Virtual tour tool for enhancing destination marketing
Virtual tours are a great way of implementing destination marketing. Correctly used, they can increase revenue to a wide number of sectors including tourism, hospitality industry, learning, manufacturing, and security, among others. This potential has however remained unexploited. Our country Kenya continues to lose revenue due to sticking with old ways of marketing. This study therefore aims to research on the use of virtual tours to influence a tourist’s decision-making on a destination. The researcher had three objectives, which were to develop a virtual tour interface tool, to deploy it and to measure the effect of using virtual tours on a tourist’s decision-making when choosing a destination. The research developed a virtual tour interface tool for the purpose of enhancing the current interface provided by Krpano by adding on the interface interactive menus, hotspots such as different scenes, video, image and text; powerful plugins such as maps, an auto-tour feature, social media icons, audio, logo, booking buttons, among others. Further in the research, 360 panoramic photos were taken at Weston Hotel and the virtual tour was developed and put online. Users were presented with the virtual tours and plain photos/videos. An online survey was conducted and the results were carefully analysed by the researcher. The results of the research indicated the virtual tours had a greater influence on tourists compared to photos/videos largely due to their interractive nature. Finally, the study recommends further research on the use of virtual tours on fighting crime through crime scene investigation, learning through creation of tutorials and reducing the size of virtual tours.