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McNeil Point Oregon

NW USA, Photography, Travel, USA, Video

I don’t understand why but my favorite shoes have been these adidas skate shoes that I seem to take everywhere. This hike was no exception.  McNeil Point Oregon sits about 2/3rds the way to the top of Mt. Hood. throughout the hike the feeling of constantly being lost was trumped by the scale of the mountain. there was no wrong direction as we reached the snow level that thought process seemed to hold true as the footprints weaved in and out of each other up the side of the ridge. Regardless we pushed on through the snow and up the crumbling rock. Right when the trail seemed to pitter out we pushed through the trees in front only to be spit out on McNeil Point its self.

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Engaging And Converting: A Travel Industry VR Opportunity

Content Creation, Interests, Travel, Travel Industry

I feel obligated to interject that a pair of Google’s vr headset Google Cardboard is only $7.39. Wholesale as low as $0.01 on Alibaba.  all that is needed past that is a phone with an accelerometer (in most smart phones). This creates a travel industry VR opportunity.

Engagement:

Let your customers experience your country, hotel, or restaurant before they book. Experience events or tease them with shows. Let your customer go where they could not go normally.

Talk to your customer in a fully immersed platform with their entire attention devoted to the experience you have to provide. The viewer will be enclosed in your world, remind them to put headphones on and now they have no distractions and you have their full attention. Use it wisely.

Converting

Not only within the VR world but branding on a cardboard form of the goggles as well. Give your customers a physical que of the experience they had in VR. Remind them that it was you that gave them that experience, and entice them to experience it in real life, or share it with friends. Give them a link to purchase during the experience after the experience and on the goggles itself. Remember to hold something back that so they will be craving to know what happens, how it feels in real life, or what is through the next door.

 

This is a new and exciting world. The barrier to entry has dropped dramatically, and the PR accessibility around the subject is at an all time high. If there was ever a time to jump into a new advertising space it would be now.

 

5 Vitral Tips For tourism industry video content

Affordable Mobile Virtual Reality ($8.99)

Content Creation, Travel, Travel Industry

Facebook’s $1,200.00 VR

Within the VR world there has been multiple competitors but none that stands out more than Oculus. The technological progression for Oculus is towards full body interaction instead of mind games. The idea of mixing interactive products like the Wii and Oculus is on the forefront of game development. Acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion Zuckerberg turns his sights to virtual reality and he may have the right Idea.

“After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.” – Zuckerberg

A Brief History Of VR

The basic concept of stereoscopic images used in VR is not new however. The stereoscope was developed in 1836 to produce portable 3D images. This delighted people all over the world letting them escape to far off destinations through this experience. Even as early as 1936 a patent was granted to use the technique for film and television. So why then has this become a phenomenon in the present day?

Google’s Affordable Virtual Reality

The idea of two images displayed to create a 3D environment is basic, and even the idea of looking around an environment with a responsive screen is a simple concept. Why the $350 price tag for Oculus? Facebook’s rival Google thought the same thing. Why is there such a barrier to entry when most all of the functions of the Oculus headset can be conducted on a phone. Early in 2015 Google took a jab at creating their low cost VR headset, Google Cardboard.

I bought one for $8.99 from amazon and within minutes after receiving my goggles I was exploring apps. There is a limited number of apps presently. The most notable mentions include Hyundai’s VR and VRSE. I can tell you now that VRSE was a truly immersive dream. It physically gave me chills. Both apps are free and highly recommended.

 

Google’s introduction of the $7.39 headset brakes down the barriers to this technology. Specifically for the Travel industry. There are considerable opportunities. For travel industry marketers check out Engaging And Converting A Travel Industry VR Opportunity.

 

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What To Do When It Rains In Oregon

NW USA, Travel, USA

Go Outside – Horsetail Falls

There is only so much time I can stay inside during the rainy season in Oregon. It seems to go on forever and there is only so much entertainment I can get from sipping coffee, reading, and watching movies. I get antsy. What To Do When It Rains In Oregon?

Today seemed like it was the breaking point. Kelsey and I grabbed our rain coats and jumped in the truck with the conclusion that we would go to the closest, mind-blowing natural formations we could find. 20 minutes later, we were at the base of the Horsetail Falls trail.

Horsetail falls 2015

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Horsetail falls 2015

Horsetail falls 2015

The hike was wet. And by that I mean so wet that the ground could not even keep up. We found ourselves traversing washed out trails and damaged bridges. We hiked along three hundred foot slippery-as-hell cliffs that plunged into icy cold shallow pools. This also meant, however, that the scenery was astounding.

Horsetail falls 2015

Horsetail falls 2015

Horsetail falls 2015

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Horsetail falls 2015

Horsetail falls 2015

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Horsetail Falls itself cascades over the trail. Hikers are able to walk behind the powerful falls and escape the downpour of the rain. From behind the falls we were able to look out over the Columbia River Gorge, mostly filled with clouds at this point.

Horsetail falls 2015

Horsetail falls 2015

Horsetail falls 2015

The hike is a little over 3.5 miles, good for an afternoon with only a couple of hours to spare.  And don’t be mad of you get muddy, it is a rainy day in Oregon after all.

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pros cons opportunities

Pros and Cons GoPro and Marriott

Content Creation, Travel, Travel Industry

Lets back up a bit. GoPro has built a reputation off of a unique style of camera, capturing some of the most amazing moments with some of the most unique angles. The classic GoPro lens distortion is synonymous with the brand, sparking brand recognition without even seeing the product. The best part about their brand though, is that people share the content they create with these cameras.

So where does this all fit in with the travel industry? Why has Marriott invested so much in loaning GoPro cameras to its guests? Check out some of the pros and cons and decide for yourself if it was the right decision. The Pros and Cons GoPro and Marriott:

 

Pros

1) Most Viewed Travel Content

In a 2014 recap, Google analyzed travel videos on YouTube. The biggest factor? People were watching travel and tour footage from normal people. They were not just watching it either, but participating as well. In an industry that is trying to communicate and build a connection with its customer this content is vital. The GoPro program will help to encourage customers to record their adventures and hopefully share them later.

2) Great Video Quality

When a guest uses a GoPro, they have already invested in creating a better video than what they would produce on their phone. It forces the user to shoot in a landscape format instead of a common portrait format that is synonymous with bad cellphone footage.

3) Durability

Not only is the footage a higher caliber, but the content can be as well. With a bit of encouragement by the front desk, the guest should feel comfortable taking the camera anywhere. Underwater, skydiving, even a bar or nightclub. The camera was built to capture angles that previously were impossible or extremely expensive.

 

Cons

1) Usage barrier to entry

Although simple on the outside, the camera does produce multiple file formats. This can be a frustrating experience for a guest when they go to upload the video and had been filming enormous 4k files. Not to mention they are on vacation or busy on a business trip, likely  trying to just relax instead of figuring out new technology on their down time.

2) Editing

Although increasing in accessibility, there is still a time-consuming learning curve for using editing software. Building an engaging montage of a guests experience may be either a long delayed process or a project that never sees the light of day.

3) Sharing

Unlike a simple selfie, taking videos or photos with a GoPro still requires exporting from the camera to a phone or computer. This may be one step too many, and a potential determinant over whether the content is shared or not.

The Opportunity

As a videographer and editor, I believe there is an opening to invest a little into the service, beyond just providing the camera. Edit the footage for the guests into something they are proud to share. Or create a simple shot worksheet or checklist to help the customer get the most out of using the camera. When the goal is to have the customer share their experience with others, they should be proud of the content they share.

Within Skift’s review of Marriotts program, it mentions other social campaigns like the 1888 Hotel in Sydny. Although successful, the campaign focused on simple selfie sharing. The added benefit of the loaned GoPro is that it can be taken anywhere at a destination without worry of destroying it, all while capturing every experience in broadcast quality.

Supplying GoPro’s is a great idea and an excellent response to Google’s findings, but at the end of the day it will be the customer’s choice to post or not and eliminating the barriers is a large part of that decision.

Sorces:
Skift Article: http://skift.com/2015/02/04/marriott-hands-out-gopro-cameras-as-hotels-try-to-encourage-social-posts/

Google’s Article: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/travel-content-takes-off-on-youtube.html

5 Vitral Tips For tourism industry video content

5 Vital Tips For Tourism Industry Video Content

Content Creation, Travel, Travel Industry

In 2014, Google conducted a study in association with Ipsos MediaCT to break down the use of video in the travel industry.

 

“2 out of 3 US consumers watch online travel videos when they are thinking about taking a trip.” – (Google Via Ipsos MediaCT)

 

The study brought to light many interesting findings. We have taken the time to narrow it down into the top 5 that your travel business should be focused on.

 

1) People search for destinations on YouTube and for specific brands on Google.

 So what does this mean for you? When creating content for the web, be sure to include the area and activities your product or service resides in, particularly in video. Partnerships should be a large part of this. What brands can you involve that would also benefit from your media activities? The involvement of other businesses expands your reach to their networks as well.

 

2) Who is your traveler?

 It makes a difference when deciding the content to produce. Travelers 25-64 make up a large portion of people looking for travel/tour footage and official branded channels. Providing the best content for this group consists of a more professional look and feel, showing the main tourist attractions, accommodations, and services.

Adversely, Travelers 18-24 are looking for a more personal connection through the activities of a travel blogger. Content for this market should be inspiring and through the activities of one person that is experiencing all that the destination, accommodation, or service has to offer. They want a more human, unpolished connection.

 

3) What else are your customers interested in?

It is not all about the destination. Travel enthusiasts are:

18x more likely to watch videos on restaurants

10x more likely to watch videos on spas and beauty services

5x more likely to watch videos on finance, extreme sports, food and drink.

Do not overlook this. In your content speak to some of these activities. If you are a hotel, highlight restaurants and spa’s close by to your establishment. Speak to the economics of staying at your hotel due to the proximity.

 

4) Look for Subscribers, Not Views

 Many travelers are looking for connections to what they view, and the best metric for this is through subscriptions. This says that your content has resonated so much with them that they are waiting for more. Not to mention the retention rate of a subscriber watching a video is 86% longer. How do you get more subscribers? Build content that becomes episodic, build anticipation for the next video, create storylines that progress through videos, and be consistent. Don’t be afraid to ask for your viewer to subscribe!

 

5) Invite engagement

 No matter what you are selling, you are also selling an experience. Video in particular provides a close human interaction with its viewers. Invite viewers to participate in conversations or ask questions. Respond in both comments and in newer videos. This will provide a strong connection with your audience who now see you as not only an amazing destination but an inviting and obtainable one as well.

Video can be one of the most beneficial aspects of your marketing plan, but if poorly executed, will float around aimlessly on the internet. If you follow the 5 suggestions above, you will no doubt be happy with the results.

 

Sources:

Think With Google: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/travel-content-takes-off-on-youtube.html

Tnooz:

http://www.tnooz.com/article/google-research-travel-marketers-traveler-shopping-behavior/

 

 

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Out past a tourist trap town, what would you find?

NW USA, Travel, USA

Sisters, Oregon, a place I had grown to know for its random western charm and unavoidable 20mph speed limit. This small town is home to the biggest quilt festival and home to our Airbnb for the weekend. On our arrival, it seemed as touristy as ever, with scenes of wide-eyed middle-aged mothers dragging their phone-attached entourage into yet another faux western store on every corner.

As Siri directed us through town, it was only a matter of time before we realized that the place we had booked was “off-the-beaten-path” to say the least. Passing the last kitschy storefront, we continued into the suburbs that quickly gave way to forest and, without much notice, an unpaved road.

The red rock gravel road slowed us to a break neck speed of 15 mph. It was several miles before a small house caught my eye as we passed under a large gateway of treated logs. Two dogs ran up to the car from both directions, and then we saw the main house.

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Are you into hiking? The house butts up next to miles of nature preserve. What about rock climbing? The house was accompanied by a small climbing pillar set for multiple levels of skill. A relaxing book more your cup of tea? The house was 15 meters from a cliffside overlooking a valley with only the sound of birds and the faint trickle of the river below.

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Most importantly, there is the hot tub. As night fell we were able to soak and look up to see the stars, many of which had been forgotten, suffocated into obscurity by the city’s fast burning glow. From the speed limit to the quiet of the forested abode, we were forced to physically and mentally slow down; an abrupt but welcomed state of relaxation.

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If you are in the area of Sisters, Oregon, this is a place where you can be certain to escape. Be aware, however, that the owner is allergic to any synthetic smells. You are not allowed to have any perfumes, detergents, deodorants inside the house. She is a wonderful woman — warm, welcoming and wildly enthusiastic about the area, so please adhere to her small request. Click here for the Airbnb Listing and more photos!

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Champoeg State Park Rickety Bike Ride

NW USA, Travel, USA

If you know me, you know that I am an active gentleman of many active interests. I do not commit fully to one but instead spread my skills around to a variety of vocations…. basically, I have too many hobbies and not enough money to get the top notch equipment. I think that always brings more to the adventure. “Will I make it all the way?” is not only just about personal stamina but about resourcefulness and mechanical skill. Problem solving is of the utmost importance.

Luckily for Kelsey and I, the bike held up despite the obvious signs of self destruction. Not much more to say than that a beautiful bike ride was had by all and we were only almost run off of the road on a couple of occasions.

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Road Trip! California From Some Time Before

Travel, USA

The wind from the beach was constantly playing with our hair as we drove away from the bay area in California. Our exploration was not experienced merrily through the bug splattered windshield but by various stops with a short walk, some stretching and the inevitable curiosity getting the better of us. The timeline was not an issue and what else should one be doing on a road trip?

 

 

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