What Works — and What Doesn’t
We asked the leaders of two companies that produce
virtual-reality videos — Gregory Murtha, president
of XplorIt in Incline Village, Nevada, which created
Virtual Discover L.A., and Noah Klein, founder and
owner of Virtour in Chicago — to share their insights
on successful VR.
What is the most common mistake you see
when destination marketing organizations use
GM Not fully leveraging their virtual assets. Visitors
go to DMO sites for the best local insights into the best
experiences, yet most DMO sites offer little experiential content beyond video. Experiential content might
also include, for example, a map with layered interactive experiences via a series of embedded hyperlinks.
NK VR experiences with too much activity can
overwhelm new users. The example I use a lot is
“Diner Duo,” a VR game where players cook and serve
hamburgers. It’s a simple activity, but I have seen
people spend an hour in this game. Putting on a VR
headset and feeling like you are in a different environment provides a big wow factor, so the experiences
don’t have to be overwhelming for people to have a
What qualities do you see in the best VR tours?
GM LA Tourism has done a great job of putting con-
text in their video delivery. If a meeting planner tours
the L.A. Convention Center, they will want to know
where the meeting space is in relationship to the
floor-plan view, and they will also want to know the
capacities of a space — theater, classroom, banquet
style — and we provide that content once a planner
virtually walks into a meeting space.
NK Self-guided tours are more effective than tours
the user can’t control. A “choose-your-path” kind of
experience keeps the user engaged while letting
them focus on areas that interest them and pass over
areas that don’t. I saw one VR video for a property
that was over five minutes long. Watching a video
in a VR headset for that long — without interacting
with it — can cause fatigue. You need to keep the user
engaged. We did a VR project for “Joe’s Live,” a live-music venue in Rosemont [Illinois], that allows users
to navigate the space and activate touch points that
show pictures, videos, voiceovers, and PDFs.
What are the biggest trends you see over the next
10 to 20 years?
GM One of the biggest VR trends will be a livestreaming infrastructure that allows you to attend events
and explore a destination in real time. This is already
being done with a variation of Google Glass, but it
will probably not evolve until we have some type of
robotic roving camera system that the user can drive
remotely. This will probably be a reality within the
next 20 years.
NK I believe VR will continue to become more
cost-effective and available to the average consumer.
Many social gatherings will take place in VR. One day
conventions may be held in VR, where vendors can
rent out virtual booths and attendees can participate
without leaving their homes.