There are numerous lessons that COVID-19 taught the travel industry – and the benefits of live virtual tours is one of the most prominent and innovative tourism ideas of the 2020s.

Virtual tourism provides people with the opportunity to instil the wonder of travel into their everyday lives. Viewers of virtual tours can embark on a grand journey from Machu Picchu to the Swiss Alps with just a click of their finger.

Of course, virtual tours will never be able to replace travel but they are a fantastic intermediary for circumstances that don’t permit travel, such as our everyday lives or changing public health restrictions.

While they may not work for everyone’s business, live virtual tours can help you broaden your tour or activity business’ online reach and break into a new platform rife with opportunities. With consistent dedication, virtual tours can become an integral part of your broader tour and travel marketing strategy.

What are live virtual tours?

Live virtual tours allow people to virtually experience new places all from the comfort of their own home. These types of virtual experiences took off during lockdown periods across the world, as people looked to replace their canceled travel plans with a digital alternative.

From reaching new audiences who may in future years become physical guests to broadening public awareness of your business and location, there are numerous benefits of offering live virtual tours.

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, you should definitely consider seizing the opportunity to create a virtual tour for your business.

Tools you’ll need to create a virtual tour

You don’t need access to a Hollywood budget or Oscar-winning cinematography skills to create a virtual tour that is both memorable and engaging.

Here are some of the tools and equipment you can use to make a virtual tour:

Fast internet connection

Perhaps it’s obvious, but before you create a virtual tour you’ll first need a reliable internet connection. Internet connection will not only allow you to stream your tour, but also arrange bookings on your online travel booking platform and promote the tour in advance.

High-quality camera

To create a high-quality virtual tour, you’ll first need a capable camera that can capture clear visuals. Nobody wants to watch a tour that has been filmed on a flip phone from 2006.

Luckily, modern-day smartphones are more than capable of rising to the challenge. If you want to provide a completely high-quality experience, you can use a dedicated digital 4K video camera or an HD action camera to capture your footage.

Tripods, gimbals, or mounts

Even if you’re filming a virtual whale watching tour, you don’t want to recreate the atmosphere of seasickness. Tripods, gimbals, and mounts can compensate for the movements that come with holding a camera, such as shaking hands or small stumbles.


While drones aren’t a ‘must’, they can add an element of wonder to your virtual tour. If you are organizing something nature-based, consider renting or using a drone to incorporate a birds-eye view into your virtual tour.


Narration can help you deal with the troublesome background noise that your camera will pick up as you film your tour. By removing raw footage, you can incorporate crisp and clear narration that’s absent of white noise overtones.

If you find that your camera microphone is sufficient, you might not need a microphone. However, if you notice that your camera dulls the quality of your audio, consider purchasing a microphone to record your narration separately.

Social platforms with live events

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.

Webinar software

If you want to steer away from social media, webinar software such as Zoom and Meet can be a good option.

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.

Meet is a Google extension that will connect effectively to your Gmail, Google Calendar, and so on. With Meet, you would create a calendar invite, and share the Meet link with clients that book.

Tips on how to film a virtual tour

Knowing how to make a virtual tour can be tricky if you haven’t had previous experience with filming content. To help you create a virtual tour that’s both engaging for viewers and fun to make, here are our best tips you should keep in mind when you create a virtual tour.

Record tours in landscape mode

It’s better to film in landscape mode rather than portrait mode. Landscape allows you to capture more visuals and will also look more aesthetically pleasing on your viewer’s devices in comparison to portrait mode.

Be mindful of lighting when recording

When it comes to videos, lighting single handedly has the power to make or break your video. Watch out for strong rays of sunlight, which can overexpose your footage and leave it looking washed out.

Try to film with your back facing the source of light. You can also make small alterations to the light exposure when editing your footage.

Pay attention to background noise

Consider incorporating a voiceover to remove the white noise of the background. If you need to film with raw background noise, try filming at a certain time of the day that will offer less distracting background noise.

Get experienced guides to provide voiceovers and commentary

The primary purpose of your virtual tour is to be engaging. Rambling without a structured approach to your commentary will confuse the viewer and detract from their enjoyment. In addition to removing distracting background noise, experienced guides can provide your tour with a level of expertise and engagement that your viewers will appreciate.

Collaboration and partnership in tourism can help broaden your audience and unlock new opportunities to join forces with other leading figures in the industry.

Highlight the best parts of your chosen attraction

Try not to focus on the little details. Incorporate the best parts of your tour that are more suited to appearing on video. What do people like most about your tours?

Offer informative Q&A sessions for viewers

Try to mimic the interactive nature of your tours by offering Q&A sessions where you answer your customer’s real-time questions.

Try offering live virtual tours for free

As the world slowly gets back on track after the pandemic, live virtual tours are serving a different purpose than they did in 2020. Live virtual tours will never replace genuine travel experiences but they can also act as an advertising tool.

Live virtual tours can give viewers a taste of your tour. By showing them the highlights, you can encourage them to envision what it would be like to actually experience your tour.

Collaborate with travel content creators for live tours

Travel content creators can provide a unique opportunity to spread the word (or view) of your tour. Consider partnering with a content creator to advertise or collaborate with you on your virtual tour. Learn more about collaborating with travel content creators here:

How to create a virtual tour that complements your business

Depending on the nature of your tour or activity business, your live tours will look different. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Virtual heritage site visit

Content can be as simple as taking a leisurely stroll through a scenic part of the world or visiting a world heritage site. Such videos allow your viewer to travel vicariously through your tour. Consider incorporating a voiceover to narrate certain facts about the site you are visiting.

Yoga with a virtual view

By partnering with a yoga instructor, you can film yoga classes amongst scenic surroundings. Yoga classes help draw in a new audience, building brand awareness amongst new potential customers.

Mountain climbing at home

Consider filming a video that could be used on a treadmill or with other gym equipment. Filming mountain climbing or hikes fosters the illusion that the viewer is actually exploring your site for themselves rather than exercising in a stagnant setup.

Online cooking class

Even if you don’t normally offer cooking-related activities, online cooking classes are a great way to reach an engaged audience looking for something to do. A virtual cooking class involves sending your guests a list of the ingredients and then cooking alongside them in a real-time cooking class.

Virtual whale (or other animal) watching

If your tour or travel company is nature-based, consider using a live camera feed to showcase your site. Alternatively, you can film a regular tour with a voiceover to give your viewers a taste of what your actual tour would be like to experience in person.

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