COVID-19 has clearly already had a dramatic impact on the Australian Travel Industry… and is likely to continue to have a significant effect for months (and possibly years) to come. Our International borders are likely to be closed to tourism (both incoming and outgoing) for at least 6 months, and the focus for Australian Travel Operators will be very much targeted at Australian Domestic Travel for the foreseeable future.
Virtual Tourism allows potential travellers to view and even interact with travel destinations remotely, from the comfort of their own homes, through the internet… Virtual Tourism provides a “taste” of the travel experience on offer and can play an important part in motivating visitors to make further enquiries, register their contact details, and even make bookings for future travel.
There are various different types of marketing activities available under the Virtual Tourism banner – including Live Streaming and Virtual Tours. Not all are necessarily practical for all Tourism Operators. This post outlines some of the different options for Virtual Tourism options
Tourism Australia is already promoting “Virtual Tourism” extensively and as a part of the Love Australia Project will be running a Live from Aus event consisting of over 30 Live Streamed events will take place over 2 days (16-17th May).
Live Streaming is a great way to showcase specific events and well known personalities, but to be effective does require quite a bit of planning, a LOT of marketing, and is (by definition) only available for a limited period (although events can potentially be recorded and played back later).
Live Streaming is also a “passive” marketing tool… whilst people can sit back and watch it, they don’t typically “participate” in the event itself. Live Streamed events are probably not a viable ongoing marketing option for the average Tourism Operator.
This involves establishing a Live Feed to a 360° video camera
360° Streaming introduces a level of interactivity because visitors can “take control” of their experience… they can look around and zoom into activities that are of specific interest to them
360 LIVE Streaming sounds technical, complicated and potentially expensive… but it doesn’t need to be… A reliable internet connection is required, but the camera itself need only cost a few hundred dollars, and platforms such as Facebook and Youtube offer facilities and advice for setting this up.
Perhaps the most effective form of Virtual Tourism (from a cost, flexibility and usability perspective), is a Virtual Tour.
Virtual Tours are based around a series of 360° Panoramic Photos, which are processed and connected so that peopek, can undertake a remote walkthrough and get a real “taste” of your Australian tourist destination.
Virtual Tours can incorporate a wide range of features and functionality – including : Logo, Branding, Menus, Hotspots (with popups for Information, Image or even videos), Links to your website and much more.
Most importantly a Virtual Tour allows visitors to “take control’ of their experience… they can look at what they want, when they want, and navigate to areas that are of specific interest to them. This control provides an emotional attachment that is simply not possible with static marketing tools like photos or even video alone.
Australian Domestic Tourism
Australia’s Tourism Industry will be dependent on domestic travel by Australians for at least the next 6 months. Australian travellers are already looking forward to being able to safely go on holidays locally and are already planning where they would like to go. It is critical for Tourism Operators to start marketing their travel destination NOW and Virtual Tourism is a very effective way to showcase their offerings and help their destination stand out from the crowd.