HI agency going digital to promote islands to visitors

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 4:21 AM

Dance told industry representatives at a tourism marketing meeting in Waikiki on Wednesday the agency plans to unveil its first virtual reality offering at its Sept tourism conference.

HI agency going digital to promote islands to visitors

The state agency promoting HI is increasingly going digital, using social media and virtual reality to reach potential visitors.

"It is the way that people are communicating and interacting — from my 82-year-old mother on Facebook to my kids on Snapchat or whatever they're doing," said Leslie Dance, vice president of marketing and product development for the HI Tourism Authority.

Dance told industry representatives at a tourism marketing meeting in Waikiki on Wednesday the agency plans to unveil its first virtual reality offering at its Sept tourism conference.

The agency plans to get advantage of technology of the likes offered by Occulus Rift, a virtual reality startup that uses a headset to give people the feeling they're immersed in different places.

One idea Dance has is to give people the feeling that they're parasailing over the Hawaiian Islands and authorize them to pilot themselves down to the island of their choosing. She said the technology is becoming more affordable and accessible, with the introduction of cardboard glasses and other cheaper features.

Dance, who assumed her current role in January, has a background working for technology companies. Most recently, she was vice president of marketing for BRIGHT Technologies, a Canadian company that produces interactive whiteboards and panels.

The digital world allows you to reach more people without spending as much money on television and magazine campaigns, which is helpful on a Ltd budget, she said. Plus, you can quickly attempt new things as experiments fail and shift course, she said.

The agency plans to upgrade its website to create it easier for mobile phone users to navigate and is introducing a new mobile app.

The HI Tourism Authority hopes to support the momentum that brought a record no of travelers to the islands for each of the past four years. HI welcomed 8.6 million travelers last year.

In S Korea, the agency is encouraging social media users to post photos and video of their adventures in HI with the hashtag phrase #AlohaEverywhere. It'south similar to an ongoing campaign in the U. S. to do the same with #LetHawaiiHappen.

HI Tourism Europe has developed an online game for people to play for the chance to win a vacation in Hawaii. The game also teaches players about each of the Hawaiian Islands.

Andrew Koh, who leads marketing efforts in Taiwan, said social media is one of the best ways to reach consumers. He said seventy-five % of Taiwan residents have a Facebook account.

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