New 3-D Virtual Tour Touts Beaches, Culture

Augmented Reality, Quick Response codes highlight cutting-edge consumer outreach

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

St. Pete/Clearwater, FL (March 15, 2011) - Beginning this week, travelers looking to soak up the award-winning beaches and world-class museums of the St. Pete/Clearwater area can get a high-tech preview from the comforts of their home. 

Among the first U.S. destination marketers to employ this technology, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) has launched its new 3-D "Two Treasures Tour"---a cutting-edge Augmented Reality (AR) experience (pictured above left) 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 and Fort De Soto Park) and two of downtown St. Pete's most prominent arts destinations (the Dali Museum and the Chihuly Collection).

"With the vast majority of travelers researching potential vacation spots online, we wanted to offer them something to augment that experience and make it more enjoyable," said Executive Director DT Minich. "This new, interactive approach complements both our Web site and our printed Visitor Guide, and it's definitely a unique way to promote the area."

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.

For a full demonstration of the tour, visit VSPC's YouTube Channel.

Adorned with a silhouette of an iconic palm tree, the printed markers for the AR experience are included as inserts in VSPC's new Visitor Guide (which can be ordered here). They can also be downloaded and printed out at home here.

The all-new Visitor Guide also includes a series of Quick Response (QR) codes----barcode-like images that drive mobile users straight to enhanced online content such as videos and articles about the destination. These codes also appear in advertisements for hotels and attractions, allowing readers to access advertisers' Web sites without having to type in a URL. 

The QR code technology was the cornerstone of February's co-branded St. Pete-Clearwater/JetBlue sweepstakes in New York City, which drew visitors to a special landing page where they could enter to win weekly drawings for vacation packages. VSPC hit the streets of NYC---and what's beneath them---to promote the contest and deliver sunny salutations via ads on double-decker buses, inside subways, in newspapers and on flat-panel monitors inside office building elevators.

More than 25,000 entries were received, with many people accessing the page though mobile QR codes located in branded train cars (pictured above right) and in AM New York, the city's free daily newspaper.

VSPC will continue its consumer outreach later this year with the multi-medium "100 Days of Summer" campaign. From May 29 through September 5, the promotion will highlight 100 special offers and 100 events, happenings and places to be, spotlighting a different set each day.

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is the destination marketing organization for Pinellas County, Florida. 

Connect with VSPC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

For more information:
Contact: Public Relations Manager Josh Hall:
Phone: 727.464.7223

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