination using immersive virtual reality experiences.


Travel + Leisure Experience Marketing eBook

With our own proprietary service SkyNav™, we’re taking virtual reality and experience marketing to the next level for destination marketing with sky to ground 360° 3D tours that are incredibly immersive and VR ready for your potential travelers.


In this free eBook you’ll find:

  1. The future of destination marketing.
  2. The “Shift” in a travelers experience, pathway to “booking”.
  3. No barriers for potential travelers to experience VR.
  4. SkyNav™ case study of a North Carolina CVB.


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