New Platform for Virtual Tours, Meet Amazon Explore

After Airbnb and Viator, it’s time for the tech giant Amazon to venture into the virtual tour world.

Without much fuss, Amazon Explore debuted on the internet last week. That is their new brand for interactive live-streaming and a step forward in the tourism space.

The idea is providing users with world travel and unique experiences without leaving home, all of it with the guidance of a host who is trained and supported by Amazon.

That type of tourism product has become very popular, ever since many countries decided to adopt lockdown policies due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Considering virtual tourism, Airbnb has been one of the first big players to provide virtual tours through Airbnb Experiences. Also this year, Viator has released a new section on its website dedicated to this category.

Unlike others, the release of Amazon Explore doesn’t seem to be related to the pandemic. There have been reports of the platform having been developed since last year, according to the industry website Tourpreneur.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has ventured into the tourism space. Recently, the company has released a flight searching and booking service in India powered by a local OTA.

Besides that, five years ago Amazon Destinations was shut down, a service dedicated to selling a mix of tourism products and the unfolding of another project called Amazon Local.

Anyway, we can’t assure that the pandemic has hurried the launch of Amazon Explore. What we know is that the service is still in beta and can only be accessed by invited people.

Regarding the experiences offered, they are similar to the ones listed in other virtual tour platforms. They vary from virtual walking tours of cities and visiting landmarks to cooking courses and destination retail trips.

The big difference implemented by Amazon is an e-commerce component that is integrated with the experiences. During a tour, the user can buy souvenirs, local products and other travel-related goods.

For cooking sessions, the list of ingredients is made available in advance and all the items can be bought and delivered home before they start.

The tours listed are one-to-one conversations with a host and have a duration of around 30 minutes up to 1 hour. The price range varies from $10 up to $200.

In their model, the host doesn’t have access to the users’ camera, and all it takes is the attendees having a laptop or desktop computer, a microphone and headphones.

If you are interested in becoming an Amazon Explore host, all you need is to fill out a form and cross your fingers to be called by their team.

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