Selling Audio Tours as Virtual Products

Hello Voice Map.
Due to the increasing incidences of a second wave of covid-19 infections, and in my own city which is now experiencing asecond and local lockdown, the selling of the tours to be played on a continuous play basis as an alternative to real tours or as introductions to the relevant cities before people visit is an area I would like to explore further.

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Thanks for starting this off @djjdouglas. Your post is the first by a publisher on this forum!

I know a number of other publishers are thinking about how to position their tours as both useful for using on site – as walks or drives, etc. – and more virtual experiences, like audio books or podcasts with photos and a map. And our start screen has the Continuous Play button for exactly this reason. (There’s a blog post describing why using them both ways makes sense over on our blog.)

I think dual use creates additional value for users: they can buy a tour to listen to at home now, but then also do the tour at a later stage, whether they have a visit scheduled already and they’re planning the details or they’re just curious and might only get to the destination years from now. They can also listen to the tour after their visit, which makes the tour a kind of memorabilia.

We’re working to convert your Viator listing to emphasise that the tour can be done virtually. Then we’ll submit it for inclusion in Viator’s curated list of virtual tours.

But I’m more interested in what new distribution channels this might open up. If we can sell the tours as audio books, using coupons, we might reach new markets and this is something that will outlast lockdowns and COVID-19. I’m doing some research on these and will let you know what I find.

Hello David & Iain!

I think I am odd-person out because I was actually targeting the armchair traveler even before COVID arrived as a factor. I don’t think that this impacted my script writing at all, I chose the words to be relevant for any type of listener. But I do agree with Iain that the marketing target can be greatly expanded if the focus is removed from the on-site listening.

But I have to say that marketing in general is a weakness of mine. Not in willingness to try, but in knowledge as to how. I’ve been focused on my social media platforms as a way to advertise. I don’t really know how else to go about it. So while I’m in complete agreement about stretching perceptions of the tour usage to highlight off-site listening, I honestly have no idea how to use that in marketing.

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Hello Amy and Iain,
Yes I have followed the same principle in that I try to make my scripts relevant to both types of listener too, obviously with the exception of directions.
I like the idea of the tours being marketed as introductions to places before you visit - personally I like to be well prepared and I enjoy visits more where I have researched first - though I know some people like to be more spontaneous.
The memorabilia aspect might also be an angle too - I might send a link to some of my real tour customers who have sent me positive feedback to see if they are interested.
Obviously the COVID-19 is still a big problem for our industry so virtual tours are likely to be an important product for the short/medium term.

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