Creative Ways CVBs are Using Virtual Experiences to Promote Their Destinations
While social distancing has taken hold throughout the world, many convention and visitors bureaus are innovating amongst the current crisis to continue to (tactfully) spread messages about their destinations. Across North America, CVBs and DMOs far and wide are shifting to digital to bring the best of their destinations to homebound audiences via virtual tours, live-streaming experiences, online classes and interactive content, as well as deliver encouraging messages of hope and reassurance. Check out some of the most creative offerings.
Scottsdale’s CVB offers an entire webpage devoted to a library of immersive videos designed to give prospective visitors a hearty sampling of all that the Sonoran desert city has to offer. Check out Old Town Scottsdale, “tee up” at one of its top golf courses, mountain bike through the desert, discover the city’s vibrant culinary scene or stroll through the city’s oldest church.
Having a strong digital presence is nothing new for Atlantic City’s CVB. Over the past several years, the CVB has been growing its portfolio of online assets and relevant content for those unable to visit the destination in person, including an Experience Atlantic City 360 virtual reality tour, a meeting planner guide, a convention services kit, a convention center event planning guide and a strong presence on social media. Its latest addition is #StrongerTogether in Atlantic City, a heartfelt video expressing solidarity and support for the event and travel industry during this challenging time.
Those sheltering-in-place can still connect with the Windy City through its vast library of virtual offerings. Roam the halls of many of Chicago’s myriad museums, take a video tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio, visit the Lincoln Park Zoo or check out Shedd Aquarium’s Underwater Beauty live cam, enjoy free recipes from Chicago’s renowned chefs and take in a live-streamed theatrical production — to name just a few of the CVB’s extensive virtual offerings.
Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp
Music City’s CVB has released new virtual attractions and events including cooking classes from popular local chefs; tours of historical sites; art history courses through the Frist Art Museum, and live-streamed music concerts, including from The Grand Ole Opry. For families with young children, “Goodnight with Dolly” is a weekly YouTube bedtime story series featuring Dolly Parton reading aloud a children’s book from her Imagination Library project.
For restless, homebound souls, Explore Asheville has curated a range of virtual escapes from the current reality, including interactive virtual tours of more than 20 area hikes and destinations, a 360 virtual tour of George W. Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate and an interactive “Explorers of the Blue Ridge Parkway” guide. Try free yoga and meditation classes set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, take a wellness or an art gallery tour, or listen to an Asheville Symphony Sessions collaboration with local musicians and bands.
In early April, VISIT Milwaukee launched a special video put together by staff to send a message of hope and solidarity to its clients, partners and community. This complements the CVB’s #GoodThingsBrewing in Milwaukee page, which features stories of Milwaukee residents coming together to support local businesses and each other during the pandemic.
The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau has launched Philadelphia From Home, a webpage designed to introduce potential visitors to the city’s many arts and cultural attractions, restaurants and musical offerings. Check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art collection, get a 360-degree virtual tour of the Betsy Ross House, explore the Eastern State Penitentiary, take in a concert by The Philadelphia Orchestra, listen to the CVB’s custom Spotify playlist or try recreating the city’s iconic cheesesteak recipe in your own kitchen.
Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
Even though the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau launched 360ATL, its suite of online virtual reality tour products for event planners, almost four years ago, the need for this content couldn’t be more current. Check out the city’s walkable downtown convention and entertainment district, which includes the Georgia World Congress Center, Centennial Olympic Park, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, hotels, restaurants and attractions, or get a more expansive view of the destination by exploring the Midtown, Buckhead, Eastside and Westside neighborhoods. To complement the virtual tours, ACVB also offers an online venue catalog of more than 300 restaurants, facilities and attractions that can double as event spaces.
Tourism Vancouver unveiled #VirtuallyVancouver, an eclectic mix of the British Columbia city’s best travel-worthy experiences. Digital goodies include a 360-degree Vancouver Virtual Reality Tour, free fitness and Tai Chi classes, cooking and art tutorials, live penguin and otter webcams at the Vancouver Aquarium, a virtual cherry blossom tree walk, art gallery exhibitions and a free Cirque du Soleil performance.
To provide future travel inspiration post-pandemic, Pure Michigan unveiled its #VirtualPureMichigan campaign, which allows visitors to explore the state’s outdoor and cultural attractions from home. Highlights include live beach and nature cams, like a bird’s eye view of the Straits of Mackinac from atop the Mackinac Bridge, live-streaming of the recent Ann Arbor Film Festival, museum tours and sounds of Michigan State Parks as interpreted by Michigan artists with Pure Sounds of Michigan.
For the couch-bound, Visit Orlando has created Orlando Virtual Tours, which feature more than 20 virtual family-friendly experiences. Offerings include theme park rides at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, animal interactions at SeaWorld Orlando and other local zoos, and arts and culture offerings, as well as Facebook Live broadcasts, live streaming of popular films and YouTube videos.
Armchair travelers can now soak up some digital Vitamin D by virtually exploring the Sunshine State’s 825 miles of beaches via the Florida Beach Finder. Featuring 360-degree images captured by Google Street View Trekker technology, the platform delivers an immersive virtual experience that allows users to choose their favorite seaside locales, including Miami Beach, Boca Raton and Naples. Users can then “drop-in” to their favorite beach by opting for Street View, which allows them to look around and explore.