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How can you start selling virtual tours today?

The Bókun Team • April 13, 2020

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The global coronavirus pandemic has put a standstill on the travel industry with grounded flights and country-wide lockdowns around the world. We understand that this is an unthinkably difficult time for any travel business, which is why we wanted to share an idea that could benefit your business and help travelers get through the boredom of self-isolation at the same time.

Have you considered getting through this unprecedented time and generating a new revenue stream for your business by offering virtual tours and experiences which travelers can book online? This could be anything from TED talks to guitar lessons, from yoga classes to cooking tutorials. Virtual experiences give you the opportunity to interact with travelers safely from home and will give travelers a reason to come back and book with you again when travel resumes.

Here’s how you can get started…

Tweak what you already do to make it virtual-friendly

  • Food Tours -> Virtual cooking classes

Does your business provide food tours and experiences? You could consider offering virtual cooking classes. Or a virtual wine tasting. Yes, your customer won’t be eating your food and drinking your wine, but you can guide them and teach them everything they need to know to have an amazing foodie adventure at home.

  • Photo Tours -> Photo editing workshops

We recently spoke to a tour operator who sells photo tours who is pivoting to offer virtual photo editing workshops. We love this because it is something the tour operator is passionate about and already does on a daily basis.

  • Boat Tour -> Virtual immersive experience

We work with a boat tour operator who is in the process of attaching some cameras to his boat and selling virtual tours as he drives the boat. The traveler will feel like they’re actually on the water — from the comfort of their couch!

  • Multilingual tour guides -> Language tutoring

You probably already offer tours in different languages. Do you speak a second (or third, fourth, fifth) language? Consider selling 1:1 lessons in another language. You don’t need to be a professional teacher to help people learn conversational phrases.

You and your tour guides are your biggest asset. Your stories, your anecdotes, and your humor are what travelers remember from their trip. Are you or someone on your staff an aspiring comedian, musician, or fitness buff? Consider promoting and selling virtual events or workshops conducted by you and/or your staff.

Need more inspiration? Look to these virtual tours for ideas; these tour operators have all recently pivoted their businesses to offer virtual versions of their products:

https://www.viator.com/collections/virtual-tours-around-the-world/c148

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/s/experiences

Virtual does not mean complicated technology

To get started, all you need is yourself, a device with a camera such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop, and video conferencing tool to make your experience products virtual.

Simply follow our top tips for hosting a virtual experience:

  • Prepare your customers – Be sure to share any requirements prior to the event, such as a grocery list for cooking class or a list of equipment needed.
  • Set your surroundings – Ensure you have sufficient lighting, good sound and a clean background. While a personal touch is always recommended, we’d suggest moving dirty laundry out of sight!
  • Highlight the stars of the show – Regardless of what you’re offering, make sure your audience can clearly see what is important, whether that’s the perfect yoga pose or the strings of your guitar.
  • Get a head start – Make sure that all your equipment works before your experience starts. Do a quick test call with a friend or colleague ahead of time — you don’t want to keep your customers waiting.
  • …and most importantly: Stay true to yourself , build rapport and engage with your customers, just as you would face-to-face.

Start marketing your virtual experience

Now you just need somewhere to sell your virtual experience. Don’t have a website? We recently launched the Bókun Website Builder to help operators like you sell your products and experiences, including virtual experiences, online.

  • Offering cooking classes? Your website could boast with vibrant images and videos of delicious food and recipes, just like this one .
  • If social events and concerts are more your thing, you can promote and sell your events with a bolder approach like this .

(Both of these websites were created in minutes using the Bókun Website Builder.)

Whatever it is you’re offering, you can tailor your website to your business needs with the easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editor. You can build your website in minutes, and it includes 24/7 support from our dedicated team. With the Bókun Website Builder , you’ve got everything you need to manage and grow your online presence — no coding skills needed.

Or if you already have a website, we recommend adding the Bókun online booking engine “widget” to your site so you can start taking (virtual) bookings.

Once you have your website up and running and selling your virtual product, promote it by sharing the link to your customer base via email or across social media channels.