2011 SmallBiz Success Awards

(page 5 of 8)

     Craig Carapelho and 3D Travel plan to launch 3D portals
     in 10 cities in 18 months.
     Photo: Olivier Koning

Most Innovative:
3D Travel, Inc.

Always Something New

“I’m always trying something new,” says entrepreneur Craig Carapelho.

His latest innovation is the Las Vegas site for 3D Travel, Inc., following quickly on July’s launch of the Hawaii site. 3D Travel is his latest and most successful company. Others include Genera Graphics, a generational marketing firm, and his longest running, Team Vision, established 13 years ago as one of Hawaii’s first interactive marketing agencies.

As the world’s first interactive, online three-dimensional travel site, 3D Travel uses Google Earth to create unique virtual tours. For Hawaii, a visitor can “fly” to every island, and, through one-of-a-kind local photos, videos and content, peer into luxury hotels and their amenities, check out the storefronts of nearby shops and the offerings of restaurants, and see where the ocean, mountains and visitor attractions are in context.

“It’s a fabulous travel-planning tool that allows the user to plan and book their visit experience,” says Carapelho. 3D Travel builds on Google Earth’s bird’s-eye view and builds in its own proprietary, ground-level specifics, so visitors will know where the Honolulu Zoo or Prada Waikiki is in relation to their hotel – before they get there.

3D Travel did not experience the spark of imagination and make a great leap of business faith overnight. For three years after first seeing Google Earth, Carapelho mulled over the idea of 3D virtual tours. While running Team Vision full-time, he worked nights and weekends on building a new company, attracting investors and creating a business plan, while his technical team built a prototype – all with no startup funds and limited resources during the recent recession.

A multimillion-dollar investment from Ohana Holdings in 2010 made the idea happen, says Carapelho. A year before the website went live, 3D Travel had presold major hotel brands, including the Hyatt Regency, Starwood and Hilton in Hawaii. It also managed to secure major wholesale and media partners and, eventually, more investors. Las Vegas came on board just five months after the Hawaii launch with major contracts and more funding commitments. Carapelho has plans to launch 3D travel portals in 10 cities in the next 18 months.

“I’ve been the busiest I’ve ever been,” says Carapelho, looking tired from lack of sleep, but pleased with the successful Las Vegas launch. “I’m having fun and happy with where I’m at for now.”

-Gail Miyasaki

3D Travel, Inc.
841 Bishop Street, Suite 300
Honolulu, HI 96813



SmallBiz Sponsors