- Nevada is seeking to lure Californians to visit the state with a campaign that lets people experience a 360-degree tour at virtual reality “instillations” in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. The Nevada Division of Tourism’s VR experience is part of its first “Don’t Fence Me In” promotion that highlights the state’s natural beauty, a statement by the organization said.
- The instillations, which resemble a western saloon, let visitors put on a VR headset to experience a virtual road trip of young adventurers who climb, kayak and drive through the state's landscapes like Lake Mead, Valley of Fire State Park, Pyramid Lake, Sand Mountain, Virginia City and Lake Tahoe.
- VR studio Groove Jones took seven days and 20 people across 750 miles to shoot the video, which will also be available online and on YouTube360.
TravelNevada has found a way to contend with one of the biggest impediments to delivering VR experiences to consumers — the high cost of the equipment — with a pop-up campaign that uses VR headsets to let people experience an immersive view of the state.
What's interesting about this effort is that it has a character-driven storyline, which adds a more human element for consumers to connect with. Nevada is seeking young adults who long to break free from densely populated California cities by exploring the wide open spaces of Nevada’s parks with friends.
Consumer adoption of VR adoption has yet to become widespread. In general, it's still in its infancy, with Forrester Research saying that 42% of American adults have never heard of VR headsets and 46% don't see a use for the tech in their lives. However, adoption is expected to grow as the technology develops and more businesses create immersive experiences for customers. Total VR headset shipments are estimated to grow 10x from last year to 99.4 million units by 2021, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).
Other states like Arizona and Ohio have previously created VR tours to entice visitors to their states. Nevada’s VR experience is also more ambitious than last year’s campaign by Idaho Tourism, which created a series of 360-degree videos to highlight outdoor activities in the state like whitewater kayaking, zip-lining and paddle boarding. The videos could be viewed with a smartphone or tablet, though placing the smartphone in an inexpensive VR viewer like Google Cardboard provided a more immersive 360-degree view.