The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau is a lot more than a pretty Instagram feed. Think of the organization like the marketing arm for the entire city, with the goal of bringing in conventions, conferences, and tourists to experience what Atlanta is like for themselves, spread the word about the city, and of course, spend their dollars at local businesses.
But to attract folks, they need assets — facts and figures sure, but also visuals. And what better way to help visitors picture ATL as their next destination than to virtually take them there by using the immersive technologies of VR and 360 video?
With skilled technologists and a host of local photographers, the ACVB created 360ATL, a series of 360 video tours of some of Atlanta’s most popular neighborhoods. The tool launched last summer with just one tour, but since then the team has worked hard to add assets. Now, six neighborhood “itineraries” are available on the ACVB website — from anywhere in the world, potential visitors or meeting planners can get a bird’s eye view of Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, the Eastside and Westside. Visitors can also explore Hartsfield-Jackson International, the busiest airport in the world.
Within the interface, one can see markers indicating restaurants, tourist attractions, hotels, and additional neighborhoods to explore. Partners can work with the ACVB to be featured on the platform.
ACVB Executive Vice President and CMO Andrew Wilson said they first realized how useful such a tool would be at the annual meeting of American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) professionals. Conventions and other business meetings bring a sizable chunk of visitors to the city — more than a quarter in 2015. The suite of immersive tools the ACVB built aims to make it as easy as possible for those planners considering Atlanta to make their decision.
Wilson said the ACVB is one of the first tourism organizations in the country utilizing immersive digital experiences in this manner, and likely one that has invested the most resources in building out this extensive a library of visual assets.
“With these tools, we’re tackling the perception of Atlanta as a concrete jungle,” said Wilson. “In fact we can showcase our trees, green spaces, our very diverse neighborhoods and accessibility.”
360ATL also has an app, available for iOS and Android, that lets users with VR headsets like Google Cardboard even more fully immerse themselves in the video experience.