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Engagement levels soar for the interactive living history museum Fort Edmonton Park in Canada, who have won an Innovative Use of Technology award for their immersive virtual tour created with creative agency Sticks and Stones.

Step into the past with Fort Edmonton Park’s virtual adventure

“The interest in this project has exceeded our expectations and we have reached far and beyond the number of views we initially planned for.” Lacey Huculak, manager of experience development at the park.

Canadian heritage attraction Fort Edmonton Park worked with marketing and advertising agency Sticks & Stones to make an immersive virtual tour of their living history museum – an experience where the adventure never ends. 

Like the rest of the globe, faced with the impact of Covid-19, the City’s tourism agency was keen to turn local experiences, virtual. Highlighting the forward-thinking nature of the City and encouraging people to come to the park once the world re-opened. 

But how do you engage an audience without them physically standing next to the full-scale 1920s Midway? How do you immerse a viewer when they can’t see, touch or smell the uniqueness of the 1919 steam engine? 

Enticed by the opportunity to do something different, Fort Edmonton Park created the hugely engaging – and endlessly playable – Endless Adventure, a digital, immersive experience in Stornaway.

“Where will you go? It’s up to you” – how to make an immersive virtual tour as unique and engaging as Fort Edmonton Park

First choices in Endless Adventure

“Your journey awaits. Will you find yourself in the middle of a murder mystery on an iconic Stream Train, in an old-fashioned showdown at the classic Mahogany Bar, or perhaps in a chilling late-night Ferris wheel ride with someone familiar on the Midway?

“The question is – where will you go? It’s up to you.”

Fort Edmonton Park is a live attraction in Edmonton, Canada. A Living History Museum with five distinct areas that feature different eras of the city’s past. 

The creative team at Fort Edmonton Park were approached by the local tourism organisation. In direct response to Covid-19 travel restrictions, the agency was interested in partnering with attractions to create virtual experiences.  

Working with a local marketing and advertising agency, Sticks & Stones, inspiration was taken from the Fort Edmonton Park slogan – “Endless Adventure”. The team set out to make an immersive virtual tour. One that uniquely engaged and paralleled the immersive nature of the real-life attraction. 

 “As a living history museum where our guests are transported back in time through immersive hands-on experiences, this was important to us.” – Lacey Huculak, Fort Edmonton Park. 

Endless Adventure presents the audience with endlessly replayable, dreamlike scenarios. Letting them dive into the middle of a murder mystery on an iconic Stream Train, or witness an old-fashioned showdown at the classic Mahogany Bar, or even the spooky late-night Ferris wheel ride on the Midway. Who is that shadowy figure at the top?

The ‘choose your own adventure’ style video places the audience at the centre of the action and gives them choices which make them feel involved. This kind of interactive storytelling has been shown to enable more effective communication with much greater engagement. The audience has to be engaged to move the story forward. 

Using Stornaway.io’s interactive video editor and player to make an immersive virtual tour

“Using Stornaway.io has been incredibly easy. The functionality of embedding our project directly into our website allowed for effective sharing. The ability to track analytics in real-time has provided insight to our marketing team and made reporting simple.”

Sticks & Stones presented the idea of using Stornaway.io to the team at Fort Edmonton Park. Combining gripping storytelling across 3 different stories with 3 distinct styles along with audience decision-making, all connected and able to be played endlessly. 

With Stornaway, the team could do all that. And more!

Screenshot from Endless Adventure - the audience choices appear on the screen

Key Stornaway Feature : Invisible Clickable Hotspots 

By using invisible clickable hotspots, the creative team were able to add the choices directly into the video in the most appropriate style for the setting. 

Just like the soundtrack or the set design, the buttons serve to enhance the feel and genre of the particular story being told.  

Endless Adventure - make an immersive virtual tour, using graphics to enhance genres

To add invisible clickable hotspots to your own projects – watch our short tutorial video or learn more on our help pages.  

“Some consistent feedback we receive is that our experience leans on the creepy side because moments of suspense are woven throughout.” Lacey Huculak, Fort Edmonton Park. 

Stornaway has been designed to enable creators to play and test digital experiences like this immediately. By creating a playable story map in Stornaway, before you have even shot any video, you get to put yourself in the place of your audience and feel what they will feel. Stornaway’s easy story-mapping and instant playback saves time and money and hugely improves the result – no waiting until the end to see how the interactions work.

Endless Adventure - Story map in Stornaway - make an immersive virtual tour in Stornaway

Make your engagement mean something!

Interactivity is proven to increase engagement.  Metrics vary but for example, according to Wirewax, interactive experiences like this have a 20-30% higher conversion rate compared to the average industry benchmark. Whilst according to Demand Metric, interactive content generates 2x more conversions than passive content.

Plus, the Endless Adventure team were told about the emotional responses they’d generated with their interactive experience. 

This is something they knew they could do in the physical park and so they were delighted to see it mirrored in the virtual version. 

“The interest in this project has exceeded our expectations and we have reached far and beyond the number of views we initially planned for. From a brand standpoint, this project looks and feels professional and we are happy to have it under our umbrella of experiences.”

In fact, the project was played so many times that the team had to get more bandwidth! 

Like all businesses working hard to retain customers over the pandemic years, Fort Edmonton Park had to get creative. By leaning into what they do best – immersive storytelling – and by using Stornaway’s intuitive editor – they were able to easily create and deliver a memorable and hugely engaging experience for their audience.

The icing on the cake?

Finally, it’s not only tourists and locals that have been gripped by this unique, immersive virtual tour. Endless Adventure has won an award for Innovative Use of Technology at the ACE advertising awards show.

Congratulations to everyone involved for making such a fantastic project!