What Makes Good Guided Virtual Tours?
Great question! I’ll answer by starting with what makes a good in person tour. A good tour is made up of an attraction worth seeing and a personable guide. If I were to ask you which was more important, there might be some hesitation and some debate and if you answered that an attraction worth seeing would be more important than a personable guide, I’d have to disagree.
In my experience, a great tour guide can make a pile of rocks a delight to the viewers eyes. A good tour is made up of great storytelling. It’s one of the main reasons we sign up for a tour, to hear great stories. If a key attraction was the only thing that made a tour attractive then you wouldn’t need a guide at all, the attraction would do it all for you.
So what makes a guide personable? A guide who is personable is one who is kind, friendly, and relatable. He tells great stories, but ones that incorporate the viewer.
Toonie Tours is a great example of this. They have been in operation since early 2018 and since then have guided over 10,000 tourists with consistent 5-star reviews. They emulate what the best guided tours should be, and it’s not just one guide either. Based on their reviews they’ve managed to maintain these 5-star reviews with just under 10 guides. That’s impressive.
When I heard about them transitioning to live virtual tours, I thought that it would leave me longing. That they wouldn’t uphold their 5-star caliber. I was proved wrong, and I’ll tell you why.
THE BEST VIRTUAL TOURS; SIMPLE REASON #1: A LIVE GUIDE
As I said, Toonie Tours has great guides, and their new virtual tour: The Rockies Virtual Tour is a live experience with a live guide. Nathan was our guide for the tour and he is certainly personable. He adjusts the tour for those taking it, and he even showed the guests and I how we would get to the location of our tour from where we lived. A nice touch that made me feel instantly and easily a part of the group
Our live guide made catered jokes for those on the tour and I felt as if we were all together in one big living room that was sweeping over the magnificent Rocky Mountains. It was awe inspiring.
THE BEST VIRTUAL TOURS; SIMPLE REASON #2: GROUP INTERACTION
Many of those joining the tour had never been to The Rockies and those that had never went as far north as where the tour took place. This generated lots of questions regarding where to stay and how long one would need to see it all. Nathan answered every question with ease and even allowed others to answer with their knowledge. Although I was one that had been to this region of the world I felt like I gained a lot of new insight and even made a few new travel buddies.
Nathan even gave us recommendations on where to stay if we did decide to travel that far, my ideal choice would be to stay at Double G Service with this man here, Jack Gunness.
Jack has been the owner and operator of Double G Service for over 40 years. He is certainly a pure northern Canadian gem! Rough on the outside with soft putty on the inside. If you get the chance to meet him, don’t let first impressions fool you. Remember rough on the outside, soft on the inside.
All of this made for amazing group interaction and our guide, Nathan, made us all feel like friends from the very start. We introduced ourselves and talked about where each of us were from. Nathan used this information to relate the tour back to us and to make some great jokes.
THE BEST VIRTUAL TOURS; SIMPLE REASON #3: SMALL GROUP SIZE
With the new fad of live virtual tours and even guided virtual tours, I’ve noticed that a lot of them pack as many viewers as possible into one tour. I’ve seen one with a booking capacity of 100 guests. The Rockies Virtual Tour has a maximum capacity of 15 guests which allows every guest the ability to ask a question and have it answered. Everyone had the opportunity to speak, introduce themselves, and share a fun fact. It may seem silly and even stressful but it certainly connected the group and wasn’t as difficult to do as you’d think.
The guests on the tour were so positive and it was a terrific opportunity to meet new friends, something that has been lacking these days.
THE BEST VIRTUAL TOURS; SIMPLE REASON #4: EPIC DRONE FOOTAGE
I know, I know, the title said there were only 3 reasons but I had to mention something about the drone footage. Most often, unless we’re a hardcore hiker, we don’t get to see the views from the tops of mountains. And in this case we don’t get to see the views from 10 M above the tops of mountains.
The drone footage was outstanding and unique. Our tour was cruising through canyons, slipping on top of lakes, and soaring over giant mountaintops.
To accompany the footage was some terrific beats. Each song suited the landscape and the last song brought a tear to guests eyes… literally! Overall this tour was by far the most unique and I need to give a heartfelt tip of the hat to Nathan, and Toonie Tours for this well timed adventure. Thank you!
THE BEST VIRTUAL TOURS; SIMPLE REASON #5: IT’S FREE
Well it was hard to leave this out of the equation. The tour is free/tips-based! Toonie Tours started with The Free Walking Tour in Vancouver and expanded their company to be in Victoria within two years and now is offering free virtual tours.
The Rockies Virtual Tour is the first that they offer, but they are planning to offer more in the future and wanted to make them accessible to all.
Most free virtual tours that I experience are equaled to a youtube video, no interaction and certainly not live. This is by far one of the best free virtual tours because while it is free you would assume it’s a virtual tour that requires payment.
For that reason they do accept contributions to their company after the tour. This allows them to feed their families and continue providing such an incredible service. Help them out by registering for a tour today! You’ll be glad that you did.
That completes the 3… 5 reasons of what makes the best guided virtual tours. I hope you enjoyed the read and find some world-wide connection with your next virtual tour experience!