South Africa’s largest independently owned hotel group, Premier Hotels and Resorts, have just launched their mobile enabled virtual tours.  This innovative development means that guests are able to browse through all of their properties via their website, using any mobile device.

The service has been designed to offer a complete 360-degree, 3D experience of each of the hotels in the group’s portfolio.  Says the Group’s Marketing Manager, Eugene Oelofse: “The decision to significantly enhance our mobile offering is the result of two very distinct trends that we could not ignore: The massive shift of the hospitality industry into online and the power and growth of online mobile usage in South Africa.”

Recent statistics show that last year roughly 8 million South Africans were connecting using their mobile phones and with the availability of better mobile devices and greater access to more affordable data, this number is predicted to grow.  The same report states how apparent it has become that businesses offering online services must make the shift towards making them mobile enabled.

This week Tourism Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk said in his key note address at the opening of E-Tourism Summit that Africa has around half a billion people who are potentially making travel arrangements using their mobile phones. The Minister also made a very specific point about the tourism industry needing to be innovative to stay ahead.

Adds Oelofse: “We are excited at the prospect of being one of the first hotel groups in South Africa to offer this service and we believe the timing of this launch is ideal.  We look forward to giving our guests an enhanced and engaging online experience.”