Virtual tours, virtual tours and virtual tours. It’s the buzzword of the travel industry at the moment.

I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it, we all have. Left, right and center, people across the industry are suggesting we all start a virtual tour. And yes, it’s a good idea to create a virtual tour, which is why so many people are recommending it.

It’s great for engaging your customers, it’s great for sustainability, profitability and successful tourism, it’s great for all sorts of things.

Everything else is great, but at the end of the day, we still need to get the cash flowing so we can pull through to when the industry recovers. So, here are some ideas to monetize your virtual tours.

Ideas for monetizing virtual tours

With so many good free virtual tours online, why would anyone pay for yours? As we’ve seen on many groups online, this seems to be the number one barrier for most tour operators. So here are some tips to help you out:

Sell something tangible

This may sound counter-intuitive for selling a virtual tour, however, the issue with selling virtual tours is that your customer cannot put a value on the intangible, especially when there are already so many free alternatives out there.  What you need to do is to anchor a value onto your virtual tours. 

For tour operators

Consider dropshipping low-cost virtual reality goggles with your virtual tour, the kind where your customers could insert their phones into and experience virtual reality. Dropshipping allows for a supplier to send the goggles directly to your customer when you place the order. 

What about the cost? A quick google search shows that on AliExpress for example, you could get one from a supplier anywhere between $1.50 to $5.00 based on the quality. 3rd party VR goggles usually cost about $35 each at retail. By sending out this tangible item, you’re able to anchor the value of $35 to your virtual tour. You could then chuck in the content for the virtual tour as an ‘added bonus’ for free which still leaves you with pretty good margins even after shipping is taken into consideration!

But what about the content? These days, you can purchase a brand new 360 camera for approximately $150 to $250, allowing you to make virtual reality tours where your customers could actually look around and experience your tours like they were there. We get it, given the current circumstances $200 may be a lot, however, you could split the cost with other tour operators in the area. Partner up with them, pass the camera around and sell all those virtual tours as a package. 

For wineries

Consider using live-streaming or conferencing services such as Facebook Live, Zoom, etc. to host live-wine tasting events. If the wines can only be sourced from your winery, partner up with other local operators who have a fleet of vehicles, they could do the deliveries to nearby regions. Otherwise, you can always use postal services to mail out your wines. If the wines are more widely available, order them from larger bottle shops and have them shipped to your customers then add on a management fee for that.

This way, you can anchor value onto your wine tasting virtual tour because of the wine (tangible goods) they receive. At the end of the event, offer discounts to those who’d like to purchase more wine and have it shipped over!

For cooking classes

Similar to wine tasting, you could live-stream your cooking classes. However, in addition to that, you could also partner with other local businesses to have your ingredients delivered. You could also include novelty add-ons specific to each dish such as coconut bowls or clay pots. This will give you more room to anchor prices onto your virtual tours.

At the same time, this also makes their finished dish at the end of the class more aesthetically pleasing, meaning they’ll be more likely to share it with their friends and tell them about your business. 

To close off:

Of course, there are many other ways to monetize your virtual tours. These are just some ideas to get you going. After all, you’ll know your customers better than anyone else. What’s important in these trying times is thinking differently. Look across to different industries, what are they doing differently? Take those ideas back to the tourism space. The live-streaming industry has been booming in recent years, look to platforms like Twitch for inspiration!

If you haven’t already, check out our article on creating live virtual tours.


Written By – Blake Ng– Acquisition & Content Marketing, Rezdy

Blake is a travel videographer with a love for storytelling. He has years of experience in sales and marketing from multiple travel startups and a cricket farm in Cambodia. He is currently a content marketer at Rezdy.