Virtual Visitors vs. On-Site Visitors: Which Should Your App Cater To?

Thanks to mobile apps and virtual tours, armchair tourism has become an increasingly appealing option for many. Whether it’s a matter of checking out something that we might not have the time, inclination or money to visit in person or previewing a possible tourist attraction, museum, hotel, or city before we visit, the virtual tours allow us inside access to make decisions or even have a virtual experience without ever setting foot on-site.

But which type of visitor are you serving, and how can you make your mobile app most appealing to that sector? When deciding whether to gear your tour towards virtual or on-site visitors, consider your mission:

  • Access Far & Wide: Are you a museum looking to give access to a specific exhibit to the largest number of people possible? Then perhaps gear your mobile app towards a tour of your site that can also be easily understood and appreciated by the virtual visitor.
  • Education for Visitors: If your site doesn’t have live tour guides or you are looking to give people alternatives while still engaging and educating them, gear your tour towards those who will be on-site, creating a guide that will draw them into the physical aspects of your location.
  • Information at a Distance: So much information is available online to help potential students to decide which college campuses to tour, for example. If your goal is to provide the information people need to assess your property or offerings without forcing them to buy a plane ticket and stay in a hotel, gear your tour towards virtual visitors and give them a complete view of what you have to offer that will make them feel as though they’ve been there.
  • Marketing: For many hotels or tourism boards, drawing visitors on-site is the main goal. It’s about getting the booking or bringing a visitor to the city, and what better way than to provide a virtual tour that allows access to your top attractions or features? Provide a tour that’s geared towards a virtual visitor with an eye for them wanting to learn more or visit for themselves.

There are a few features you may want to consider when designing your mobile app, depending on whether you’re gearing it towards on-site or virtual visitors.

For On-Site Visitors:

  • GPS-Enabled Maps: Orient visitors quickly and clearly by creating a custom map of your site. The GPS feature on their phones will allow them to get around and find the features they want to visit most.
  • Surveys: An on-site visitor is a valuable opportunity to collect data. Integrate surveys into your app to provide your staff with feedback and ideas for improvement.
  • Audio Guides: Your visitors are lucky in that by being on-site, they can see your exhibit, sites, and more. But they may be missing out on the personalized overview that a live tour guide would offer. Fill the void by providing audio guidance directly through their phones.

virtual tourist


For Virtual Visitors:

  • Multimedia: One of the great options within a TourSphere app is the ability to add photos, videos and audio. This provides the virtual visitor with an immediate connection to your site and the experience of being there.
  • Visitor Information: If you’re using the app to draw people to your location, include easy to access visitor information that allows them to plan their trip or visit while they’re excited about your content within the app.
  • Analytics: Web-based apps like TourSphere’s allow you to access valuable analytics on those visiting your app so you can see where your virtual visitor base is and what types of marketing steps you might be able to take to further expand and engage your base.

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