DMOs are partnering with app developers and other third-party web platforms in an effort to increase time on-site and deliver a more experiential user experience with rich media content. For example, Xplorit is a website-integrated multimedia platform that stitches together 360-degree videos so viewers can basically walk through the most popular attractions and hotels in a destination. To date, a range of DMOs such as Discover Los Angeles and Visit Santa Clara have Xplorit embedded in their sites.
“Current DMO website design doesn’t provide much of an experience because it’s often flat and static,” says Greg Murtha, president and CEO of Xplorit. “When you get past the one big photo, you end up with silos and silos of lists, so how do you find content that is relevant and interesting to get people to do a deep dive? Right now, we’re not really catching the user’s imagination.”
On the Visit Santa Clara website, a link on the homepage directs visitors to the full-frame Xplorit video tour that opens with an aerial panorama of the city and an introductory video of the destination. In the main frame, a series of linked beacons hovering over the 3D map direct users to a variety of sites such Levi Stadium, Intel Museum and all of the major hotels. When someone clicks on the Hyatt Regency icon, for example, the viewer is virtually helicoptered down the front of Hyatt’s façade and shuttled into the lobby, while an introductory video of the Hyatt is played in the upper right screen. From there, the virtual experience then offers more beacons toward more tour options of both the hotel and the convention center lobby.
There’s also a sidebar that provides links to all of the videos used in the destination tour, traffic cams, Google Maps and document downloads.
“Traditional video is linear and you can’t interact with it,” says Murtha. “We call this experiential multimedia, or programmatically delivered video. We’re connecting the dots so the viewer has a sense of their geospatial surroundings with different points of view to create a rich visual canvas.”
On the DMO app scene, mTrip is gaining a fair amount of buzz. The winner of Eyefortravel’s Best Mobile Travel Solution Award 2015 and a Phocuswright-recognized Innovator, mTrip has created official DMOs apps for destinations ranging from Aruba to Cape Town.
The app can be used offline to access all of the destination information, including attractions, hotels, restaurants, shopping, tours and entertainment, as well as a range of general info from taxi locations to currency conversion. User can also post reviews offline, which are uploaded when the user is back online, and create a trip journal and personal itinerary that they can share with friends or other people using the app.
“Our goal is to provide a tool to plan a trip, and then use it as a guide during the trip, which you can also use to post reviews,” says Frederic de Pardieu, CEO of Montreal-based mTrip. “We cover a lot of the travel cycle so this really becomes a companion.”