The MassInteract Blog

5 Ways in Which the Real Estate Industry is Benefitting from Virtual Tours

It’s a great time to be a realtor. The rise in disposable incomes around the world means that there is more demand for real estate than ever before. But at the same time, there is a lot of competition among realtors now. Which means that you really need to stand out to make those steady sales and grow your business. In this competitive environment, if there’s one marketing tool that can really help streamline your business, its a real estate virtual tour.

What are real estate virtual tours?

Virtual tours for real estate allow you to create in-depth, immersive tours of your different listings on your website. These tours contain 360-degree panoramic photos that move in sequential order from one location to the next, giving users a complete look and feel of the property, all from the comfort of their own homes.

Benefits of virtual tours for real estate

Here are the top 5 ways in which real estate virtual tours can benefit developers and property agents:

Less effort needed at the preliminary stages

Ordinarily, inbound queries come in from prospects who view the listings on your website. Just viewing images of a listing doesn’t give the user a feel for the property and layout in the same way that a virtual tour does. Which means you end up getting a lot of queries from people for whom the property may not be suitable at all. And you end up wasting a lot of time showing these people the listing, only for them to reject it. With a proper virtual tour on the website, you will only get queries from customers who understand the layout of the property and are really interested in it. This means that you don’t need to spend as much time and energy over people who are not the right fit.

Get that edge over competitors

Virtual tours are not yet commonplace in the real estate sector. This means that if your listings have professional virtual tours, you will immediately be seen as more credible and reputable than your competitors. It’s an easy way to establish authority and credibility in a business that is highly dependent on both.

Build a loyal customer base

When customers come to your website, they will be able to see the listings in a lot of detail. Buyers will be able to get a proper understanding of what the property is like and whether they’d like to go ahead and take a physical tour. Since this saves them a lot of time and energy, while also enabling them to assess a wider selection of properties, they will naturally be more loyal to you. Virtual tours can be the key for you to find that customer stickiness in an industry that’s notorious for fickleness.

Cost benefits

Taking prospective customers to a physical house tour means that you also need to spend money on fuel commuting to and fro. By using real estate virtual tours as a kind of screening process, you can ensure that when you invest in a physical property tour, there’s a high chance of a conversion.

Far superior presentation vis-a-vis regular images

Real estate virtual tours allow you to highlight the property from various dimensions— from the small details to an overview of the entire area. 3D virtual tours use 3D-angle views to allow users to observe all the details of the property. What’s more, good virtual tours have hotspots with buttons and text that gives users an even better understanding of the listing. There’s a world of difference between ordinary images and a full-fledged virtual tour.

If you’re looking to give your real estate business a sustainable edge over the competition, virtual tours are the one marketing tool you need to invest in today.

How to Create the Perfect Hotel Virtual Tour in 5 Simple Steps

When you run a hospitality business, you’ve to figure out two main things simultaneously — getting more customers and making sure the operations run smoothly. Virtual tours are a new-age marketing tool that can help you get booked much in advance, so that you no longer have to worry about finding more customers. You can just focus on getting your operations right and growing your business.

What is a hotel virtual tour?

A virtual tour of your hotel helps you use panoramic 360 images to showcase your hotel in an in-depth, immersive way. If you’re wondering why make a virtual tour for your hotel, a study says that virtual tours increase online sales by a whopping 135%, and generate 46% more sales than still images.

5 key steps for a hotel virtual tour

Here’s a 5-step guide to creating the perfect virtual tour for your property:

Step 1: Find the right partner

Virtual tours are fairly technical to create, and require fairly advanced equipment. Moreover, hospitality is the one industry where you don’t want to create something amateurish. Hire the right virtual tour company to create the tour. Given that you will save on the costs of purchasing/renting equipment, hiring a cameraperson, and buying virtual tour software; hiring someone will probably prove to be more cost-effective as well.

Make sure they have done enough work in hospitality before, especially with a property of your size and scale. Make it a point to get some references before you get anyone on board.

Step 2: Timing key

Figure out the right time to take the photos and videos. You don’t want to take outdoor shots in the middle of the day — the overwhelming light will lighten the natural colour of the objects. Just before dusk, when the sun is about to set, is usually the perfect time for outdoor shots.

Step 3: Build a story

Many hotel owners/ managers want to fit in every single detail about the property in the virtual tour. But this goes against the basic principles of marketing. You need to find areas that your customer will find exciting— and then build a narrative around them.

You have an all-you-can-eat rolling sushi bar at the restaurant? That definitely deserves some great shots! On the other hand, taking photos of the same standard room from different angles is a no-go. Figure out the USP of your property — what would make someone really want to visit— and focus on those areas.

Step 4: Focus on presentation

This is especially important in the hospitality business. You need to make sure that every single location in your hotel virtual tour looks its best. Arrange for a thorough clean-up the day before, rearrange the furniture if you need to, add a few aesthetic touches here and there, and make sure all the selected locations look as close to perfect as possible.

Step 4: Leverage hotspots

Use the hotspots in the virtual tour to add meaningful descriptions. For instance, you can mention any special discounts or schemes that you’re running. You can also use photos of specific areas to highlight what makes them unique — for instance, add the list of specials to you restaurant photos or highlight unique features of your architecture in the lobby pictures.

If you’re looking for that one marketing asset that can really transform the demand side of your business, a good virtual tours is the answer. If you’d like more details around hotel virtual tours and how to get yours up and running, do let us know in the comments below.

How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game

Today, technology has transformed the way learning happens. At the same time, it has also changed the way students choose the institutions they want to attend. One of the most important tools enabling this shift is virtual campus tours. According to a collegiate survey, 36% of registered applicants said that they would like to have a virtual tour added for initial evaluation of the campus. An additional 30% of applicants (so now 66% of total applicants)expressed that a virtual tour was a “must-have”. What this means is that virtual tours are rapidly becoming one of the best marketing tools that Universities have at their disposal.

A virtual tour for college allows Universities to showcase their entire campus through an online tour. Virtual tours are very different from ordinary photos and video— they are built with Google Street Views, the technology used in Google Maps. Virtual tours create an experience that is completely immersive — making users feel as if they are actually on campus from the comfort of their own homes.

Whether it’s a breathtaking 360 panoramic view of the campus, user-generated videos, or even a guided voice tour, virtual tours offer an opportunity for colleges to highlight everything the campus experience has to offer.

Benefits of virtual tours for college/university campus

Increasing the outreach of open days

Most colleges/universities put a lot of effort into their open days — building detailed guided tours, finding volunteers, often housing visitors, and so on. However, only those students who live nearby, or those with limitless time and resources can afford to attend open days. With virtual tours, you can bring a large part of the campus tour experience into the homes of the students. In fact, a good virtual tour piques the students’ interest and actually results in a 30% increase in physical visits to campus, which in turn increases the conversion rates for applications and enrollment.

Increase international recruitment

A diverse campus provides the best learning environment — especially when you have students from across the world. But most international applicants don’t have the time or resources to travel all the way to your campus. A virtual tour serves as a great way of enabling these students to understand what your campus has to offer and actually keep you on their radar during the application process. It also allows them to share this experience with family, friends, and teachers— some of whom play a crucial part in the ultimate application decision.

More exposure

When students are viewing an easy, immersive virtual tour, chances are they will share exciting snapshots on their social media. This means you get easy access to their peer group — which is a crucial part of your target audience. This will again help you boost applications and subsequent enrollments.

Finding a connection with digital natives

Most applicants belong to one of two categories — Gen-Zers or late millennials. These people have grown up with technology in a way that previous generations haven’t. Using a virtual tour will help you connect with this audience in a way that more traditional marketing tools won’t.

Coming up higher on Google search results

When you use Google to build your virtual tour, all the virtual tour content is hosted on the Google database. This means you have an inherent advantage when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Higher rankings mean you will be discovered much more easily by prospective applicants.

If you’re looking for ways to differentiate your campus and build that much-needed buzz for your college, few tools are as effective as a good virtual tour. If you want to get started on building a college campus virtual tour but are not sure how to go about it, reach out to us

10 Must-Have Tips to Create Awesome Virtual Tours

Virtual tours are all the rage these days— and it’s not without reason. Virtual tours allow brands to give online users an immersive experience— a complete in-depth journey through their brand from the comfort of home. But getting your virtual tour just right is much easier said than done. Here are 10 tips for creating a virtual tour that have really worked across brands and categories:

1: Choose the locations you want to showcase

Decide which locations will look best in the tour — preferably spaces that have the right lighting.

2: Make sure the locations are presentable

Just remember that a professional camera will be able to capture the slightest bit of dirt and mess in a location, that too in 360 degrees and in high resolution! So make sure you clean the location areas thoroughly, making them as presentable as you can.

3: Add that extra something

You want to put your best foot forward in the photos. Add small, interesting artefacts to the locations you’re shooting at — from cozy furniture to a vase of flowers to a nice frame on the wall. Just rearranging your furniture to make it look more appealing also goes a long way.

4: Timing is everything

This is one of the most important virtual tour tips. It’s crucial to figure out when you’re going to shoot because the timing determines the lighting. You need to have the best possible lighting for the effect you want to create. In general, the best time is sundown — when the light isn’t too harsh and has a gentle, warm quality.

5: Add some variety to the photos

Make sure your photographer takes photos of each location from different angles and with different zoom areas. Don’t hesitate to break the monotony by varying the number of photos used for each location. For instance, you can use several shots of an iconic garden on your college campus, while only keeping one or two pictures of a standard dorm room.

6: Avoid mirrors

Your reflection or even the reflection of the camera can show up in the photos, completely spoiling the look and feel of the tour. So just be aware of mirrors, reflections, and shadows when you’re preparing the locations.

7: Go all out

You need to think beyond photos for a really effective virtual tour. Try to create hotspots in the tour — including things like videos, photo galleries, social media buttons, and website links. Go that extra mile to create a virtual tour that’s truly imaginative. Ask about our custom tour!

8: Personalize

Customize your virtual tour- use your brand style guidelines— whether that’s your custom fonts, colors or logo. You can also use unusual buttons and pop-up windows to further personalize the virtual tour experience on our custom tour software.

9: Be mindful of the text you use

Use the hotspots in the virtual tour to insert text that is succinct and impactful. A hotspot is a great marketing asset — make sure you use great copy to get the point across.

10: Choose the right virtual tour creator

You need to work with a partner who really knows what they’re doing. The best way is to make sure that they have some experience in your industry. Ask them for sample work— but this may not always be enough. If possible, get them to share contacts of their previous clients, and talk to them to understand what the entire experience was like.

Virtual tours, when done right, can help you connect to an increasingly tech-savvy audience in a whole new way. Make sure you use these virtual tour tips when designing your own tour. If you think we’ve missed out on any tips, let us know in the comments below.

Virtual tours allow brands to give online users an immersive experience. Here are 10 tips for creating a virtual tour that have really worked across brands and categories.

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