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Wilmington and Beaches CVB Launches Second SkyNav™ 3D Interactive Tour

Wilmington, N.C. – December 4, 2017 – The Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau [CVB] is pleased to announce the launch of its SkyNav™ Convention District Tour. The first of its kind in the country for the meetings and conventions industry, the tour features ground 360° panoramas that take planners inside the Wilmington Convention Center. Other meeting facilities and event venues in the Convention District are included via information beacons that feature images, videos and more for planners.

This is the second SkyNav™ tour launched by the CVB in 2017. In the spring the CVB became the first-ever Destination Marketing Organization [DMO] in the nation to incorporate SkyNav™ 3D interactive tour technology via its official tourism website, WilmingtonAndBeaches.com. In September, the CVB received a Platinum Best Destination Marketing Achievement award for its SkyNav™ Destination Tour from the Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina (DMANC) during the annual North Carolina Tourism Leadership Conference. Elements of the SkyNav™ 3D Destination Tour include 13 aerial and 14 ground 360° panoramas, as well as dozens of information beacons and videos that encompass the entire destination from Wilmington to each of our three beaches.

“Consumer interest in virtual reality ranks very high and it’s where the tourism industry is headed,” said Ms. Shawn Braden (CDME, CMP), Executive Vice President of Marketing for the Wilmington and Beaches CVB. “We are excited to be the first to allow leisure travelers and meeting planners to experience our destination through the power of this exciting, innovative technology by simply clicking for immediate access to high quality panoramic views.”

For meeting planners, SkyNav™ will function as the Wilmington and Beaches CVB’s virtual reality site inspection. Members of the sales team can use it in tradeshow booths or during individual appointments. They can pull it up on their iPads or view it through VR mode on their mobile phones. They will also have VR cardboard headsets available at tradeshow booths for anyone who wants to experience the tour on a deeper level.

Already meeting planners are sharing the SkyNav™ Convention District Tour as a resource for attendees prior to registration to help give them understanding of all there is to see and do in the Wilmington area, should they want to plan pre- and post-vacation trips for their families. Mandy Lowe, CMP, CMM | Vice President of Member Engagement with the NC Realtors® Association, is among the first planners to use this new tool and finds it to be “extremely valuable to preview the Wilmington experience for future visitors, particularly from an event planning perspective. It’s interactive, engaging, and responsive, providing a sneak peek of multiple venues and their proximity to downtown Wilmington’s beautiful waterfront features.”

The launch of the SkyNav™ Convention District Tour coincides with the late 2017 opening of the Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront Hotel and recent announcements of future hotel properties planned for the Convention District. According to John Sneed, the CVB’s vice-president of sales and services, the addition of new rooms within walking distance of the Wilmington Convention Center is opening the door to new groups that were hesitant to book in the past. Sneed cites the NC Realtors® annual XCHANGE Convention & Expo as a perfect example, an event that is expected to bring 900+ attendees to Wilmington.

“I started working with the NC Realtors® on July 1, 2009—my first day of employment with the Wilmington and Beaches CVB—and finally booked their annual convention on August 3, 2017. It took 2,956 days, by far the longest ever in my career,” said Sneed. “The group really wanted to meet here but we were unable to secure a room block configuration that the group’s board of directors would accept. With the room block offered by the new Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront Hotel, we finally pulled it together.”

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 planners to become immersed into “experiences” that drastically increase time on the site, user excitement, control over their experiences, and ultimately conversion for site selection evaluation. To immerse yourself in Wilmington’s new SkyNav™ Convention District Tour, visit 360.WilmingtonConventionDistrict.com.

Future plans include the addition of 360° live videos that allow users to hear and see “live” movement and sounds, all through 360° movement. This will add a deeper, more immersive layer of experience into the SkyNav™ 3D tour. 

About SkyNav™ Tour Technology
SkyNav™ totally distinguishes itself by being a web-based, next generation immersive experience that allows meeting planners to engage with the destination without an exclusive delivery device or downloadable app. Users 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 planners to experience areas in a 3D environment on desktop, mobile or tablet (iOS and Android), but also allows them to view these scenes in VR without a downloadable application. To immerse yourself in the Wilmington and Beaches SkyNav™ Destination Tour, visit 360.WilmingtonAndBeaches.com.

About Wilmington’s Convention District
Wilmington’s multiuse Convention District is located riverfront and within the city’s walkable River District – all connected by a nearly two-mile scenic Riverwalk that makes it easy for attendees to get around. The Convention District integrates the Wilmington Convention Center – the largest convention center on the N.C. coast – with the city and its businesses, experts and academic resources. It is currently home to multiple hotels, restaurants and retail, with more under development, plus an event pier, marina and riverfront park, all of which come together to create a campus-like environment for meeting and event attendees. For more information about Wilmington’s new Convention District, visit wilmingtonandbeaches.com/groups-and-meetings/convention-district.

About the Wilmington and Beaches CVB
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.

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