A virtual tour is essentially a simulated version of a particular place, usually consisting of a series of visual images or videos. It can also include other multimedia components like voice-over narration, musical score, and even text. In addition to this, it differs from a real-time tele-tourism in the sense that it is usually controlled by a computer and operated with the assistance of a human operator. The actual physical presence of the participants is restricted to the mouse, a keyboard and a mouse pointer. As a result, the virtual tour becomes the very first and foremost feature of any interactive media or website.
Live TV can also be termed as a form of virtual tour. However, unlike other types of interactive media, the viewer is not really required to physically be present to enjoy the program. In fact, he/she is given access to the program through a remote link provided by the station or satellite or cable television. Thus, it’s actually more similar to a virtual walkthrough and the viewer is just an avatar, a digital representation of himself/herself.
A virtual tour can be quite effective in the field of tourism. For instance, it can be used by hotels to showcase their different areas, provide visitors with a tour of their hotel facilities, show the best views from the rooms, and much more. It can also be used by tourist agencies to make the vacation more fun, memorable and exciting for their clients.
Another very popular use of virtual tours is for corporate and non-profit organizations alike. These are often used by companies to promote new products, services, events, etc. Since they are interactive and are a great way to engage the public, virtual tours have become a popular tool for many business entities, especially non-profit organizations. They help them establish a strong marketing strategy through engaging the target market, especially if they are already in operation.
The biggest advantage of using virtual tours is that they are relatively inexpensive compared to traditional forms of advertising like brochures, banners, posters, and billboards. Thus, they are a very cost-effective form of advertising. Also, since there are no physical products or services being sold, they are cheaper than other forms of advertising.
The most important thing to remember is that while virtual tours can be a great way to increase your online visibility, they should never be confused with other forms of online marketing such as email campaigns. This is because many online companies use the term interchangeably with each other and end up confusing people.