360 Degrees on Queenstown and Wanaka Goes Live
Media Release from 360queenstown-wanaka.com
November 8 2012
360 Degrees on Queenstown and Wanaka Goes Live
An exciting new tourism website aimed at promoting Queenstown and Wanaka’s attractions to the online world using the latest in panoramic photographic technology was launched earlier this week in Wanaka.
Keith Stubbs, owner and operator of www.360queenstown-wanaka.com, described the site as “Google Maps meets Google Street View and the Yellow Pages rolled into one”, and predicted it would be one of the three or four biggest websites in the area.
“The 360qw mission is to provide the most comprehensive and detailed information website for Queenstown and Wanaka while producing useful and entertaining content all year round,” he said.
Launched to an audience of tourism professionals at Wanaka’s Oakridge Hotel, Mr Stubbs said the site incorporates stunning 360-degree interactive panoramic photography with maps, detailed information and editorial, as well as regular updates on weather, river, lake and snow conditions.
A Wanaka local who is originally from the UK, Mr Stubbs first went to Japan to write for a guidebook entitled ‘Snow Search Japan’. (The guide book went on to win a gold medal at the New York Independent Publisher Awards). It was in Japan that he became involved with the first 360 website in the resort of Niseko.
“The 360 founders wanted the second site in the world to be launched in a renowned international tourism region,” he said.
“In a busy winter month 360niseko has 17,400 visits, 8,000 unique visitors, and 43,000 page views, so as Queenstown and Wanaka are year-round tourism destinations we’re expecting the kind of stats we’ve seen in Japan in both summer and winter.
“With year-round activities, many of which are outdoors, just about every corner is stunning and the potential is huge. Our home page carousel is a prime piece of web real estate.”
Mr Stubbs said all local businesses were being encouraged in the first instance to sign up for a free basic listing. “We want to get businesses engaged with the site, which is pretty simple to do, just like updating a Facebook page. Then they can become familiar with the product and service, and see how it works before deciding if they want to sign up for one of the sponsored packages, which can include panoramic shots of their own business and be included on the most detailed maps available which will take customers directly to them.”
Aiming for 1000 panoramas on the site within the year, Mr Stubbs said he already had 100 location pages and over 200 panoramas uploaded. He is working with local and highly respected photographer Jackie Gay who captures the entire sphere of an image, above and below.
Mr Stubbs said there is considerable skill required in taking the original shots but understanding the “stitching process” is the key element. Stitching the panoramic images together takes about two hours for each ‘pano’, which can be linked together to create a virtual tour through a business.
“Because we’ve developed and grown this skill in-house, we keep costs low and are able to offer the very latest in cutting-edge technology to our local businesses at a very competitive price,” he said.
Mr Stubbs said iPads, iPhones and other smart devices were predicted to take over from websites as traveller information portals by 2014. With this technology the panoramas come into their own as the instinctive tilting of the devices enable users to “look around” as they would naturally.
He said there were many obvious advantages to users, who were “pretty likely” to be coming to Wanaka or Queenstown if they were looking on the site, or potentially in the area already.
“They’ll be able to find easily located business details, including descriptions, opening times, phone numbers, maps (including satellite maps with topography), and direct links to the business’s website – plus that stunning 360 degree image or virtual tour.
“This is much more than a directory with attractive visuals. We’re dedicated to promoting Queenstown and Wanaka as a world class destination and invest a significant amount of our revenue back into reaching the right people from the right places.”
An events database and accommodation booking engine are also in the pipeline for the site.
All prices and plans are available on the website www.360queenstown-wanaka.com
Owner and manager of 360queenstown_wanaka Keith Stubbs with photographer Jackie Gay_media
Click for big version.
Queenstowns Steamer Wharf in stunning 360_media
(L-R) Leigh Stock (Edgewater), Ross McRobie (World Travellers Wanaka), Keith Stubbs (360 QW)_media