Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020 - 20

Tips for Creating
a Successful
Virtual Experience
Virtual tours are here to stay,
says Crystal Washington, a
technology strategist, futurist,
and speaker. Even when ABA
member attractions are fully
open, digital content will help
increase IRL visits, so a little
investment now will result in
greater rewards later.
*	 "Hire a company that produces virtual experiences,"
Washington says. "These
companies already do this
and have the proper equipment. The amount of energy
you spend learning this
technology would be much
more costly in time than if
you hired someone."
*	 Add some magic sauce to
your current marketing strategy by using Facebook Live
to follow one of your guides
as he or she gives a tour of
your attraction.
*	 Include "intermissions"
during your client Zoom
meetings that offer virtual
tours of your attraction.
*	 Prior to a virtual meeting,
mail the participants a
teaser package about your
attraction that says, "Don't
open until the meeting."
During the meeting, have
everyone open the packages
together to reveal an
announcement, upcoming
event, or offer.
*	 Send a thank-you note to
customers who view your
virtual offerings. This follow-​
up can help drive sales.
"The more creative you are, the
more responsive your clients will
be," says Washington.

20

DESTINATIONS

/SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2020

George
Washington's
Mount Vernon
rolled out videos
for anyone to
watch for free.

says. Members of Mount Vernon, however,
had access to exclusive live events, such as
the members-only livestream with Chris
Jackson, who played George Washington
in the original cast of Hamilton, on July 6.
"Another program we are excited to
present is our Virtual VIP Tours, which are
led by one of our interpretive staff members through a WebEx meeting [for a fee],"
says Matt Briney, vice president of media &
communications for George Washington's
Mount Vernon.
The Winchester Mystery House
in San Jose, Calif., offered incentives
for purchases. Guests who bought its
Immersive 360 Tour for $8.99 received
one complimentary pass to use for a future
on-site tour whenever that person is ready
to travel again.
Guests click on icons in the immersive
experience to obtain more information
about a particular object, peek behind
doors previously closed to visitors,
and view the first-ever floor plan of the
Winchester Mystery House.
"Sarah Winchester, builder of the house,
was ahead of her time in many ways," says
Walter Magnuson, general manager of
Winchester Mystery House. "Today, we are
striving to follow in her footsteps by offering an innovative way for guests to explore
the mansion unlike ever before."

Noteworthy Experiences
From Home

There is no shortage of creativity when it
comes to ABA members, and they proved it

by finding innovative ways to stay connected to customers despite their businesses
being shuttered. Below are just a few of the
many examples of members using virtual
and digital technology to communicate
with customers while also building their
businesses for the future.
ARTECHOUSE reached into customers' homes with curated remote art
installations, live performances, artist
interviews, and behind-the-scenes tours.
ARTECHOUSE features artists who incorporate technology and science into their
work, and its three locations (Washington,
D.C., Miami, and New York City) have
engaged nearly 1 million visitors since
opening its first location in D.C. in 2017.
Guests didn't have to buy new clothes
to attend a performance of the Boston
Symphony Orchestra, because its content
was delivered via electronic devices. Its
"BSO at Home" site featured audio recordings from the BSO archives, musicians'
personal videos, and a behind-the-scenes
video series available on YouTube that
includes "New Tanglewood Tales: Life On
Stage and Off." The six-episode web series
allows viewers to witness the rehearsals,
coaching, classes, and family life of five
BSO musicians.
Billie Eilish, Bob Newhart, Brandi
Carlile, Yola, and others became the first
entertainers featured on the GRAMMY
Museum's digital series. The Los Angeles
museum released past interviews with
musicians and artists, slideshows from
previous exhibits such as "Take Me Out



Destinations Magazine – September/October 2020

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