VTour: Engaging multi-media web technology

Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, CA — As average viewer bandwidth increases, the Internet is evolving into a rich media platform. You Tube is the third most visited site on the web and integrated video is quickly becoming the norm. Video content can be both entertaining and informative, but its linear nature offers no interactivity — a key to viewer engagement on the Web. Websites with rich multi-media content serve them up as disparate parts — text and photos on one page, videos on another and 360 images on yet another. Nothing connects the dots or engages the viewers in story-telling narratives. Until now.

VTour is a Truckee-based multi-media web technology that engages viewers in an interactive experience, incorporating a client's existing and new web-assets into a game-like environment. For VTour clients, the average length of engagement is counted in minutes, not clicks. In the schizophrenic world of web search, where users bounce from one page to another, measuring engagement in minutes is almost unheard of. Sierra Nevada College's VTour has an astounding 19 minutes of engagement in their immersive environment. Clients Mammoth Mountain and the Resort at Squaw Creek have tens of thousands of visitors with an average engagement of almost 12 minutes in the VTour environment. For Visit Tahoe City, Angel Fire Resort and the Peppermill Reno, users were engaged for almost seven minutes.

In VTour's self-selected travel environment, users decide where they want to go and what they want to see. Unlike traditional, linear video, VTour's hub and spoke infrastructure empowers the user to move from one 360 hub to another using self selected travel, creating an electronic story book that includes integrated video, audio, 3-D animation, maps, multiple search functionality and links to existing client on-line reservations system for lodging, food and , ticketing and appointments.

Unlike technologies that require multiple clicks to travel short distances or around corners, VTour's fluid transitions convey a sense of actual first-person travel as well as the excitement of skiing, driving, golfing, cycling or flying over a new destination. Their supplemental learning paths further assist visitors with directionally oriented maps, search, and “jump to” navigation functions. The richness and versatility of the VTour experience also makes it an exciting tool for a client who has an educational component to their operation or location, allowing them to take their existing VTour imagery and inexpensively create an educational path for classroom or home-school use.

For cities and resort destinations, VTour can connect different economic entities into large-scale virtual communities with full e-commerce integration. VTour fills a unique void that currently exists in the hospitality industry — the ability to sell assets of the greater community. VTour has the ability to connect complimentary business together in a virtual environment, allowing businesses to leverage the VTour assets of their existing business partners. VTour's modular structure allows for the easy replacement of existing elements, or the addition of new elements, at low cost (especially when compared with traditional video production). This is a distinct advantage in the creation of large-scale community VTours, allowing them to grow “organically” from an initial, skeletal structure. At the same time, each business is able to control their own presence.

Major market segments that are ideal for VTour's multi-media technology include education, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, attraction venues, ski and golf resorts, and visitor and convention bureaus. Visit www.experienceVTour.com.

VTour was developed by First Tracks Publishing, an established publisher of award-winning, high-end regional magazines including Tahoe Quarterly and Tahoe Traveler. For more information contact Greg Murtha at 530-582-9800, ext. 15 or Greg@experienceVTour.com.