The Power of Print

1 Sep

Been a busy week.  We’ve had a bunch of phone calls and email requests from realtors and business owners all over the mid-atlantic region thanks to the article in the Washington Post (Click Here to Read it).  I was in Howard County yesterday to shoot a Virtual Tour for a Child Daycare facility… and just got back from Baltimore a few minutes ago to shoot a Virtual Tour for a new home, compliments of Castle Rock Builders.  Unfortunately, it’s looking like I may need to be up early on Labor Day (i know) to go shoot a gig in Virginia.  All work and no play.  Well, not really, I’m going to take advantage of this holiday weekend and have some fun.  Maybe even find myself at a hurricane party. 

Be on the lookout for some new Virtual Tours posted up here in the coming days.  Chris and I have a production meeting tonight… in between draft picks, as our Baltimore Fantasy Football League Draft starts at 7pm.  We’ll be wrapping up the post-production of these Virtual Tours… and running some quality control on some others.  Gotta keep improving the product, right! 

Speaking of, someone send me these pictures and I figured that I would share. 

We made the Washington Post!

30 Aug

I had a feeling that we were going to be in the Monday Paper, as part of a new column called Capital Business. 

So when I woke up this morning about 5 minutes before my alarm, I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple emails waiting with news of the article.  I haven’t ventured out to see the hardcopy version… but will do so shortly… and you should do the same. 

Here is the article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/27/AR2010082704729.html

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Unique 360 hits a sweet spot on virtual tours

By Danielle Douglas
Monday, August 30, 2010

When John Gibbs and his college friend Chris Julio started their firm Unique 360 Tours in 2008, they initially sought out real estate clients interested in having online depictions of properties for sale. But the real estate bust drove them to expand the marketing of their services to restaurants, hospitals and even schools. That detour in strategy is now paying off for the Annapolis-based firm.

 One of Unique 360′s latest clients is the University of Maryland, which last summer was looking for something splashy for its redesigned Web site. At first, Gabe Unterman, the athletic division’s director of multimedia production, said he considered shooting a few narrated videos of the 10 sporting venues. But he changed his mind once he learned about the company’s offerings.

 “I researched their work and saw what they were capable of doing and was impressed,” he said.

 In one of the first completed tours, Unique 360 panned around practically every room of the school’s Comcast Center, from the concourse to the weight room. Visitors to the Web site can drag their cursor up and down and all around the rooms for every possible angle.

 “For potential student athletes that might come here, it gives them a good look of what we have here,” Unterman said.

 After seeing the panoramic tours of the basketball and football stadiums, directors of other athletic programs began clamoring for the services. Unique 360 is now in the process of shooting a tour for the Tennis Center at College Park.

 Projects for colleges and universities make up a growing portion of Unique 360′s business, which has thrived throughout the recession by cultivating a diverse group of clients. Gibbs said more than 100 customers have contracted his services within the past three years. And since he quit his day job as a marketing operations manager to run the company full time in May, Unique 360 has been turning a profit. Gibbs would not divulge exact revenue, but he said sales are strong enough for him to start hiring.

 Gibbs and his college friend, Julio, started the company in summer 2008 as a side business. The pair realized the business potential in virtual tours after Julio, who has a multimedia background, began creating them for his father’s home building company. Gibbs said that many of the providers Julio’s father first came across were either too expensive or had poor-quality videos.

 Virtual tour services can cost as little as $70 or as much as $1,000. Unique 360′s prices rest somewhere in the middle, with projects starting at $279. Many virtual tours are a collection of still images, but Gibbs said his company can customize its projects to include just about everything from music to interactive floor plans. “We’ve been called virtual tours on steroids,” he joked.

 Early on, Gibbs’s and Julio’s connections in the commercial real estate world, which readily employs virtual tours as a sales tool, helped garner the company steady business. As the recession drew on and the real estate market contracted, Gibbs began reaching out to a wider variety of businesses, such as restaurants and hospitals. The effort paid off and Unique 360 landed a few high-profile clients, including Duff Goldman from the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes.”

 After the University of Maryland project, more colleges, such as Towson University, and high schools, such as St. Mary’s in Annapolis, signed on to showcase their sporting facilities.

 Still, Unique 360 continues to get roughly 50 percent of its business from the commercial real estate industry, where every new property for sale presents an opportunity. “Business has definitely picked up,” said Gibbs. “And we are growing into a full-scale digital media agency.”

Unique 360 Tours Article in the Washington Post? Hopefully!

23 Aug

It’s been a pretty exciting Monday in the Virtual Tour world.  This afternoon, I got a call from a Washington Post reporter looking to do an article on Unique 360 Tours!
 

The reporter is with the business section of the Washington Post that features local companies that are moving up in the business world.  Although there are no promises that we will be in the paper or even simply an online article, I’m staying optimistic.  Keep your fingers crossed as this could be some huge exposure. If it goes to print, it will likely be sometime next week.  I’ll keep you posted. 

So, we had the (phone) interview today at 3pm.  You can imagine me pacing back and forth across my living room rattling off answers about the company.   We talked a lot about Charm City Cakes, University of Maryland, and Commercial Real Estate.  After the interview, I felt like Will Ferrell in Old School.

It being my first phone interview, I was a little nervous when she asked her first question, but I calmed down and the interview went rather well. I’m interested to see how it turns out.

Terps Virtual Tour, Part III: Maryland Football

20 Aug

A couple weeks ago, I had a post about Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. However, I never really dug into the Football Team. Maryland Football is BIG in this area and the players are hailed as celebrities on campus. Now the that football season is kicking into gear, I thought I would dive into some of the football player perks that we discovered while shooting the Virtual Tours for University of Maryland.

First off, let’s give a hand to the elephant in the room. Literally. These guys have their own dining hall. Not just a dining area or dining room. I’m talking dining hall. A huge room that overlooks the stadium and is laden with UMD football legends and terps paraphernalia. Now, just so you understand, this is not like an annex of other dining halls. This is the football team’s dining hall and no one else is allowed to use it. Right outside the doors is the Terp Football Hall of Fame. The best part, we found out that the food that gets served there is ridiculous. For guys that burn in excess of 5,000 calories a day… that food better be good.

Second, let’s move to their weight room. Located just below the Dining Hall and next to their locker room. This place is big. Best part about this locker room are the stats that line the walls. Marked out my position (QB,RB,K,LB, etc) it shows the top 10 (or so) records of most weight lifted by player. Bench Press, Squat, Dead Lift, etc were all itemized out and the record holders name and year were included. Needless to say, after seeing those stats, I won’t be picking any fights with any Terp Football players….maybe a kicker.

Finally, the 50 yard line. It was just cool to stand there and look around. I felt like I should flip some coins. Players were running sprints and getting ready for a practice on the sidelines. Grounds crews were getting the field into game-day condition. So, we had to carefully shoot the Virtual Tour and make some edits afterwards. I dive into more detail about this Virtual Tour and the Football Locker Room in the PART II of this series.

All for now. I have to dart off to a meeting with a new client. Enjoy the weekend. Happy Footballing. Here is the Virtual Tour. Be sure to check out the Skybox, too.

It Worked!

18 Aug

So, I printed out all of the Wroxeter blog posts and comments.  I wrote up a one-page letter (with our snazzy new letterhead) and explained the entire situation.  Stuck it all in an envelope and dropped it off at Wroxeter.  No more than 5 hours later, I get a call from the owner.  Unfortunately, when she called, Chris and I were tearing up on the tennis court.  For the record, we’ve been playing tennis aggressivly for the past month or so and are getting really good.  I’m talking Federer good.  So, I took the call and she was extremely excited about all of the information and feedback that has been brought up over the past few weeks.  Needless to say, we’ve had a couple conversations over the past 48 hours and will be scheduling the Virtual Tour shortly.  Very exciting, stuff.

Thanks to everyone that helped accomplish this.  I really do appreciate it.  

Wroxeter is NOT haunted

16 Aug

So, I drove over to Wroxeter today to drop off a letter explaining this contest and seeing if we could shoot a Virtual Tour of their property.  I guess we play the waiting game for 24-48 hours and see what happens.  I hope they are reading this right now and decide to give me a call at (410) 419-5194.  Hint. 

(If you are new to this blog, read through the posts below to catch yourself up on all the Wroxeter details.)

Wroxeter Drive is a long windy road with a bunch of nice houses spread out along both sides of the road.  I knew that I was getting close when I came up to a big turn and you could sorta tell that the Severn River was just over the next set of trees.  Then all of a sudden, there are two columns of either side of the road that say “Wroxeter on the Severn | 1947″. 

Although they reminded me of a scary combination of “Lost” meets “Jurassic Park” meets “Pet Sematary,” I proceed further.   Beyond the large cement columns, it opens up to several different properties… and Wroxeter is hard to miss sitting at the center of it all.  A cool sight to see.  I can confidently say after seeing that place close up, that it is not haunted.  It’s a very nice property in a secluded neighborhood of waterfront and waterview homes.  Anyhow, that’s all that I’m going to tell you guys.  Hopefully this adds a level of mystery/intrigue and the owners will want to contact me at (410) 419-5194.  Hint.     

Someone told me that we might have to bribe them.  Bribes are legal, right?  Not a big bribe, like a bag of cash.  Not a weird bribe, like a puppy.  I’m talking something fun that says… this is a creative Annapolis Startup Company that is trying to bring awareness to a Historical Annapolis Landmark.  Their technology is going to revive this down economy.  And the owners are smart, handsome, and funny.  Well, guess we can leave off that last requirement, but you get the idea.  Add a comment to this post, if you have any ideas.

New Virtual Tour: Quality Window and Door

9 Aug

Well, once again, we have proven that our Virtual Tours are beneficial in nearly EVERY industry.  A couple weeks ago, Unique 360 Tours got some “ink” and landed on the frontpage of the Business Section of the Sunday Capital ( The Annapolis Newspaper).  You can find the actual article and post about it if you scroll down and browse through all the other posts.   The headline read “Virtual Tours not just for Realtors,” and since then we’ve been inundated with requests about unique places to shoot Virtual Tours. 

We recently wrapped up a Virtual Tour of a product showroom for Quality Window & Door… a premier window and door distributor in Washington DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland area.  After a few conversations with Brent Alexander, their Marketing Expert, we decided how we could best portray their showroom.  What made their showroom unique was the 3 different areas that we wanted to exploit: The Window Wall, The Window Showrooms, and the Kitchen Showcase. 

Now potential customers can virtually browse their showroom 24/7 from any corner of the planet.  If they like a specific style, then they can zoom in and take a closer look at the detail. 

Take a look for yourself… and be sure to click on the “FULLSCREEN” button.   

Wroxeter Update

9 Aug

Hope everyone had a nice weekend.  Weather was great here in Annapolis.  My weekend consisted of boating on Saturday and golfing on Sunday.  Hard to beat.

Anyhow, we decided to take a trip down the Severn River to check out Wroxeter.  I took some picures with my phone and wanted to share them with everyone.   (Sorry for the oversized images.  I know they are outside the lines, but want to give you a close look.)

Also, I learned that the property consists of primarily a large square… which means it extends way back into those woods. There is/was all sorts of courtyards in the back.   For the record, I have not factored out the “this place is haunted” concept.

Will be working on shooting the Virtual Tour this week and will keep everyone posted.  Until then, I’ll be posting some other Virtual Tour related stuff… so check back often.

Also, check out the thread going on over at Laxpower.com…  CLICK HERE

New Virtual Tour: MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate

6 Aug

More on Wroxeter shortly… but wanted to show everyone one of our recent Virtual Tours. 

MacKenzie Commercial is a leader in commercial real estate and you will see their name just about everywhere if you live in the Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, or DC areas.  Whether its office space, warehouses, storefronts, or brand new constructions… they are definitely the dominate force in the area and we’re proud to be associated with them. 

If you are familiar with the Baltimore area… then you know about Hunt Valley transformation.  Over the past 10 years, that place went from being a rundown strip mall with an old movie theater… to a state-of-the-art shopping, dining, and entertaining destination.  Don’t be fooled by the music coming out of the landscaping at the Hunt Valley Towne Center.  They’re not really rocks, as I did a double take the first time I saw heard it.  Somehow they manage to keep it classy, though.  Maybe it’s the extra “e” that they put on the end of “Towne”… Or how they flip-flopped Center for Centre.  Either way, it’s really turned into an upscale shopping center… especially with the addition of a Wegmans a few years back.   

Around the corner is a new Super Wal-Mart… and across the street is the Headquarters for the Spice Giant McCormick and the King of Brands… Procter and Gamble.

Right in the middle of all of this is a brand new 50,000 square foot Class A office building.  Location, Location, Location… this place is perfect.  There is a light rail stop right outside and a upscale hotel next door.  (Ever hear of Marriott Hotels?  Yea, they’re a pretty big deal.) 

So, enough with the backstory… Here is the Virtual Tour.  I’m sure you will like the interactive floorplans and the customized layout that we created for seamless integration to their website. 

If you work in the Commercial Real Estate Industry, you need to be using our Virtual Tours.  Brochures and still images are not doing it anymore and you need to stay ahead of the times.  Give us a call.  Do it.        

 

Wroxeter on the Severn Wins!

3 Aug

(UPDATE AUGUST 4th @ 4:26pm - Make sure you read the comments from Wroxeter Alumni in the comments section of this post.  Good Stuff. ) 

First, thanks to everyone who participated, whether it was commenting on the blog… posting Facebook messages… sending emails… and the several locations that I received over the weekend including the Whitehall Estate.  I appreciate all the contributions. 

 I was looking for the most creative and unique location and I think it must go to Ken who submitted the request to shoot a Virtual Tour for the “Wroxeter on the Severn.”  Growing up in Annapolis, I had always heard about this place… but always imagined it as an abandoned mansion covered in ivy with overgrown surroundings.  I was completely wrong. 

The Wroxeter on the Severn is a 33-room Mansion that is located on the hills of the Severn River, pretty much across the river from Sherwood Forest.  It served as a Prep School back in the 70′s-80′s until it was shut down.  It was known for producing some of the area’s top lacrosse players that went on to revolutionize the sport.  Anyhow, if you’re reading this and went to the school… know about the school… or just want to share some input… click on the comment section below.  Or you can email me at John@unique360tours.com and I will post any info that you want to share.

You can also read more about the place on the post below.  Ken Slunch shared some great info. 

Next step is going to be trying to get a hold of the owner.  I will keep everyone posted, so check back here often.  If you are the owner or alumni that has some information, click on the contact section located on the right side of this page. 

I think my first step is going to be contacting this Facebook group.  Hopefully they will be able to give us a much better look at how it was to go to this Historic Annapolis Landmark.  Feel free to share. 

I’m excited to shoot this Virtual Tour.