A 360-Degree View of Your Destination
Fabio Musio, owner of 100 Digital Creativity Inc., joins us this week to talk about how destinations can utilize 360-degree virtual-reality photography in their content creation strategy. Listen to learn more about what his business does and how destinations such as Visit Ogden have benefited from it over the past year.
"Be flexible. Coronavirus was one big roadblock for a lot of people and we learned how to use new tools to go around this one. I think that in the future we need to do the same with whatever life presents us." -Fabio Musio
100 Digital Creativity Inc. - http://100-dc.com/
Meet our Host and Guest(s)
- Name: Adam Stoker
- Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic
- Favorite Destination: Fiji
- Dream Destination: New Zealand
- Name: Fabio Musio
- Position: CEO - 100 Digital Creativity
- Favorite Destination: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
- Dream Destination: Africa, The Serengeti
“A 360-Degree View of Your Destination” – Show Notes and Highlights
100 Digital Creativity started with Google Street View and airpano.com
Offers personal virtual side visits and virtual branding
– Equinox Hotel, New York
– Visit San Jose in California, Silicon Valley
During the 2020 pandemic, 100 Digital Creativity had some spare time to experiment and do a couple of projects using their virtual tour platform called TERA Digital Luggage
TERA Digital Luggage visual media uses high-quality resolution media.
Can be used for the following:
TERA technology Offers 3D modeling of convention centers. Now working on spinnable 3D models and mixed reality to show flexible configurations to the client want.
When destinations try to create virtual products, one of the biggest mistakes is the lack of quality.
How to know if virtual assets are adequate or of good quality:
-Free from image distortion
-Check the dynamic range
-Images should be at least 250-megapixel resolution
Fabio advises destinations to be flexible and go around the roadblocks in the future.
Resources Mentioned in the Podcast:
Fabio Musio: [00:00:00] Be flexible. Coronavirus was one big roadblock for a lot of people and we learned how to use new tools to go around this one. And I think in the future, we need to do the same with whatever that life is going to present us.
Adam Stoker: [00:00:20] Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Destination Marketing Podcast. I’m your host, Adam Stoker. We’ve got another great show for you today, as usual. We’ve got a great guest. It’s a friend of mine that I met, man, it must be six years ago now. His name is Fabio Musio, and most people in this industry know Fabio. He is the President and CEO of 100 Digital Creativity. Fabio, welcome to the show.
Fabio Musio: [00:00:48] That’s me. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for being such a warm host. I appreciate the opportunity and I look forward to talk with you, to chit chat with you about travel, something that we miss.
Adam Stoker: [00:01:03] Yeah, something we miss, and we’re kind of ready to get back into. But Fabio, we’ve got a couple of questions that we ask everybody at the beginning of the show. I want to make sure we get your answers, too. So, my first question is, what is your dream destination? If you could go anywhere in the world, Fabio, where would it be?
Fabio Musio: [00:01:22] I need to tell you, I’m a little bit spoiled because I’m a photographer. I take pictures for a living. I take pictures of resorts and sometimes I need to travel to these beautiful resorts. So, I’ve seen a lot of places. One of my favorite projects is Bora Bora, in the French Polynesia. So, I did a project there a few years ago. The island is just spectacular. The trip was pretty long, pretty far away from the United States but I remember every single second of that trip. Of course it was a business trip but still I was able to look around and see the nature over there. That is fantastic. I’ve never seen something like this. Second place, I need to mention Bahamas, fantastic islands next to the States. So, feel free to spread the word. Everybody needs to go there.
Adam Stoker: [00:02:21] Well, I’m hearing a little bit of a trend, Fabio. It sounds like you’re a sucker for a tropical destination.
Fabio Musio: [00:02:27] Yes, definitely. I love mountains. I love snow. But yeah, with temperatures lower than the 70s, I feel a little bit of pain.
Adam Stoker: [00:02:40] Well, let’s talk about Bora Bora because that was really where… I went to Fiji several years ago and I was deciding between Fiji and Bora Bora. I ultimately chose Fiji. But what was it about Bora Bora that made it such a special place for you?
Fabio Musio: [00:02:58] Well, the corals of the water were incredible. I was staying in this resort, the one over water with this incredible bungalow. The floor was a glass floor, so, you can see through the floor and see the fish, see everything that was going underneath your feet. That was amazing. And a lot of resorts there were very upscale. They served food, they served drinks in a very upscale way, in a very luxurious way. Everything, all the vacation if we want to call it the way, it was not, I was working but everything was beautiful. The weather was fantastic. We had a few days of full sun and the sunlight got reflected by the bottom of the sea so we could see those corals that I’ve never seen before. I don’t know if there is any other place in the world with those corals.
Adam Stoker: [00:03:57] Isn’t that one of the special things about the industry we work in as we get to go to these incredible destinations and call it work?
Fabio Musio: [00:04:06] Oh, my friends hate me. So yes, you’re right. They told me the worst things in the world. I’m not going to repeat those words. But they were pretty angry at me especially when I was posting those pictures, those beautiful pictures 20, 30, 40 times a day. They get very annoyed. I don’t know why.
Adam Stoker: [00:04:29] Well, I know why. Their jobs are boring and we got the fun job.
Fabio Musio: [00:04:34] Working in a cubicle is not the same.
Adam Stoker: [00:04:35] Yeah, it’s not the same. So, those were some trips you’ve been on that sound really special. Tell me a place you haven’t been that is somewhere that you really want to get to.
Fabio Musio: [00:04:48] Well, I’m missing one continent that is Africa, and I would really love to go there. Of course, every season of our lives needs to have a special vacation. If you are single, you need to go in certain locations. You need to have some trips. I had my single vacation in Australia. I was there for three weeks going all around the coast. When you are married, well, you need to go to some romantic places, some adventurous places, but that’s to be between you and your better half. When you have a family, there are certain destination that needs to be explored. And I think with my family, I would love to go to Africa to the Serengeti to see these beautiful national parks and see the animals and shooting some pictures there. My kids, they are pretty passionate about photography, so, I think it’s going to be a fantastic way to explore nature and see what we just study in the books.
Adam Stoker: [00:05:48] Fabio, you just articulated something that I think a lot of us have thought about over the years, but I’ve never heard it put as eloquently as you just did, that for every season of our lives, there’s a different type of trip that is the perfect fit for that season of our lives. That articulation that you made there really kind of hit me that from a marketing standpoint, we need to make sure that we’re positioning our destinations for the correct season that these people are in their lives.
Fabio Musio: [00:06:21] Yes. And every single destination is the perfect spot for every single chapter of the lives. We just need to prepare those itineraries. We just need to present those ideas in a certain way to that particular audience. So, this is the job that the marketing teams of the destinations, of the hotels, need to get in place.
Adam Stoker: [00:06:45] Very insightful, Fabio. I want to go back to Africa, though. So, you said that you want to take your family out to the Serengeti and to have that unique Africa experience. Why is it the last one you’ve gotten to? Why is Africa your last continent? It seems like there are so many different places to go and things to do within that continent. Is it a season thing? Is this the season in your life that you’re finally prepared to go there? What made it come in that order?
Fabio Musio: [00:07:14] Completely random. I have been through South America and North America, of course. I’ve been to Polynesia, Australia, all around Europe. But for one reason or the other one, I don’t know why. I mean, actually, I’ve never been to Africa and that was not far away from Italy. I’m Italian as you can understand. A lot of people can understand my accent. And it’s pretty close to our nation, but I have never been to Africa. I don’t know why.
Adam Stoker: [00:07:47] Well, I’m excited for you to go there and I definitely want to hear about it. Maybe we’ll have you back on the show to tell us about it when you get to Africa.
Fabio Musio: [00:07:54] Yes, definitely.
Adam Stoker: [00:07:55] Well Fabio, I appreciate you sharing some of that information with us to let us get to know you. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up in tourism?
Fabio Musio: [00:08:07] I ended up in tourism by mistake. No, not a mistake. It was actually a good choice. I worked in Italy for a number of years in the avionics industry. I was the system designer for military airplanes. I was working in Torino for this company then they sent me to Atlanta for another project, another big project. And then after a few years, they told me that it was time to go back. In the meanwhile, I got in love with photography. I got really passionate. That was the second love of my life. The first love of my life is my wife, which I met here in downtown Atlanta, in a bar. And at that point, I didn’t want to go back to Italy. I want to stay here with her. I had to find another job because of course, I had to leave that. I have to quit that one.
And I was in the middle of the ocean swimming, not literally, but I have to decide which direction to take. I thought I was kind of sad during that time, but I think I was pretty lucky because I could decide to go after my passion. That’s why I started this agency and I started to take pictures. I started as a normal photographer. I was doing a couple of weddings then I was not happy with that, so, I kind of chased my passion, my happiness. And here I am. I started to do virtual tours. I started with virtual reality coding what platforms. And from there everything was a natural evolution.
Adam Stoker: [00:09:49] Great. And Fabio, you eventually started 100 Digital Creativity. I’ve actually seen your business evolved over the years. So, tell me a little bit about today as you interact with destinations. What is the main service set that you offer to destinations and maybe some of the destinations you’ve done it for?
Fabio Musio: [00:10:11] Yeah, sure. Well, I started to offer Google Street View tours for small stores and shops. And I saw there was so much potential other usage in this media, in this new type of media, even if it’s 20 years old. So, I started to learn how to code and to put together new platforms, virtual tours that we can see. Ninety-nine percent of the people are pretty familiar with Google Street View. That is a static platform where you can go and explore different cities. But still, I was not happy about that. There was something more.
One day, I found out about this website, there is this group of Russian photographers. And they travel all around the world. Their name is airpano.com. Go to their website. It is the most amazing website that I’ve ever seen. So, they shoot these images, these full spherical images with helicopters, and I was like, I need to do that. To be happy, I need to be able to shoot those kinds of images. And that became my signature.
So, now, what I do is to prepare the media for cities, for destinations, for hotels. We fly with helicopters so we don’t have any restrictions. We put together images from the ground and we prepare virtual tours. But our virtual tours are a step above the competitors because they’re flexible. They’re not just a pre-scripted platform, but we can go there and we can do virtual side visits. We can personalize. We can do virtual staging, virtual branding for the prospects of the sales team. So, in other words, virtual tours that you see now online are like the old jail cities, websites. What we offer is WordPress. So, 20 years in the future.
Adam Stoker: [00:12:07] Okay. And tell me some of the destinations or hotels that you’re working with.
Fabio Musio: [00:12:12] So, we have one hotel that is pretty important for us. That is the Equinox Hotel. That is in New York City. One of the top hotels in the country. It’s very, very detail-oriented. They have the restaurant that is — I went there two years ago and my mouth is still watering. The rooms are spectacular. I’m not going to share any secrets of the room, but there’s plenty of secrets. Every single room there’s something different. They have a lot of goodies, superfood. They’re very health-oriented. And they have one of the biggest clubs in New York City. They have a gym that is massive, swimming pools, beautiful, beautiful.
For the cities, I mean, I don’t know which one to choose but I’m going to share one of the latest projects we did with Visit San Jose in California, in the core of the Silicon Valley. For them, we prepared this virtual tour that is a bunch of mini-tours aggregated together. And thanks to our platform, they can separate them and use them as they prefer.
So, we shot this big convention center with virtual staging. They can modify the tops of the rooms. And then they can share also the theaters, the hotels there nearby. So, we’re going to go back in a couple of weeks to shoot more media there. We are going to be able to shoot also with helicopters this time. So, it’s going to be pretty amazing if you think that nearby there is the Apple headquarter, The Spaceship, I think, is the name. There is also Facebook. There is Adobe. There is Zoom. There are all the major companies out there. So, we’re going to be able to fly over them.
Adam Stoker: [00:14:03] Wow, very cool. So I want to go back to the Equinox Hotel. That had to be interesting to create a virtual tour of such a unique property like that hotel with all the unique rooms and all of the amenities that they have. Was it difficult almost to take all the amazing things that they offer and put them into a simple virtual tour? How does that work?
Fabio Musio: [00:14:29] You’re touching a point that is pretty sensitive. Usually, when we go there, we have a working tour with one of the managers. And even though they try to explain everything, it’s almost impossible. So, what we do is to shoot as much as possible and then we go back and we added all these media. For example, for this particular hotel, there was an iPad with an app that can control everything, from the blinds to the TV. You can start videos that they promote, that they created for the morning routines or the evening routines. So, we try to get as much as possible so we can help their sales team to bring more business, to inform, to educate their prospects.
Adam Stoker: [00:15:17] Great. Well, looking back over 2020, it had been an interesting time for your business because the virtual aspect of things became 20 times more important. Your business must have been one of the few businesses that actually saw an uptick during 2020.
Fabio Musio: [00:15:39] Yes, and no. A lot of people were more oriented towards the virtual world, how to use digital media, how to use digital outlets to capture the attention of prospects. But at the same time, all the restaurants were shut, were just closed. All the hotels didn’t have personnel to help us. They didn’t have marketing people. So, we did a few projects but not as much as we could have done. This was not very negative because, in the meanwhile, we had some spare time to spend on TERA Digital Luggage, which is our platform, the one that makes virtual tours flexible to afford for the sales teams. So, we did a couple of projects. We were able to experiment much more than usual. It was a positive year. At the end of the day, I can see back to 2020 as a good year even though I didn’t fly that many miles, to be honest.
Adam Stoker: [00:16:44] Yeah, none of us did. We couldn’t do it and I’m sure you kind of felt it like we did that we’re kind of dying to get back out there. Tell me more about your TERA Digital Luggage product. I’m curious about that. I don’t know that I’ve learned about that yet.
Fabio Musio: [00:17:03] I don’t think I showed you because the launch of TERA Digital Luggage was at the end of 2019. So, as you can imagine during 2020 we were shut down and we didn’t give so many demos and trade shows. TERA Digital Luggage takes the name from the digital luggage, which is the e-cart for virtual tours. So, instead of going to Amazon and put items in your cart, you go to TERA Digital Luggage. You can put activities. You can put places where you want to dine, or places you want to explore in your digital luggage. And in the same way you use the cart on Amazon, you can use the digital luggage with your family to plan a vacation. You can talk with the sales team and that can become the first step for an RFP. So, it’s the same thing.
And in the back end of TERA, there is a CMS. So, the virtual tour is no more a static block of rock that you cannot touch, you can’t modify. But it’s a very flexible amount of plaster or playdough that you can do whatever you want. You can change the content however you prefer. And there is also the itinerary builder. This is something that we built a few years ago and now it’s a very powerful tool. So, sales teams of the destination, or the hotels, or the properties, can take the global virtual tour and they can modify everything for their prospects. So, instead of showing the entire city, they show just what they want to sell. What is in reply to the RFP?
Adam Stoker: [00:18:42] Interesting. What has the response been like so far on this new product?
Fabio Musio: [00:18:45] I have to be honest, the best part of TERA Digital Luggage is the media, is the visual. We are very proud of the quality and the resolution of our media. It’s one of the top on the market. So, when I screen share and when I show the images, especially the ones from the helicopter, or the ones where we do mix reality, empty rooms, we can dress up with the tables or different configurations, I see the sales team, the sales directors, the director of marketing, spreading their eyes and the jaws dropping right away.
The TERA Digital Luggage is a very flexible tool. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible to be used. And that is phenomenal from the web team’s point of view. So, I think we are on a path to deliver a solution for them that can be multipurpose. So, they can use this one for leisure, meeting planners, weddings, they can go and go vertical for diving spots, or they can use this one for golf tournaments, or also for attendees for convention services, of course.
Adam Stoker: [00:20:00] Okay. I like it. And you and I were both presenters in the product showcase at DMA West just a month ago. And you showed a product that I thought was really fascinating, especially for helping conference centers to market a little bit better. Do you mind talking a little bit about what you’ve done for conference centers to help them demonstrate their value better than they have in the past?
Fabio Musio: [00:20:27] Yes. We started to offer 3D modeling of the convention center. What we get, we get the floor plan or the architectural drawings from the convention center and then we can build a 3D model. Now we’re working also on spinnable 3D models, not just a static one, but one you can spin around that you can zoom in and you can do several things with little men running around. So, it’s going to be also fun to watch. But the other thing, the one that I was presenting at the DMA West, was the mixed reality, the one I was talking about before. With mixed reality, what we do is to shoot a meeting venue, a meeting room completely empty and then we can put whatever configuration the client wants.
So, if they want, we can go banquet style. We can show COVID setups with socially distant tables and chairs. We can go 2019 style. If they want, we can put a couple of elephants on the stage or we can build a skateboard ramp. And they can save a lot of boxes with this because they can show the configuration they want to sell without spending one minute in labor to prepare the room. That is a big, big plus for us.
Adam Stoker: [00:21:44] Yeah. With the new world that we’re in after COVID, I think the ability to demonstrate to an event, what it’s going to look like in the conference center and what the configuration is going to be like, the visual component of that is so much more powerful than an audible description where if you say, hey, we can arrange the tables this way and then this is going to look like that, but you don’t have the visual component to go with it, it’s not near as powerful. So, I’m really excited about this product for conference centers that you’ve come up with. And there are so many destinations with conference centers. I think this is really something to take a look at.
Fabio Musio: [00:22:26] Well, we’re visuals, so, we decide with what we see, correct? So, if I don’t see a beautiful car, I’m not going to want to buy that one. I don’t know that that car exists. So, in this way we’re helping destinations, hotels to show the inner gems that they have. Most of the time when, let’s say normal times in 2019, most of the time when they have also site visits, the meeting rooms are not empty. They are fully booked. They cannot show what they want to sell. And how can you sell something that you cannot present?
So, TERA Digital Luggage is the solution to this problem. They can take virtual site visits with our media. They can show different configurations. If you don’t like the black chairs, you will prefer dark grey, well, no problem. With a couple of clicks, you have dark grey chairs. Or you want COVID set-ups and you want social distance throughout the convention center, well, we can do that. That is a very powerful tool.
We have also virtual branding, so, we can build up virtual banners, virtual billboards. They are completely fake. They don’t exist in reality, but we can also attach the logo of the final client. So, that is also another thing to get attention to become more memorable.
Adam Stoker: [00:23:52] And this should definitely help these destinations, these conference centers win a lot more of these event RFPs.
Fabio Musio: [00:24:00] Oh, yes. Another thing that we do is also mixed reality outdoors. So, when we shoot the city, when we take these pictures, these full spherical images with a helicopter, we can also show the city, what is going to happen to the city in 1, 3, 5, 10 years. There is no city that is that. Every single city is evolving. There is a new stadium coming up. There is a new hotel. They’re going to be in the new park. Well, with this technology, we can show what is going to happen to the city. Some of the city, some of the sales team, they’re working on leads. They’re working on events that are going to happen in 2, 3, 4, 5 years. So, the clients, want to see how the city is going to look like. And we help with this message.
Adam Stoker: [00:24:47] Great. So, as destinations are looking to create more virtual products like the ones that you’ve described today, what mistakes have you seen destinations make as they try to create something like this?
Fabio Musio: [00:25:01] Quality. A lot of them, think that virtual reality is difficult. They think that virtual reality is something that they cannot handle. Unfortunately, they go with the easy route and they go with images that are just poor images. Nobody is going to use an image, a normal photo of their convention center taken with a smartphone from the 80s. So you cannot use the same media with 360. You need to step up the game.
Adam Stoker: [00:25:41] So, Fabio, you obviously are an expert, right? You know good photos and you know how to tell if it’s usable. I think a lot of our friends that are at destinations right now, don’t know how to evaluate if the photo quality is good enough to create a virtual product like this. So, how do I know? If I’m a destination listening right now, how do I know if my assets are adequate?
Fabio Musio: [00:26:09] Yeah. It’s very easy actually. First of all, you look for mistakes, for some stitching errors. When there is a distortion, there is a fracture in the image, which is not a good quality image. Second, you need to check the dynamic range. What is called dynamic range? What does it mean? You check the windows and then you check around the image. If the image is blown out, that means that you cannot see outside because it’s too bright, that is a poor quality image. That most likely was taken with a point-and-shoot camera. And you don’t want to have those kinds of images on your website. You need to, again, step up the game. I know destinations, they put a lot of effort into the production of normal images and normal videos. They need to do the same with 360 media.
Adam Stoker: [00:26:58] Got it. Okay.
Fabio Musio: [00:27:00] Another thing, if they have access to this information, it’s asking about the resolution of the images. I personally deliver images that are 250 megapixels –. Now, the number sounds everything and nothing but that means that I can check the images that we take on an AK monitor and they’re not going to look pixelated. So, that means that this media can be repurposed in the future and they can use more and more and more.
Adam Stoker: [00:27:32] So, you take them at 250 megs. What size is maybe too small, to give us some frame of reference here?
Fabio Musio: [00:27:39] Two hundred fifty. We don’t deliver anything that is under 250 megapixels.
Adam Stoker: [00:27:48] So, that’s the minimum then as far as these virtual tours, the minimum size should be 250 megs.
Fabio Musio: [00:27:53] This is what we do and we like every year to step up a little bit more and to go up. Last year, two years ago, we were delivering 200 megapixels. These numbers, look almost the same, but they require a lot more processing. We need more space on our workstations. So, it’s not that easy to do that kind of step. We can go even behind the gigapixel images. The biggest one we shot was a 50 gigapixel image. It was 2000 photos stitched together so you can see the entire city and then you can zoom in and see details that are a mile away. That’s beautiful. That’s my favorite image.
Adam Stoker: [00:28:36] Wow, very cool. Fabio, what do you feel is the most important piece of advice? And this doesn’t have to just be about virtual imagery or photography or anything like that. What’s the most important piece of advice you would give a destination listening right now?
Fabio Musio: [00:28:55] Be flexible. The thing that we need to learn is to be flexible and go around the roadblocks that we might face in the future. Coronavirus was one big roadblock for a lot of people and we learn how to use new tools to go around this one. And I think in the future, we need to do the same with whatever that life is going to present us.
Adam Stoker: [00:29:19] Flexibility is such an important trait for really any marketer but especially a destination marketer.
Fabio Musio: [00:29:25] Yes. Actually, I like one sentence from one of my mentors. When I started the agency, I was having a great mentor and he told me a sentence that became mine. If you cannot hide, paint it red. And that is my dogma now.
Adam Stoker: [00:29:45] I like it. I like it a lot. Well Fabio, how can people get a hold of you if they want to learn more about some of the things we’ve talked about today?
Fabio Musio: [00:29:52] Well, as you can hear, I love to talk about virtual reality. I like to explain. I like to also show what is coming up because the future of visual reality is big. We just started to explore virtual reality. So, if they want to get in touch with me, of course, they can go on LinkedIn, they can write me a message. I am always available 24/7, firstname.lastname@example.org is my email. And I will be happy to entertain them with a couple of examples.
Adam Stoker: [00:30:23] Okay, email@example.com.
Fabio Musio: [00:30:27] Yes, correct.
Adam Stoker: [00:30:29] Fabio, thank you so much for coming on today and sharing some of your knowledge and experience with us.
Fabio Musio: [00:30:34] Thank you so much. Thank you so much for putting together this beautiful podcast.
Adam Stoker: [00:30:41] Thanks, Fabio. I appreciate that. And I appreciate all of our listeners for tuning in. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please make sure to leave us a rating or a review and make sure to check out firstname.lastname@example.org. And thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.
Hey everyone. We’ve got some exciting news over here at the Destination Marketing Podcast. I’ve talked a little bit about the network that we’re creating and we are adding several new podcasts to the Destination Marketing Podcast network. And one of the podcasts that I’m really excited about is called Influencer Marketing for Destinations. And that podcast is put on by Jacqueline Crane. She is the director of Long-Form content and PR at Relic, along with Jess Darrington, who is not only our social media manager at Relic, but she’s also an influencer herself. And the two of them are going to be talking about influencer marketing from both sides as the destination, but also as the influencer tips, tricks, what to watch out for, and how to do it more effectively. Really excited for this podcast so, tune in, look it up on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, anywhere where you listen to your podcast and you’ll really enjoy this one.