The use of VR allows those looking for the perfect getaway an immersive sampling before they open their wallets.
Virtual reality and 360-degree videos are proving to not just be entertainment but also learning tools, therapy tools, and marketing tools. From exposure therapy for people with post-traumatic stress disorder to touring the White House, there is a VR experience for everyone.
It’s no surprise, then, that some of the most beautiful travel destinations on Earth use VR to showcase their attractions for the 360-degree experience. Destination BC, the travel bureau for the scenic Canadian province of British Columbia, was one of the first travel/tourism companies in the world to use 360-degree immersion videos, recognizing early on what a great fit they made for marketing.
“Virtual reality and immersive 360-degree video are important new platforms for tourism organizations to bring destinations to life and market travel experiences in an immersive way,” says Marsha Walden, president and CEO of Destination BC.
That immersion was brilliantly captured in 2015 with its first two VR 360-degree videos, The Wild Within 360-degree Hiking and The Wild Within 360-degree Wildlife, a video shot in the Great Bear Rainforest.
“Travel trade and travel media are increasingly competitive sales channels, with emerging and established destinations vying for representation and coverage, and these technologies gain an edge, allowing viewers to feel what traveling in British Columbia is like,” says Walden. “Videos are an important part of destination marketing; while TV commercials and traditional online video provide viewers with a ‘one point of view’ window into a destination, this technology provides 360-degree points of view.”
Their most recent video, The Winter Within, takes viewers on the one of B.C.’s most famous resorts, Whistler Blackcomb. The video was shot using two six-camera rigs, one loaded with GoPro Hero 4s and the other packed with GoPro Hero 3+ Blacks. Also in the mix were a Kodak PixPro SP360 4K and a Freefly Alta 6 drone, which caught guest appearances from the infamously friendly Whisky Jack birds.
“The video has been well received with both media and consumers alike,” says Walden. “This video gives travelers a ‘360-degree’ immersive taste of the best skiing in the world, here in B.C. We’ll have their appetite for the real experience.”