The need to develop the online travel portal concept and give a true ‘walk-through’ experience is the idea behind a new site that enables consumers to try before they buy.
SuperTour.com delivers a digital promenade via your PC through the inside and outside of a hotel, nearby restaurants, bars, clubs, or even miles and miles of beachfront.
Eventually, though SuperTour remains coy about the prospect, consumers will even be able to view it on a mobile phone.
The portal, which utilises technology and expertise from technology hothouse, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MiT), claims to allow consumers to make better travel decisions while at the same time, enabling hoteliers to showcase their hotel properties in greater detail to better meet client expectations.
SuperTour.com’s first completed destination is Miami Beach, with Las Vegas soon to follow. Other scheduled cities include Boston, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Waikiki and Los Cabos.
A recent report by Forrester Research suggests the next generation of online travel sites must address the consumer’s demand for more content, better insight, and a higher level of collaboration and control. SuperTour claims this service is addressing those needs.
Chief executive Jim Schoonmaker said: “The first generation of online content provided only still pictures of a room, or a panoramic view that did nothing to present the hotel in the context of its surroundings.
“Now, through broadband, PC processing and what we can do with photos, we can depict the inside and the outside of the hotel property, see how far the beach is from the hotel, and walk down the street into nearby restaurants, or other destinations,” he added.
Visitors to the site can make room reservations directly online through a hotel’s booking engine and partnerships with industry leading reservations systems.
Additional features include a search engine, a listing of suggested things to do, aggregated links to reviews, and a ‘my favourites’ profile. To view the site, users must download the latest version of Macromedia Shockwave.