The Surprising Benefits of launching virtual experiences with Arigato Food Tours Lauren Shannon
What I learned launching virtual experiences
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TP120 – The Surprising Benefits of launching virtual experiences

Tour operator Lauren Shannon joins us today to share the surprising benefits of launching virtual experiences in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

She shares how virtual tours can be a tool to build connections and reveals how virtual could become the new travel planning tool. We discuss the benefits of producing virtual tours, including their use in marketing. Lauren shares the methodology behind creating an online experience and how to drive engagement and overcome the obstacles you might encounter. She also reveals what it is like to become an online personality and highlights the importance of sharing your knowledge and giving back to the industry.

Lauren Shannon is the General Manager and Partner at Arigato Japan Food Tours, a company that provides tours for people to experience authentic local and regional dishes in Hiroshima and Kyoto. She is also the Founder of TrueTaste.Tokyo and the former President of To the Moon and Back & Kimono Wine and Grill. Lauren lives in Setagaya, Tokyo, loves food, wine, creative design, travel, and has experience in the wine and restaurant industry. She holds a degree in education and art from the Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, has a background in multicultural businesses, and has worked in the tourism industry in Japan for six years.

“A virtual experience online is a much better way to make a really deep connection, get your questions answered, and do some travel planning.” – Lauren Shannon

This week on Tourpreneur the podcast for tour operators:

  • How virtual tours are building connections and creating a brand new way of travel planning
  • Lead generation and the post-COVID advantages of conducting virtual tours
  • Success stories and three reasons for tour operators to produce virtual experiences
  • How to maintain media leverage and get reviews through influencer marketing and virtual experiences
  • The time it takes to create a virtual tour and how to translate what you do into an online experience
  • The advantages of using Zoom as your online tour platform
  • How to prepare engaging experiences and make a strong connection through online tours
  • How to overcome the drawbacks of virtual group tours
  • Lauren’s experiences of becoming an online personality, creating webinars, and the importance of sharing knowledge and giving back

Our Favorite Quotes:

  • “Where we can simplify, we should always take that path if possible.” – Lauren Shannon
  • “If you look at it as a marketing expense and not as a tour product, then it really makes sense.” – Lauren Shannon

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Lauren Shannon:

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Shane Whaley is the Producer and Host of the Tourpreneur Podcast. He is also the curator in chief for the Tourpreneur Daily Brief. Shane has worked in the travel industry for almost twenty years.