Internet users from all over the world can take a look around shops and businesses in Chepstow and Monmouth for 24 hours a day as more than 50 businesses in the towns have gone live with 360-degree panoramic Google interactive business photo tours.

The latest extension to Google StreetView, Business Photo Tours take viewers a step further from the street, inviting them to go right inside a business for a virtual visit. Better Reach, one of the UK’s biggest Google Trusted Agencies, has been in the area over recent months taking a series of panoramic photographs of participating businesses. These have been stitched together, mapped, and embedded into Google’s servers to produce the finished tours.

The Castle View Hotel in Chepstow is one of the most recent to go live with their tour which includes the lounge, bar and reception area downstairs, as well as a bedroom on the upper floor.

Michael Currey, partner at the Castle View Hotel in Chepstow, said: “Everyone is using Google these days to find information very quickly, and it’s important for us to keep up with new technology.

"Customers want to research where they are going to go out for a glass of wine or an overnight stay before they spend their money.

"In the past, if you were looking for a romantic weekend away for example, you would have to make a booking and just hope that the accommodation would be OK when you got there. Now you can check it out beforehand and see the good standard of what we offer, which takes away any doubt and helps with planning.”

Stuart Edmonstone, of Better Reach, said: “Until recently, it has been mainly larger retailers and chains which have used this new technology.

"However, our new High Street initiative is aimed at helping smaller, independent businesses get online and encourage more customers to visit as a result. We’ve had a really enthusiastic response from Chepstow and Monmouth, with more and more wanting to showcase the unique features of their individual businesses.”

Other local businesses which have gone live include Manor Carpets, All about Eve, The Chepstow Bookshop, Chepstow Kitchen & Bedroom Co, Eden Rose, Hannah’s Music, Kreations, The Mughal Spice, Pet & Reptile Centre, Pink House Party Shop, and The Riverside Wine Bar in Chepstow. In Monmouth they include Envee, Total Look, Helmet Hair, Car Care, Mocos, Peace of Stone, and Shiraz.

A spokesman for Better Reach said: "The cost very much depends on the size and layout of a business, but we can say that for a small business, such as many of those mentioned, a tour can be produced for less than £100. For larger hotels etc, particularly when more than one room is photographed, then the cost would be more around the few hundred pound mark."