Why Virtual Resort Tours Are The Future of Travel and Tourism Marketing

The property industry is experiencing a revolution in the way properties are marketed to clients. However, property is not limited to that which is purchased, or even rented. Virtual resort tours are also revolutionising resort marketing in the Travel and Tourism industry.

Real estate agents are already well-aware of the difference that virtual tours of properties can make. People currently view between 10 and 15 properties in person before choosing the one they wish to proceed with, and 360 photography has made a substantial impact on reducing this number, saving time and money for all parties. 

In the tourism market, there is not, of course, the opportunity to tour resorts and locations before booking a holiday. But virtual resort tours do the next best thing - they allow holidaymakers to experience a destination in immersive detail, to gain a sense of space, and - perhaps most importantly - to engage emotionally with a location before handing over their money.

Shopping For Holidays In Three Dimensions

Choosing a holiday resort based on flat photographs has been, for decades, the only way for customers to get a sense of a place. And, as anyone who has booked a holiday knows, often the reality fails to live up to the photographs. Clever camera angles and wide-angle lenses can distort the dimensions of a hotel room, for example, whilst photo retouching can make things seem much rosier than they really are. 360-degree photography significantly reduces this problem. A potential holidaymaker can look around a resort from all angles, gaining a much truer sense of space, seeing all around - not just what the photographer wants the viewer to focus on.

360 degree photos also bridge the emotional gap that exists between a viewer and the image. People know that, with a flat photograph, they are only seeing that which has been presented, and they know that it will have been set up to look a certain way. Of course, the same is true of a 360-degree image, as the room or space has been styled for optimum impact. However, it is much easier to overlook careful styling when you feel as though you are immersed in that space yourself. Not only do the dimensions of a space appear truer to life, so too does the entire scene.

Virtual Resort Tours on Social Media

Social media is also facilitating the move to virtual resort tours in tourism marketing. Since Facebook enabled 360 photo and video sharing on its platform, it has become incredibly simple for travel companies to put their resorts and destinations in front of more people than ever before. The interactive nature of 360 photos on social media further adds to their appeal. In a world where we are continuously scrolling through our news feeds hoping for something to catch our eye, the ability to reach out and move an image with our own finger or mouse pointer is a game changer.


It is that call-to-action, that magic engagement, that drives social media marketers to seek out ever more innovative ways to reach bored social media scrollers. A travel company can share a 360-degree ‘sneak peek’ of one area of a resort, accompanied by a message to click on a link to view a full virtual resort tour on the website. Once the viewer has reached the website, they can not only view the full tour of the resort in 360-degrees, they are also presented with the in-depth written information to back it up. Virtual resort tours can be hosted directly on a travel company’s website, and also now via some mainstream bookings websites, such as Expedia. 

85% of holidaymakers now consider the internet their main source of travel planning; the average traveler visits some 22 travel related sites during 9.5 research sessions prior to booking (Google ThinkInsights, 2011). An extensive study for Omni Hotels found that when online visitors were offered 360 virtual resort tours they were 67% more likely to book a room online. A similar study by Ice Portal and Hotel-Seekers.com found overall average bookings increased by 18%. 

There has, therefore, been a surge in uptake of virtual resort tours as the technology has developed. It won’t be long before traditional, two-dimensional photography in tourism marketing just simply will not cut it anymore. The figures given above speak for themselves. You’ll note that the Google ThinkInsights figures were generated in 2011, and since then, reliance on the web for travel bookings has continued to grow with each passing year. By offering the latest technology in 360 virtual resort tours, resorts and travel companies stand to gain considerably - and the sooner they get on board, the more those gains will be.