Forget Street View: HeliView adds an aerial twist on hotel shopping and boosts conversion ratesNewsBy Sean O'Neil | December 7, 2012Share This article was originally published on HeliView is an innovation that offers "interactive visual travel search." Users of this service at a German OTA can take a virtual overhead tour of a destination by watching aerial videos that are overlaid with interactive, real-time booking information.First, users punch in a destination, such as Las Palmas, Spain. They're then taken to an overhead view, virtually flying along the coast of the resort town.As they zoom in on a hotel, "real-time" pricing for the property is overlaid on the video, with a link to reviews and more information. Users can choose to "fly on" to the next hotel, or switch to another destination.Since January 2012, videos have covered the Balearics, Spain's Gold Coast, Portgual's Atlantic coast and the Canary Islands.From March 2013, HeliView is expected to add Dubai as one of its destinations.When users click on a hotel rate, they're taken into a booking path supplied by online travel site Reisesuche.de. Roughly 200 tour operators from the German-speaking regions, such as TUI, Neckermann or Alltours, are also integrated in the system.The creator of HeliView is Traffics Softwaresysteme, a Berlin-based creator of a computer reservation system for hotels, which was founded in 2000.The creator claims that the videos have boosted the conversation rate at the OTA by "more than 50%."The video fly-overs are viewable in a browser based website Heliview or via the Reisesuche app for iPhone, which debuted in May 2012. Unusually for an OTA app, Reisesuche charges users to download it, at a fee of 0.89 euro. Explains a spokesperson: The content is unique and can not be found anywhere else in the world. Besides that, HeliView is a great new experience for the user. Once someone tries it, he or she will be hooked and want to keep on using it.Share this quote HeliView is a self-funded project, but Traffics is looking for a capital partner to launch it in more countries. Regardless, the company plans to make HeliView available abroad to English-language audiences next year. Hoteliers can also request to use videos on their own websites.Companies that wish to advertise via HeliView, such as hoteliers, hotel brokers, and tour operators, do get the opportunity to buy the leads as CPC ads.Similar to the back-end advertising tool for Google Hotel Finder, the user receives a list of the providers where he wants to book, says Traffics, which has 50 employees and claims it will have a turnover of €3 million this year, says CEO Salim Sahi.The company also aims to earn revenue by selling B2B licences to third-parties, such as booking portals, through an affiliate program.The HeliView technology won an award this year from Verband Internet Reisevertrieb (VIR), a mouthpiece of the largest online travel players in Germany, including Opodo, Expedia.de, HolidayCheck, and eBookers.Forget Street View.Here's a video about the making of HeliView. While it's in German, it visually shows what was involved with the helicopters.