As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause challenges to the global tourism industry, it’s time to think creatively about new and innovative ways of working to bring in revenue for tour and activity operators.

Live virtual tours, while may not work for everyone’s business, is a workaround you can consider during the pandemic.

What is a live virtual tour in the context of COVID-19?

Consider a live virtual tour a new product opportunity. Show off your experience virtually to people who may have planned to travel, but maybe isolated. People will be looking for online content to consume over this period, so you might pick up new audiences, who in future years may become physical guests.

If you or your guides are in a position to still guide people through your experience (or an adapted version of your experience) via a live video, seize the opportunity. 

How to approach a live virtual tour during COVID-19

In terms of practical set up, you’ll want a video solution that would diarise a session for attendees time, and allow for interactive feedback from your virtual guests if they have questions along the way.

Given that this is a volume game, remember you should consider larger groups but at a low rate. Remember, people will travel again. Your business is effectively providing a taster, so at a later stage, they can come and experience your offering in person. 

Tools that can help you facilitate a live virtual tour

Zoom – Zoom is a video conferencing tool. If you choose their ‘webinar’ option, you’ll be able to guide your ‘virtual tour’ live, allow questions, and create sessions in your diary. You may also want to have a guide take the tour, while another answers customer questions.

Hangouts – Hangouts is a Google extension. While it is a little more clunky than Zoom, it will connect effectively to your Gmail, Google Calendar and so on. You would create a calendar invite, and share the Hangout link with clients that book.

Live Social Instagram Live, Facebook Live, LinkedIn Live and Whatsapp  Groups all offer similar solutions. However, one of the challenges you may face is gating the ticketing component of members attending a ‘virtual tour.’ Consider these platforms more of opportunities to facilitate teasers, rather than a solution to make it work for you specifically.

Struggling for ideas on how this might work for you?

Cooking class:

  • Create a product with session time and a price
  • For confirmed guests, send them a shopping list so they can order the ingredients (be flexible and consider shortages)
  • Do a live virtual cooking with people from all over the world
  • Add a package of recipes as an add on that a guest could buy after their ‘virtual tour’

Wine tour:

  • Create a product with session time and a price
  • For confirmed guests, send a series of easily obtainable wine types that they can order in their local destination
  • During your live virtual tour, think more broadly about how you would describe them. For example, describe the qualities of a Merlot, rather than a specific brand and vintage
  • Send an offer for your products after the tour

Attraction tour:

  • Create a product with session time and a price (if it remains possible, based on your local government advice)
  • For confirmed guests, send a link that will have a guide walk through the attraction stopping at points of interest as they normally would at a given time.
  • Consider having a second guide online that can field questions from ‘virtual guests’
  • Send an offer afterward that invites ‘virtual guests’ to come physically when they can

So you decided to set up a virtual event? Here are 5 things to consider when planning your virtual event.

Looking for more inspiration on creating a ‘live virtual tour’? compiled a list of 12 museums across the world who are already offering similar services. Read the article here.

Please note; we recommend following the advice of your local government to ensure that you and your business are following the guidelines provided.

If you found ‘Creating live virtual tours: A guide for tour operators to generate business during COVID-19′ useful, you may also like ‘The Tour Operators Guide to Surviving an Economic Downturn (9 Tips)’.

Written By – Ricki Hudson – Marketing Manager – Partnerships & Acquisition, Rezdy

Ricki has worked at Rezdy since 2018. Ricki has nearly 15 years of marketing experience, predominantly in the tourism sector. Ricki is passionate about helping the sector grow through strong eco-systems and networks to the betterment of the industry.



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