Visit St Petersburg /Clearwater’s 3D Tour Explores Beaches & Culture
Travelers looking to soak up the area’s award-winning beaches and world-class museums can get a high-tech preview from the comforts of their home.
Among the first U.S. destinations to employ this technology, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) has launched a 3-D “Two Treasures Tour” -a cutting-edge Augmented Reality (AR) experience – that allows the user to interact with the area’s natural and cultural highlights.
By simply placing a printed “marker” in front of a computer webcam, visitors are now able to take an interactive 3-D tour, exploring the area’s world-class beaches (Clearwater Beach, Caladesi Island State Park and Fort De Soto Park) and two of downtown St. Pete’s most prominent arts destinations (the new Dali Museum and the Chihuly Collection – Morean Arts Center).
Each stop includes clickable icons that feature boxes with fun facts, travel tips, images and links for more information. Destinations outlined on a nearby sign post provide the user with a road map as they navigate through the sights.
San Antonio’s community-wide digital marketing
San Antonio is expanding its arsenal of digital marketing tools to better lure visitors to the Alamo City.
City officials and businesses are using services such as quick response codes, the funky, futuristic squares better known as QR codes, social media sites and mobile phone-based apps to draw traffic, build customer loyalty for repeat visitors, and help track tourism activity. And compared with other popular destinations, San Antonio is using those tools effectively to develop the city’s online presence.
Sandy Smith, director of marketing for San Antonio’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the city hopes to reach increasingly Web-savvy consumers who are using the Web to plan and share their vacation experiences. “It takes many different messages and points of contact to really get people to take an action,” Smith said. “We want to make sure San Antonio is top of everyone’s mind and create a lot of buzz and engagement.”
Incorporating new technology along the famed River Walk, the city launched a self-guided tour this spring called the Historic Hugman River Walk Tour. Interpretive signs with scannable QR codes dot the River Walk’s pathways, beckoning travelers to access the tour using smartphones and tablet computers.
Barcodes have been sprouting up around bigger cities including New York and Los Angeles at landmarks and parks. San Antonio’s use of the codes along the River Walk will help officials learn how frequently people actually stop to participate in the tour. Since the tour was made available in May, it has been accessed via QR code by about 2,000 unique visitors, city officials said.
Local businesses also are embracing technology to attract more customers. A new, free app aims to bring traffic to the Southtown area, which is not frequented as much by tourists as the popular River Walk. The app developer, Broussard, who runs a downtown bicycle advertising company said he worked with 16 participating Southtown businesses to create the app, which shows upcoming events, deals, tour information and happy hour specials. “I’ve got a lot of clients down there, and that’s how this app developed,” Broussard said. “Rather than having each individual business (make their own app) it makes sense to pool your resources and pool your dollars into something that benefits the entire community.”
Individually, many downtown businesses promote their businesses by offering discounts through social media and location-based services. “Essentially, you’re turning a local community into a marketing team,” Joyce said. “I think a lot of organizations forget that their local communities have very strong feelings about where they live, and they can use that by engaging them first and then having them bring friends and relatives into the mix.”
Focus on Experiences: Valencia launches insiders’ travel guide
The Spanish Tourist Board and responsibletravel.com have created a brand-new insiders’ travel guide to Valencia in Spain. Focusing on the local, authentic experiences on offer and packed with tips from locals, it includes information on places to stay, activities, beaches, festivals, food and drink, culture as well as a host of holiday options.
The guide, with podcasts of people living and working in the three provinces, from top restaurant owners to winemakers and small tourist operators, will give insider advice on the diversity of activity holidays on offer, from rock climbing and sailing to walking and cycling.
It will also detail the large spectrum of places to stay, which range from luxurious casas rurales – carefully restored country houses with every creature comfort – to small cottages in ancient villages, or family run hotels in their own grounds, which provide excellent cuisine made from locally grown produce.
It describes the wide variety of places to go, from the busy beaches of the coastal resorts to quiet, tranquil coves hidden beneath cliffs, from the high Sierra where you can walk for hours without meeting a soul, to the deep limestone canyons of the interior.
Last but not least the guide will inform visitors about the best times to visit the region, from the spring – when the mountains, wetlands and the sierra are alive with bird song and bright with wild flowers – to the quiet days of autumn and winter when the sun still shines, the sea is still warm enough for a swim and when the deserted beaches are the ideal place for a stroll. It aims to inspire travellers to visit the three provinces, to meet its friendly, vital inhabitants and to really get under the skin of the destination.