Staff Reporter Windhoek-In December 2017, the unique rainmaker VISTA.360 virtual tours, powered by Google Street View Trusted, was viewed by more than 3 million people. This means that 3 million potential guests are focused on Namibia as a destination, which in itself has been described as an incredible milestone for the local tourism industry. A month later, that figure already increased to 3.84 million and it keeps growing due to rainmaker’s activities. This is more than an average of 8,400 views per day since the very first VISTA.360 virtual tours by rainmaker were published and a record 20,000 views per day throughout the past month. This marks an astonishing achievement for Namibia as a destination and a great prospect for rainmaker digital’s hospitality and tourism customers. Rainmaker digital is the only Google Street View Trusted Agency in Namibia and one of only seven Trusted Agencies in the whole of Africa. Since its launch in 2016, rainmaker has built a solid and stable customer base, most of which is based in Namibia and South Africa. Thomas Müller, the founder and CEO of rainmaker, started rainmaker digital after seven years in the Namibian tourism and hospitality industry and with extended experience from his involvement with TUI and Thomas Cook. His everyday exposure to the digital marketing field, while being General Manager of Marketing & IT at O&L Leisure Hotels & Lodges, led to the realisation that Namibia’s and Southern Africa’s digital presence could be dramatically improved. According to Chris McIntyre, Managing Director of the Tour Operator Expert Africa, “Rainmaker’s great 360s have helped us bring Namibia, and many of its lodges and camps, to life for our website visitors. Working with them has vastly improved the images and perspectives that our prospective visitors can see on Namibia, and they have certainly helped us to persuade more visitors to visit this stunningly beautiful country.” Rainmaker has created more traffic and impact with its VISTA.360 service than any other travel related website in Namibia. Putting Namibia as a destination and the participating hotels, lodges, guest houses, guest farms, etc. at the very forefront of the digital marketing landscape in Southern Africa. To put this into perspective, according to the global web statistics platform alexa.com, one of the largest Tourism WebSite in Namibia gets around 650,550 views per year, less than 20 percent of what rainmaker has achieved for its customers and the destination. The VISTA.360 virtual tours have a significant impact on rainmaker customers’ business in terms of occupancy, revenue, reputation and profit. From the 3.84 million visitors, more than 325,000 of all visitors took action on the immersive virtual tours they saw. Either by visiting the respective accommodation website (93,000 or 28 percent of all actions), asking for directions while they were planning their itinerary (220,000 or 68 percent of all actions) or directly calling the property by phone (12,000 or 4 percent of all actions). The VISTA.360 virtual tour is a critical element, especially for accommodation providers. “Rainmaker’s 360° tour is the most amazing sales and marketing tool for online bookings and our tour operator partners. We have been overwhelmed with more than 330,000 views of Twyfelfontein Country Lodge in just seven months. I am really happy we went for it because it significantly added to our bookings,” said Riaan Brand of Twyfelfontein Country Lodges. “Rainmaker provides the respective virtual tour footage free-of-charge to local and global tour operators to further improve the visibility and the business of our customers,” said Müller. “It is all about partnering and collaboration within the Namibian Hospitality and Tourism Industry. The entire rainmaker focus is to create a competitive advantage for the local in-destination hospitality and tourism businesses, against the global and market dominating giants”.
2018-02-06 09:55:22 7 months ago