With COVID still having dramatic effects on the Australian Tourism industry – and no realistic end in site to travel restrictions, tour operators need to be creative about how they showcase their services and facilities as a Tourist destination.
Overseas Visitors in any significant volume are still months (if not years) away, and unpredictable border closures and restrictions on interstate travel are making Australians nervous to plan too far ahead for travel within Australia.
More and more Australians are looking for tourism opportunities within their own state, and are often considering less well known or frequented travel destinations to intentionally avoid travel hotspots.
Opportunities for Regional Tourism
This presents a fantastic opportunity for regional tourism operators to promote their services to travellers within their own state (in the short term) , and build up the awareness of their offerings to Interstate and Overseas travellers in the longer term.
There are however some challanges to overcome :
- Facilities – it is critical that tourists gain confidence that facilities and services available in remote and or regional areas are at least adequate for their needs… whilst regional tourists aren’t necessarily expecting the full range of services they would get in “the big smoke” (and in fact that is part of the “charm” of regional travel)… they want to know that at least the basics are covered. A Virtual Tour is a great way for visitors to et a “taste” of the facilities and services that are in offer.
- Distance – Australia is BIG and travellers don’t necessarily want to spend their whole holidays on the road or travel long distances to be disappointed. A Virtual Tour gives visitors a very good idea of what to expect.
- Volume – Regional Areas (particularly those off the beaten track) don’t have the volume of visitors that larger more established tourism destinations deal with – so they have to strive harder to be noticed. You need to make the most out of he visitors you do get, and a Virtual Tour helps you stand out from the crowd and be identified as a place worth visiting.
- Available Attractions – Regional Tourists like to plan their holiday, so they want to know what attractions are available in the area/s they visit.. how to get there.. and what they have on offer. A Virtual Tour can show what natural attractions and man made tourism facilities are available, and where they are in relation to each other.
Virtual Tourism for Regional Travel
Virtual Tours offer a fantastic way to showcase Tourism Opportunities for Regional areas. A Virtual Tour like the simple one below gives potential visitors a “taste” of what is on offer around the Coonamble Region in Central NSW :
The above tour is a reasonably simple example… It offers fairly standard Virtual Tour functionality, but could be extended or customised in many ways :
- Aerial Views – are fantastic way to show attractions spread across a large area and provide visitors with an overview of what to expect
- Hotspots – Traditionally Virtual Tours are navigated using arrows or icons… but you can also add custom hotspots which popups to be displayed when clicked. Many types of content can be displayed as a pop including Web pages or Forms / Photos / Video / PDFs / Info Boxes / Audio … and more…
- Custom Maps – you can display the location of nodes on a Google map, or on a customised map image
- 360° Video – locations that have visually interesting movement (e.g. creeks and waterfalls, animals, mining operations, etc…) can be displayed as 360° video
- Audio Background – any node can have an audio background to provide a commentary or background sound ( flowing water, bird song, pub atmosphere, etc…)
- Online Bookings – you can link to a web based booking system or form to create a popup for bookings or enquiries
- Direct Links to Operators – Can provide links to any web page – as a popup or as a new web browser tab
- Display vs Interactive Mode – The Virtual Tour could be setup as a simple display on a video screen or in a Visitor Information center, or could be used in an interactive mode to allow visitors to take control and navigate as they wish via their Desktop Mobile Phone or even a VR Headset
- Re-use Content – As well as 360° Photos which form the core of most Virtual Tours you can also incorporate your existing digital content – Photos / Videos / PDFs / Information and more
- Easily Extended/Updated – Virtual Tour can easily be modified, upgrade and extended over time as attractions change
Virtual Tours for Regional Tourism
There are many types of Virtual Tours that could be created, however here are a few ideas specifically relevant for Reginal Tourism :
- Tourist Information Centre – A Virtual Tour could be presented as a simple display on a Video Wall, and could be switched to Interactive mode for visitors to take control. It could also be embedded into a website, or emailed as a link to potential visitors.
- Road Trip – A Virtual Road Trip – featuring aerial 360° panoramas and ground based hotspots could give visitors to the region a real sense of the variety of attractions on offer and where they are in relation to each other and local landmarks
What Does a Virtual Tour Cost?
Prices for 360° Photos or a Virtual Tour start from as little as $120 for an Individual Photosphere (which can be published to Google Maps or embedded into a website) ranging up to several thousand dollars for a large sophisticated and feature rich Standalone Virtual Tour.
Costs will vary depending on the size and layout of the areas you’d like to include in the virtual tour… how you want it to be used,… and the features and functionality you would like to offer. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you create a Virtual Tour, give Andy a call on 0403 023 223 or Contact Us.