Look, then book: Tourism-first makes holidaying virtually a walk in the park

27 October 2021

Ingenia Holiday Parks are helping Aussie travellers make their next booking with confidence by offering tourism-first virtual park tours for some of their iconic holiday destinations.

Ingenia Holiday Parks has partnered with rising tech company YouTour to pilot fully immersive virtual tours – starting with Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut and Ingenia Holidays Rivershore on the Sunshine Coast.

While drone tours are certainly nothing new, the YouTour model uniquely blends fly-through technology, drone technology and 360 VR technology to capture a lot more than just the amenities.

Ingenia Holidays General Manager Tourism Matthew Young said that the operator’s first step into the virtual reality space with YouTour would completely change the way holidaymakers approach booking vacations.

“What is so special about this offering is that we can essentially capture the spirit of our parks and resorts,” said Mr Young.

“Not only do you get a holistic insight into what the park has to offer, being able to ‘walk’ through the park paints a picture in a completely different way – something you can’t achieve with still images.

“With guests able to move throughout the park as if they were there, you don’t just see the park, you get a sense of what your holiday will be like.

“The events of the last 12 months have made Australians more cautious about their holiday plans – they want to minimise the ‘unknowns’.

“It’s great to think that these tours can provide guests with a sneak peek into their holiday experience before they have even arrived,” said Mr Young

After a start in school and university virtual tours, YouTour has quickly attracted attention from other industries, with Ingenia Holiday Parks the first tourism operator to deploy the technology.

YouTour Founder and CEO Daniel Bunker said that after working in media and production for many years, he saw an opportunity to expand upon existing virtual offerings, and that the business has been growing ever since.

“Ingenia Holiday Parks recognised early the potential of this technology and to be the first to offer this in the tourism space speaks to their commitment to innovation,” said Mr Bunker.

“I’d say the big thing people want is transparency and honesty. Through the tours, guests feel like they’ve actually experienced the holiday park and that you’re not holding anything back from them.

“Often times when you book something online, you’re looking at these ultra-wide-angle images and you actually don’t get a real sense of what is on offer.

“Our tours break down those barriers and helps people to book with confidence.

“Whether it’s flying down a slippery slide, or teeing up for a game of minigolf, it appears like you’re really there. There is some great footage of people having a ball at the park, and it’s hard not to imagine yourself there.

“I was actually speaking to a family who have booked at an Ingenia Holiday park because their children saw the virtual tour, ‘went down the slide’ in the video and asked if their next family holiday could be at Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut.”

A recent report from Bookings.com found that over a third of tourists would feel more comfortable about going to an unknown destination if they could scout it out beforehand by using virtual reality.

Ingenia Holiday Cairns Coconut Resort Manager Richard Yazbek said that the new initiative has helped many hopeful holiday makers.

“I’ve spoken to a number of guests about the tour, and the main response is that the virtual component helped make their holiday decision a lot easier,” said Mr Yazbek.

“More than just a quick video through the park, YouTour has created something quite immersive, so our virtual tour guests get a real sense of a Cairns Coconut holiday – experiencing everything from the splash water park to the Coconut Milk Bar.

With the pandemic completely changing how people plan holidays, Mr Young said that innovations like the tours will be essential in supporting recovery in the industry.

“Many Australians have understandably become nervous travellers, so our main priority is ensuring that our guests can book with confidence and enjoy a stress-free holiday,” said Mr Young.

“Travellers get a better understanding of our amenities and can really clearly envision their holiday before they leave home.

“We’re excited to be able to extend this virtual feature to more of our parks soon.”

View the virtual tours here at Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut and Ingenia Holidays Rivershore.