Virtual Tours Among Top 5 Marketing Tools
A recent survey of 590 hoteliers and holiday companies by VFM Leonardo Inc in 2010 mentioned either Hotel tours including virtual tours (66%) or, specifically, 360 degree spins/panoramas (49%) as among the top 5 most effective marketing tools available to them on the internet. Their popularity with the public is vast, it is estimated over 5 million virtual tours are viewed online, worldwide, each day.
Many leading hotel chains and brands use virtual tours for marketing. David Attardi, Director of E-Commerce, B.F. Saul Company Hotel Division which owns Hilton, Marriott and InterContinental brands, says, "E-Brochures are great selling tools that let you show off your hotel with professional still shots, 360 virtual tours and HD videos".
Yet many VT hosting companies only allow clients to embed their tours in their own client sites. Panoramic Earth breaks the mould, offering effective Virtual Tour hosting and syndication across the web.
Interactive environments like virtual tours have a much greater impact than static images. Realtor.com, a real estate company, note that properties containing interactive virtual tours get clicked on 40% more than listings without them. Stories of the impact of virtual tours on enquiries are repeated again and again, similar to that of Irfan Rafiq, Marketing Manager of Decorium, a north London conference center, who says, "using 360 virtual tours increased our enquiries by 75%".
The internet is an essential tool for marketing, especially to tourist attractions and travel accommodation. Today, about 75% of all holidays are researched online before being booked and about 60% of holidays are actually booked online. Increasingly the high street travel agent is being bypassed by travelers using the internet.
Consumer surveys reveal that 80% of internet shoppers say images are imperative when deciding to buy or use a company's product or services. Obviously, this has large implications on the travel sector. Good, interactive imagery of the premises and facilities has a powerful impact on visitor numbers and sales.
Sources: metafour, Pew Internet & American Life Study (2006), Gómez, HospitalityNet, VFM Leonardo, Inc, Susan Barber, Business Development section of RISMedia's Real Estate magazine (May 2006)
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