COVID-19 has forced tens of millions of people to stay inside their homes. With restrictions and stay-at-home orders in effect, businesses are trying to get more creative with their consumer-facing products, including ticketed virtual tours of museums, free or tip-what-you-want band performances, digital gallery tours, remote wine-tasting, and more. Now, a haunted mansion is getting in on the action, too.
The famous Winchester Mystery House has announced that it will offer virtual tours of its (purportedly) haunted — and undeniably, visibly creepy — property in California. The best part? The tours are free.
How it works — The sprawling 24,000 square feet Winchester property, located in San Jose, California, is worth looking at whether you believe in apparitions or not. The company claims the mansion has 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, well over 100 rooms, almost 50 stairways, and other jaw-dropping architectural features. So, if you're in the mood for a free tour of a bizarre mansion, here's the Winchester Vimeo clip to give you a taster.
Virtual tours are on the rise — Tech solutions are coming to the forefront as the viral outbreak continues to grip, and arrest, the world. To keep business running, wineries have turned to virtual wine-tasting tours. Some realtors are also trying virtual tours with prospective buyers as house sales plummet.
Google's Arts and Culture program also recently partnered with national parks in the U.S. to offer people digital tours of volcanoes, caverns, canyons, and more, while the Monterey Bay Aquarium and San Diego Zoo have launched virtual tours of their own for anyone interested in animals — aquatic or land-based. Theater, opera, and art enthusiasts also have the chance to watch nightly live streams of performances from the Metropolitan Opera House and browse exhibitions in the Guggenheim Museum.
While virtual tours don't necessarily guarantee revenue, especially when they're offered for free, they do keep public interest in different enterprises alive, and could translate into ticket sales down the line.
Feeling generous? Help out — While its virtual tour is free, Winchester Mystery House is encouraging visitors to help keep the lights on by buying a no-blackout ticket for a future tour. "In these uncertain times, we understand your hesitation in booking upcoming travel. Like many other Bay Area businesses, closing our doors until April 7th will severely impact the employees who maintain the estate," the company says.
"Come when you are ready," the company adds, "but please come! Vouchers are only $26 ($13 off the box office price!) and can be purchased now. Good through May 1st, 2021!"