Virtual Tourism … The Way of the Future ??

A local Brisbane/Qld newspaper (The Courier Mail) has been running a very interesting series of articles over the last couple of weeks entitled “Future Tourism”. The series of articles has been focused on a whole range of tourism events and activities planned for Queensland in the future, and highlight a wealth of growth potential for Qld Tourism.

Many of the traditional “favourite” tourist activities have been covered in the Future Tourism series :

  • Eco Tourism – “Green” friendly walks, treks, accommodation and experiences, particularly around the Scenic Rim and Moreton Bay
  • Outback Tourism – Highlighting all the amazing activities and events available throughout QLDs regional areas
  • Indigenous Tourism – an increased focus on Indigenous focused activities and tourism

However one area of tourism which has not yet been heavily explored, and which I believe is the “way of the future” is Virtual Tourism.

What is Virtual Tourism

Essentially “Virtual Tourism” describes a whole range of technologies which allow you to “experience” an activity, location or event, from the comfort of your own home (or mobile device).

The aim of Virtual Tourism is not so much to replace the actual experience of visiting a tourist destination or event, but to give you a “taste” of the experience – and encourage you to visit it in real life.

Saying that, for those that are, for whatever reason, not able to physically visit a tourism destination, (e.g. as a result of time, geographical, financial or physical constraints), Virtual Tourism may offer a serious alternative.

The types of technologies normally associated with Virtual Tourism are primarily 360° Photos/Videos and Virtual Tours… In a previous post entitled Using 360° Imagery and Virtual Tours to Promote Tourism we provide more information about the technology and a whole lot of examples.

These technologies can be experienced by using a Desktop, Mobile Device or even via a Virtual Reality Headset.

Virtual Tourism Benefits

There are many advantages that Virtual Tourism technologies have to offer over traditional marketing techniques :

  • Innovation – Virtual Tours still provide an impressive “wow” factor – particular when coupled with aerial imagery
  • Connectivity & Accessibility – Provide a “spatial awareness” which is not possible with most other forms of marketing. Virtual Tours can be used by anyone with internet access via a variety of devices (mobile, desktop, VR Headset)…
  • Experiential  & Interactive – Offer an “experience” based interface, where users get to Interact and actually participate.  The user gets to experience what they want, when and how they want to (rather than be forced along a predefined/guided journey) and this provides a level of emotional attachment not available through traditional media (photos and video)
  • Inspirational – Offer a “taste” of the experience and provide insights into what is on offer, which very often results in a “I want to see more” moment. 
  • Curated Content – A Virtual Tour provides a framework which can be used to present a wide variety of other content (Images, Galleries,. Video, Stories, Information, Links, etc…)
  • Recyclable – although custom 360° imagery may be required it is also possible to re-use existing assets by incorporating and referencing pre-existing content
  • Extendable – Virtual Tours can very easily be updated, modified and improved to update, add or remove activities and experiences

See for Full Screen version

Virtual Tourism for Your Tourism Business

If you’d like to find out more about how Virtual Tourism could be used to promote your Travel Destination, Events or Activities, please give Andy a call on 0403 023 223 … or Contact Us.

Using 360° Imagery and Virtual Tours to Promote Tourism

Virtual Tours, 360° Photos and 360° Video offer unique, innovative and interactive marketing opportunities. Tourism Operators and agencies are increasingly using these technologies to more effectively showcase the locations, facilities and events that they offer to tourists.

Benefits of 360° Imagery

360° Photos, Video and Virtual Tours offer a collection of unique benefits which make them extremely effective at showcasing and promoting tourism based activities and events :

  • Innovation – Offer a very impressive “wow” factor – particular when coupled with aerial imagery
  • Connectivity & Accessibility – Provide a spatial awareness which is not possible with most other forms of marketing. Virtual Tours can be used by anyone with internet access via a variety of devices (mobile, desktop, VR Headset)…
  • Experiential  & Interactive – Offer an “experience” based interface, where users get to Interact and actually participate. This provides a level of emotional attachment not available through traditional media (photos and video)
  • Inspirational – Offer a “taste” of the experience and provide insights into what is on offer, which very often results in a “I want to see more” moment. 
  • Recycle – Virtual Tours are able to incorporate and reference existing content (information, Photos, Video, Stories, Links, Audio, etc…) .
  • Extendable – can very easily be updated, modified and improved to update or add extra activities and experiences

The Tabs below provide examples of different ways (primarily in South East Queensland) that 360° Imagery has been used for promoting Tourism :

360° Photos
Aerial 360s
360° Video
Google Virtual Tours
Standalone Virtual Tours
Street View

Individual 360° Photos (Panospheres) provide an interactive 360° experience allowing users full control to look around (tilt, pan and zoom).

Click and Drag an image to move around

Over 100,000 views per year

Panospheres can be uploaded directly to Google Maps, Social Media, or 3rd party Tourism sites such as Expedia or Tripadvisor

Aerial 360° Panospheres provide a unique “overhead” perspective on a location. The best quality aerial photos consist of multiple photographs taken with a drone or UAV and processed to create a single high quality 360° aerial photo.

Aerial 360s offer a unique way to show a large area and, when incorporated into a virtual tour, offer a fantastic framework for showcasing tourist destinations.

Click and Drag an image to move around

25,000+ Views in 10 months

360° Video has developed a bot of a reputation for being poor quality, and complex (and expensive) to produce… however recent technological advances have resulted in dramatic quality improvements and significant cost reductions – making it accessible to even low budget marketing campaigns.

Virtual Tours published to Google are directly available via Google Search and Google Maps, and can be embedded into a website, social media.. or emailed as a link. However Google Virtual Tours have relatively limited features.

Click and Drag an image to move around

Standalone Virtual Tours are often one of the most effective ways to promote tourism as they give you much more control of the experience. They also offer a wide range of features such as :

  • Logo/Branding
  • Custom Icons
  • Menu Navigation
  • External Links
  • a variety of Hotspots and popup capabilities (e.g. Photo, Gallery, Video, Audio)
  • Auto-rotation
  • and much much more.

Click and Drag an image to move around

See for Full Screen version

See for Full Screen version

See for Full Screen version

Usually Street View functionality would only be available once the Google Street View car has visited your area… but for new or remote locations this may take years (if at all)… It is however possible to create and publish to Google Maps a Virtual Tour which replicates the Street View experience.

Click and Drag an image to move around

What Does it Cost ?

Costs will vary depending on the location, the size and layout of the area/s you want covered, and the features/functionality that you’d like to include… Prices start from as little as $100 for a single 360° panosphere up to thousands of dollars for large sophisticated standalone virtual tours.

We would typically be able to provide a ballpark figure once we have spoken to you, but may need to undertake a site visit to provide you with a formal quote.

Find Out More…

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you to incorporate 360° Photos, Video or Virtual Tours into your Tourism Marketing Campaign, please give Andy a call on 0403 023 223 or Contact Us.

How Local Councils are using Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours, 360° Photos and 360° Video offer unique, innovative and interactive ways of marketing. Local, Regional and City Councils are increasingly using these technologies to more effectively showcase the locations, facilities and events that they provide to residents and visitors.

The Tabs below provide examples of different Virtual Tour projects used by Councils in South East Queensland :

Community Halls
Parks & Playgrounds
Special Events
Suburban Experiences

Many Local Councils have Community Halls, buildings or community spaces that are available for hire by local residents, for a variety of community and private activities – from hobby or charity based activities through to birthday parties and wedding receptions.

It takes a significant amount of resources to manage these spaces, often with quite a lot of time and expense involved with marketing and managing bookings – particularly when potential hirers wish to “inspect” the spaces prior to bookings.

A Virtual Tour is a fantastic way to showcase the capabilities of a particular venue and specific spaces within each venue – and can save significant time, effort and costs associated with visual inspections prior to booking.

Community Hall Virtual Tours can be published direct to Google (as a Google StreetView Virtual Tour)and then embedded into the booking page/s on your website – or sent to potential hirers by email as a link.

More sophisticated Standalone Virtual Tours which offer many more features and capabilities, could also be used for a more sophisticated approach to marketing and booking your local community spaces.

Parks, Playgrounds, and Sporting Fields are significant assets for Local Councils… and provide fantastic amenity for local residents and visitors, but incur significant maintenance and management costs – and are often under-utilised.

One of the main issues with the use of community spaces likes parks is promoting what services and facilities are actually available. Residents who live in the immediate vicinity are often aware and make use of these spaces, but those living in the wider community and visitors to the area are often oblivious to the great facilities that are often available.

Google Virtual Tours can be created and are accessible direct from Google Maps…(or can be embedded into a local council website), and Standalone Virtual Tours offer a range of more sophisticated features such as Branding/Menu Navigation/Popup Information Hotspots and External Links.

See Full Screen View Here :

360° photos (particularly aerial 360°photos) are very effective at showing off parks and playgrounds and where they are located in relation to the neighbourhood and other community facilities.

Whether it is a one-off Special Occasion, an Annual Event, or a recurring local activity, Virtual Tours can provide a unique and innovative way to promote Special Events.

By providing potential visitors with an insight into what is on offer, a virtual tour can not only make the event accessible to a much wider audience, but encourage more people to attend physically.

Because of the unique nature of special events, a Standalone Virtual Tour is probably the best option, because they provide greater control and flexibility.

See Full Screen View Here :

As well as offering facilities and services for local residents, attracting visitors (as well as new businesses and residents) is a key role of any council.

Promoting tourism to the various local attractions is therefore a VERY important function of councils.

Virtual Tours are a fantastic way to showcase the various attractions and facilities a region has to offer to tourists and visitors as well as local residents.

See Full Screen View Here :

See Full Screen View Here :

Using a Virtual Tour to showcase a particular Suburb, Region or Area, provides an interactive visual tool, which gives great spatial awareness (so users can see which activities/facilities are where in relation to locations they may be familiar with) but also, (because they are “in control” of the experience) forms a much higher emotional attachment than is possible with traditional marketing tools such as photos or videos.

See Full Screen View Here :

Get a Virtual Tour

If you’d like to find out more about how Virtual Tours and 360° Photos and Video could be used to promote events, facilities, and services within your local council area, please give Andy a call on 0403 023 223 … or Contact Us.

Hervey Bay Esplanade – A Virtual Tour

My dad has lived in Hervey Bay for more than 20 years, so I manage to get to “visit” several times a year and feel fairly connected to the area. One of the things I Love about Hervey Bay is “The Esplanade” – a 16km stretch of road along the waterfront, Gatakers Bay in the north-west to Urangan Boat Harbour in the south-east – with plenty of Parks, Piers, Cafes and Restaurants in between and spanning the ‘suburbs’ of Urangan, Shelly Beach, Torquay, Scarness, Pialba and Point Vernon.

I decided that a Virtual Tour – incorporating Aerial 360° panoramas as well as traditional panospheres, would be an ideal way to showcase The Esplanade – as well as showing some of the amazing capabilities a Standalone Virtual Tour has to offer the Tourism Industry.

On a recent (Easter 2019) visit, I did a series of photoshoots, and despite the weather not being ideal (windy and sporadic showers), over a few days, I managed to get enough decent photos to create the following virtual tour.

See for Full Screen version

This tour is not yet complete (there are a number of extra aerial panospheres I would like to do) and includes some photos taken on overcast days (which should probably be re-shot in beautiful sunny conditions), but it does, I think, provide an interesting, innovative, interactive and unique insight into the Hervey Bay Esplanade and what it has to offer.

Curiocity Brisbane – Interactive Virtual Tour

Curiocity Brisbane – a series of science, art and technology “experiences” spanning the Brisbane River will be on display for 20 days (15 March to 3rd April 2019).

One-of-a-kind installations, pop-ups and interactive spaces crafted by local and international artists, technicians and makers will be available for everyone to explore.

From New Farm Park, under the Story Bridge, right through to Brisbane’s South Bank, 16 different experiences will be operating.

The theme of this event is for a fully immersive, sensory experience for everyone, and how better can this be achieved than through an interactive Virtual Tour ??

An Unofficial Virtual Tour

Despite the obvious synchronicity between a Virtual Tour and the Curiocity Brisbane event, a Virtual Tour was not unfortunately offered (or even considered ??) as one of the ways Curiocity Brisbane could be experienced. I have therefore taken it upon myself to create and publish my own virtual tour – making these experiences available, not just in Brisbane, but also throughout, Queensland, Australia and the whole world (without actually having to visit the Brisbane CBD at all).

This is also an awesome project to showcase some of the more sophisticated capabilities of a Standalone Virtual Tour.

Here is the current version of my Curiocity Brisbane Virtual Tour

See for Full Screen version

Work in Progress

Note: this virtual tour could obviously only be photographed and therefore created once the individual installations were in place (which didn’t actually happen until after 15 March)… to add to the problems the first few days of the event were very wet and stormy (raindrops and fisheye lenses just don’t play nicely together), so this Tour is a Work In Progress… here is a brief update of the process/progress :

  • 14 March – Wet and Overcast – visited Story Bridge sites (Astronauts, Da Vinci’s Dream, Moon Drops) – installations still under construction. Visited Howard Smith Wharf (Something Fishy) – photographed and shot an Aerial 360
  • 15 March – Wet and Overcast – photographed Panospheres for Astronauts, Da Vinci’s Dream, Moon Drops, SuperNova. Too wet for Aerial Panos
  • 16- 18 March – Processed Panos, used some existing Aerial 360s and published 1st draft to
  • 19 March – 1st Sunny day for a week 🙂 – Photographed Panos for Fibonacci Spiral, Scatter (also recorded audio), Dynamo, Shadowgram, Tag It, Sky Brisbane, 2 x Aerial 360s for South Bank, and various Aerial Videos
  • 20 March – Contacted the Curiocity team to let them know what I was doing with the Virtual Tour to see if they may be interested in using it in some way to promote the Curiocity Brisbane event.
  • 21 March – heard back from a 3rd party Marketing Agency (apparently associated with Curiocity Brisbane marketing). They don’t seem interested in using the Virtual Tour, and actually requested (very nicely) that I remove Curiocity branding, Logos and references from it (which I will do in the next release). An unexpected response … seems they are more interested in “protecting” the brand then they are in promoting the event 🙂
  • 22 March – Version 2 published. This version includes :
    • Panospheres for Fibonacci Spiral, Dynamo, Scatter, Shadowgram, Tag It & Sky Brisbane
    • Updated Aerial and (sunny day) panospheres for Da Vincis’ Dream, Moon Drops and Astronauts
    • Added Splash Screen, with instructions
    • Improved and extended Menu (for mobile)
    • Removed Curiocity Branding and Links
  • 22 March – Re-shot Something Fishy (sunny) and HS Wharves Aerial. Shot Wave Opus IV (No audio because it was not working). Republished VT with Direct Node Access (can now link via URL to any node) and also added Event Tracking to provide analytics.
  • 26 March – New version uploaded – Added Waves Opus IV, Added some Night panospheres (and ability to switch between day/night for certain modes) – Added Something Fishy (Night), Waves Opus IV (night) and added Audio to Scatter
  • 30 March – New version uploaded – Changed Starting Point (to Sunny Story Bridge & Brisbane Cityscape), Changed Navigation Icons (Added Home Icon, Added Menu to top left, Moved Map Icon to bottom left), Added popup Video to Davinci’s Dream (see below).

If you’d like to find out how a Virtual Tour could be crafted
to showcase your event, please give Andy a call
on 0403 023 223 or Contact Us

Virtual Tours for Retirement Villages

With Australia’s aging population, it is unsurprising that Aged Care is a rapidly growing industry.  There is an increasing array of accommodation and service options available to retirees, with more and more providers offering a diversity of different facilities including :

  • Retirement Villages
  • Over 50s Resorts
  • Aged Care Centers
  • Nursing Homes

It is becoming increasingly challenging for Aged Care providers to “stand out from the crowd” and effectively promote and market their offerings.


Why a Virtual Tour ?

For a whole lot of reasons, Virtual Tours are a fantastic way to showcase Aged Care facilities to potential residents (and their families).  Some of the advantages a Virtual Tour has over traditional marketing strategies include :

  • Innovative – a Virtual Tour is a unique and innovative way for potential resident to “experience” and interact with your facilities
  • Multi Use – there are many ways your Virtual Tour can be used.  It can be embedded into a Website, posted onto Social Media, emailed as a link, or experienced via a Virtual Reality (VR) Headset
  • Reusable – once you have a Virtual Tour setup, it can be used and re-used multiple times… Only needing refreshing/updating if you have a significant change in the physical appearence or layout of your facility
  • Easy Access – a Virtual Tour can be available to anyone with Internet Access.  Potential residents do not have to physically visit your location to get a taste of the facilities you offer.  This is ideal for Remote, Interstate or even International prospects
  • Ease of Use – most people find using and navigating a Virtual Tour fairly intuitive and are able to use it with little or no instruction
  • Time to Market – typically we would be able to create and publish your Virtual Tour within 7-10 days of the photoshoot (large or very sophisticated VTs may take a little longer)
  • Emotional Attachment – because of the interactive process involved in undertaking a  Virtual Tour, and the “control” the user has over their experience, it naturally becomes a more emotional experience than is possible with photos or video (which offer very little in the way of participation).
  • Extra Information – a Virtual Tour can include hotspots and extra functionality to help showcase your facility, such as :
    • Your Branding/Logo
    • Links to a website
    • “Call Now” Link to directly dial a phone number
    • Menu system / Navigation
    • Hotspots with popup Information, Photos or Video
    • Background Sound
    • and more…

 Virtual Tour Options

There are a variety of different types of Virtual Tours and associated available for Aged Care facility providers, at a range of costs and offering a variety of different features

Google Virtual Tour

This types of tour is probably the one that is most widely noticed…. because it is accessible directly from Google Search / Google Maps, and can also be embedded into a website, sent as a link, or added into social media.  It is the simplest Virtual Tour to setup and publish, but has relatively limited features. Examples :

Standalone Virtual Tour

Standalone Virtual Tours are the most popular style of VTs for the Aged Care/Retirement Industry because they allow you to include Logo/Branding information and offer a wide variety of features and functionality, including Hotspots, Menu Navigation, Image/Video Popups, Background Audio, Auto Rotation… and more… Examples :

Individual 360° Panospheres

An Individual 360° Panosphere is a single interactive image – usually published to Google Maps.  It doesn’t include navigation/walkthrough capabilities or fancy features, but can be added to Google Maps, embedded into your website, or posted to social media. Examples :

Street View Tours

If your facility includes public road access, then it will (probably) eventually be covered by Googles Street View… However you are likely to be waiting years before the Street View Car is scheduled to visit your development.  We can shoot and publish (to Google Maps) Street View Tours which are available from Google Maps much sooner without having to wait for Google). Examples :

Aerial 360° Panosphere

Like an Individual 360° Panosphere, an Aerial Panosphere is a single interactive image, but it provides an aerial perspective (taken from a drone) and provides a great way to showcase the location/community Examples :

VR Headsets

All Virtual Tours can be viewed from a mobile device or a desktop, however, it is also possible to view most (sometimes with extra customisation) via a Virtual Reality Headset such as the Oculus Go (a Standalone VR Headset with excellent image quality).  This is a much more immersive experience and is a fantastic way to showcase your facility at Expos or Trade Shows.

What About Costs?

Prices for a 360° Photo or Virtual Tour to showcase your Retirement Facility, start from as little as $120 for an Individual Photosphere ranging up to several thousand dollars for a large sophisticated Standalone Virtual Tour.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you create a Virtual Tour to promote your Aged Care Facility, give Andy a call on 0403 023 223 or ContactUs.

Using Panoramic Photos & Aerial Photo/Video to Showcase a Revegetation Project

Clever use of photography can be very effective in showcasing a wide variety of locations.  In this quick example we have used aerial and ground based panoramic photos and some basic aerial video to display the results of a revegetation project at Woodlands St, Carindale.

Aerial Photos


Aerial Panoramic Photo

Aerial Video

Promote Your Business with Aerial Photos and Video

You have probably noticed an increased use of aerial photography and video in the media …. These days you can’t watch TV for 10 minutes without spotting some aerial footage ….

The reason for this issimpel … IT WORKS… Aerial Photos and Video provide an innovative and unusual perspective.. They allow people to see a location from an angle that they are not used to, and it captures their attention.

With recent improvements in drone technology, this type of footage is easier and cheaper to create then ever before, so business owners are finding it much more affordable.

There are various type of aerial photography and video which may useful to help promote your business.  Below is a brief outline of the main types of aerial footage that might be useful… along with some examples.

Aerial Photos

Aerial Photos provide a different view of your business to capture the attention of potential new customers.

Aerial 360° Photospheres

Aerial Panospheres can be used as a standalone interactive photo in their own right, or incorporated into a Virtual Tour.  They can be embedded into a website, published on social media, or emailedt as a link.

Aerial Video

Video taken from the air provides a unique perspective on your business.


Aerial Timelapse

A timelapse is an great way to showcase your location over time…it highlights changes that may not be obvious in a standard photo or even video.  An aerail timelapse would typically be taken from an elevated position (sometimes directly overhead), but can also be done as an Aerial Hyperlapse (where the camera moves over time – creating a speeded up video effect).

If you’d like to find out more about Business Photos can help you
use aerial photography to promote your business,
please call Andy on 0403 023 223 or Contact Us.

How to Embed a Virtual Tour into WordPress Website

You can find out How to Embed a Google Virtual Tour onto your Website in a post that I created some time ago… but this post focuses on how to embed a Standalone Virtual Tour to your website.

A Standalone Virtual Tour could have been created by a variety of different methods and could be hosted pretty much anywhere … but you should be able to access any standalone tour via a URL of some description.

The best way for you to embed a standalone virtual tour into a WordPress website is pretty straightforward using  a simple Iframe.

Using an IFrame

An IFrame (Inline Frame) is simply an HTML document (web page) embedded inside another HTML document on a website. It uses HTML code in the  following form :

<iframe src="WebsiteURL" width="300" height="150"></iframe>

… where WebsiteURL is the full URL of the embedded web page.

You also are able to specify the Width and Height of the Iframe.

In a WordPress website, if you simply paste the above code into the “Visual” Editor view it will not work… you need to switch to “Text View” before you paste it in, and then switch to Visual View to see how it behaves.

So… to embed the Virtual Tour at  into a 600 x 300 pixel “Frame” within this page…. I  simply use the following code :

<iframe src="" width="600" height="300"></iframe>

as follows :

How to Embed a Google Virtual Tour into a Facebook Page

Once a Google Virtual Tour has been published, it can be accessed direct from Google Search or Google Maps, but can also be used in a variety of other ways… You can send links to any view of a Google Virtual Tour, or Embed the tour into your website.  This post provides simple instruction on how you can embed a Google Virtual Tour into a Facebook Page.

First you need to Install a special App called Woobox – this allows you to create a Tab on your preferred Facebook page and insert HTML code into to.  To achieve this, Login to your Facebook account, navigate to the Woobox App and install it by clicking on the Install Page Tab link.

Then select which Facebook Page you would like to add the Tab to  and click on the Add Page Tab Button

After you click the  “Add Page Tab” button, you then you need to authorize the tab application.

Now open a new browser window and go to your Google Virtual Tour in Google Maps (this is important because only Google Maps now includes the embed option). Navigate to the place in the tour you want to start from.  Click on the “three dots” icon in the top left corner and select the “Sher or embed image” option… Click the “Embed Image” Tab; Set the custom width/height to 800 x 600 and Copy the embed code.

Now go back to your Facebook tab page and paste the code from your Google Maps embed into your Woobox custom facebook tab.  Save the settings, then go to “Tab Settings” to give the Tab a suitable title.

That’s it! Visit your facebook page and view your tab. This is what is should look like: Virtual Tour Examples