Google Interactive Tours vs Street View

Google Interactive Tours vs Street View: Which is Better?

Faced with cut-throat competition, businesses often adopt the latest technologyto stand out from the crowd. Unlike before, there are many advanced tools to empower a business so that it can leave a lasting impression – right from the outset!

Google Interactive Virtual Tour and Street View are two of the most innovative tools which businesses can take advantage of for a more impactful representation. If youare wondering which one of these two is better, or for that matter, which one should you choose to give your business a boost? We have set Google Interactive Tours vs Street View for a direct faceoff to let you figure out just that.

Google Interactive Tours vs Street View
Google Interactive Tours vs Street View

Google Interactive Virtual Tour

A Google virtual tour is designed to deliver an interactive 360 experience. To be more precise, it is a complete simulation of your business attached to your Google My Business listing.

Interactive Virtual Tour

Google virtual tour is an amazing representation of your brand. The interactive tour not only showcases what your business has to offer with immersive detail, but also helps it win attention that proves to be a decisive factor.

Google Street View

Google Street View is integrated into Google Maps and Google Earth that showcases interactive panoramas of stitched images. With Street View, users can explore world landmarks, take a glance at wonders, and even step into arenas, museums, restaurants, and small businesses. And that too right from their fingertips.

That’s what makes Street View so fascinating for both everyday users and businesses.

Street View

How to Create Google Virtual Tour

Creating a Google Virtual Tour is quite straightforward. All you have to do to get started is to capture images > edit them with precision > stitch them together to produce high-res panoramic photos, using a virtual tour software. And then, upload the tour to the correct Google My Business listing.

How to Capture 360 Videos for Google Street View

Thanks to the Super Handy Street View app, publishing and linking 360 photos is a breeze. Ensure that your images are at least 7.5MP (4K) with a 2:1 aspect ratio. Besides, also make sure that they are not more than 75 megabytes in size.

Be sure to disable any gyroscopic stabilization and keep your camera upright. Also, position your camera support system precisely to ensure it takes up not more than 25% of the bottom of the resulting 360 images.

So, Which One – Interactive Tour or Street View – is Better?

Coming back to the all-important question as to which one is better: Interactive Tour or Street View. Though both are great for a visual representation of your business, Interactive Tour is a bit more impactful.

Both in terms of showing off your business personality and providing vivid detail of your offerings, the virtual tour has a slight edge. For instance, if you own a luxurious 7-star hotel, you get the most out of the interactive tour to showcase the beautiful interior, different cuisines, and even offer a sneak-peek into your hotel’s specialty.

The immersive tour immediately catches eye-balls, giving people a taste of your brand’s identity. And that too without consuming much of their time!

If you are willing to create a top-notch 360° virtual tour of your business, contact us to get the job done for you with unmatched expertise. Being Google’s number one agency, Mass Interact excels in creating 360° virtual tours that never fail to leave a lasting impression.

Why Wedding Venues Need Virtual Tours to Gain a Competitive Edge

My particular upbringing has allowed me to gain a great deal of insight into the challenge that wedding venues run into when recruiting clients. Wedding venue owners work strenuously to create and market the perfect space for couples to experience the best day of their life.

I grew up in Apple River, IL, on an outdoor wedding venue called Oak Hill Weddings. My mother decided to invest in building a wedding venue from scratch, which naturally became a family business. I have watched couples come to our venue in search of their “happily ever after”, throughout my life. I have helped my mother with everything from touring to marketing – which has proven to be one of the most challenging parts of owning a small business, given our many competitors.

Every year, in the United States, around 2.5 million weddings are held. This steadfast industry is hard to disrupt – the institution of marriage continues to be respected and cherished! So, what is the secret to successful wedding venue marketing? Wedding Wire, a listing and blogging platform devoted to weddings, popped up in 2006, allowing brides to quickly evaluate potential venues. Similar platforms started to emerge soon after, such as WeddingBee, Bridal tweet, Wedding Mapper, etc. Nowadays, along with this free marketing, venue owners tend to lean on social media, Google Search, and their website, to sell their services. Although a website is essential to successfully build a business, small business owners need a competitive edge to stand out and make an impression.

Read Also – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses

I also interviewed my mother’s managing partner, Sandra Wolfram, about the challenges that Oak Hill Weddings has faced with regard to marketing development. She stated, “Our clients come from a 2.5 hour radius, making it hard for potential clients to make the trip to Oak Hill Weddings. In-person tours have also declined tremendously, given the current societal circumstances – COVID-19. We have multiple beautiful outdoor ceremony sites, a brand-new pavilion, a barnhouse, country store, and church that are dying to be shown off.”

The solution? A virtual tour, also known as 360 degree panoramic imagery. A virtual tour offers a uniquely immersive online experience, giving potential clients the opportunity to explore the beauty of a venue, without being physically present. Business owners can embed this tour on their website, social media pages, and all Google platforms, to boost bookings as well as online traffic. Hence, a virtual tour can eliminate the stress of marketing and simultaneously improve a business’s image, sales, and brand value.

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

The Top 5 Benefits of Virtual Staging for Realtors

In a post-COVID world, more people are choosing social distancing as a way of life. Which means that a lot of decisions around the real estate — whether it’s rental or purchase decisions— are being moved online. Which means that the shortlisting process has become a lot more rigorous and prospective customers are only taking a physical tour of the properties that they are really interested in. In this scenario, virtual staging becomes a really appealing option.

What is virtual staging

Virtual staging is a process by which graphic designers do the interior decor of a property. They work by visualizing the aesthetics that need to be projected and creating decor, furniture, and fixture based on this aesthetic. As a result, when a property is displayed online, it’s not shown as a set of empty rooms but as what it would look like when it’s actually being used.

Benefits of virtual staging

Here’s how virtual staging for real estate can increase the chances of your property making it to that coveted shortlist:

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

Enhances the visual appeal

You’re not really selling a property, you’re selling a lifestyle. So empty rooms that leave much to the imagination don’t really work as well as a property that showcases exactly what it will look like when it’s being used. In a world where prospective customers are going through hundreds if not thousands of listings, this is one of the best ways of making sure you stand out.

Cost-effective

If you were to actually dress an entire property to take pictures, it would become prohibitively costly. You would have to spend lots of money in buying (or moving) furniture, fixtures, and dozens of other items. You can save thousands of dollars in the long run by investing in a virtual staging software that will allow you to create a beautiful visual spectacle for all your properties, both residential and commercial. 

Read Also – What 3D Modeling is All About and Why It’s So Important for Your Business

Saves time

Imagine physically dressing every room for photographs. Moving furniture, setting it up till it looks just right, and then adding various decor pieces to enhance the aesthetic appeal. Going through all this trouble could easily take up an entire day if not more. Whereas with virtual staging, the software does the job for you.

Emphasize some parts of the property

Want to highlight the pool area? Or really showcase the island kitchen? Having a virtual staging tool at your fingertips means you can use virtual staging images to focus on those parts of the property that really stand out. This will ensure that customers are immediately attracted to the property when browsing online.

Plus, you can also emphasize different parts of the property and customize the aesthetic based on your target audience. For instance, if millennials are your target audience, you might want to go with an aesthetic that feels more modern.

A better idea of dimensions

An empty room can often appear a lot smaller than it really is — it’s hard to understand the dimensions of a room without proper context. Having furniture and fixtures gives people a much better idea of the actual size and shape of the area and whether it could work for them.

The bottom line

Virtual staging is one of those marketing assets that has all three attributes— it has a great aesthetic, it’s relatively simple to execute and it’s also cost-effective. Which is why it’s one of the easiest ways for realtors to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly virtual world.

Read Also – How to Maximize Exposure for Your Brand by Marketing Your 360 Virtual Tour

College Virtual Tours

How College Virtual Tours Are Becoming the Key to Student Recruitment in a Post-COVID World

In a post-COVID world, college virtual tours have become a thing of the past. With travel nearly coming to a standstill, there is very little scope for students to go around the country visiting college campuses this year.

But if you think about it, this is a great time to make things a little more equal. Usually, students can physically visit only a few campuses. Now that physical tours are becoming nearly impossible, students are switching to virtual tours. In fact, a survey by Cappex revealed that students prefer virtual tours as their tool of choice for initial evaluation of a campus — 36% said they would really like to have it while another 30% called it a must-have.

A college good virtual tour can give unprecedented insight into campus life, and this is a great opportunity for lesser-known colleges to compete on an even footing.

Here’s how college virtual tours are evolving to keep up with a post-COVID world:

Beautiful visuals

Colleges are taking it to another level with incredible visuals of their most beautiful features. For instance, Marietta College has a comprehensive tour showcasing some of their most unique areas — from the planetarium, recreation center, library, media center, science center and halls. It gives students a complete feel for the campus.

Virtual events

Colleges are taking campus tours one step further by also including both live and previously recorded events. This isn’t just for prospective students but for incoming classes as well. For instances, the University of California, Berkeley is including a virtual Cal Week to its regular campus tour to replace the usual in-person events for incoming students.

Creating a more inclusive tour

It’s important for a campus virtual tour to talk about the diversity and exclusivity of its campus. For instance, the Anglia Ruskin University’s cafeteria tour has three words below a 360-degree panoramic view of the cafe — “halal food available”. This immediately gives showcases the campus’ commitment towards diversity and inclusivity.

Read Also – How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game

Campus life

Post-COVID, a good virtual tour goes beyond just the buildings and pathways. It gives prospective students an insight into whether the campus life is going to be a worthwhile experience. So, things like extra-curricular activities, parties, clubs, and so on should be highlighted in a fun and interesting way. Students should be able to actually experience a live and pulsating campus from the comfort of their living room.

More interactiveness

Campus tours are now using hotspots to create different multimedia layers that make the college virtual tour more attractive. From questions about distances to campus life to financial aid, all the answers can be found on interactive hotspots.

Extending the audience

Campus tours are no longer just for high-school students. There are different versions that are also being designed to attract grad school students and people who have been working for a while and are looking to continue their education. So highlighting additional features that may be attractive to a more mature audience is a good idea.

Colleges are adapting to the post-COVID world quite rapidly. As things move to the virtual sphere, this is an incredible opportunity for upcoming colleges to showcase campus life in an engaging and compelling way. As students expand the scope of their prospective colleges from the comfort of their living rooms, a great campus virtual tour can make the difference and get those extra applications.

Read Also – Why You Need to Have a Custom Virtual Tour for Your College?

apartment virtual tour

Millennials are Going for Sight-Unseen Leases in a Big Way: How an Apartment Virtual Tour Can Seal the Deal

Millennials today are moving more frequently than previous generations. With globalization, the internet, and the world coming closer together than ever before, this trend is here to stay. Millennials are moving both for higher-paying jobs, as well as for the rich experiences that staying in their hometown may not be able to deliver.

Having said that, it’s really hard to take time off work and go all the way to the city you’re moving to for apartment hunting. There’s far too much planning, scheduling, and effort involved — and most people just don’t have the time for that.

As a result, most people have to find a house in a matter of a few days once they move to a new city, and that can be really challenging. Instead of spending tons of money on a hotel, people are now choosing to lease and rent sight-unseen.

A few years ago this would have been unheard-of but technology has made this increasingly possible. Today, potential renters are okay with signing on that lease agreement on the basis of a high-quality, ultra-detailed apartment virtual tour. As long as the virtual tour gives them the feeling of having really seen the apartment in a complete, comprehensive way, they don’t mind signing the dotted line.

So if you’re targetting a sight-unseen lease — specifically for millennials and important businesspeople with little time on their hands — an apartment virtual tour is a must-have. Before you get that virtual tour up and running, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Make sure your apartment virtual tour is easy to access

What this means is that a potential renter shouldn’t have to search for the virtual tour, they should naturally gravitate towards it when scoping out the apartment. While the virtual tour is likely to be the clincher when it comes to a sight-unseen lease, you have to remember that renters are unlikely to search for a virtual tour. It’s more important that the virtual tour is a part of a seamless viewing experience. This means that you should display the virtual tour prominently  — whether that’s on the home page or on the listings page.

A lot of people look at a virtual tour as something that exists lower down the sales funnel. In other words, they try to use it to close the sale. While that is an important function of the tour, it’s just as important to have the prospects see the virtual tour when they’re casually browsing the listing. This way, they will have a much more in-depth idea about the apartment, so the leads that you get will be highly qualified. This saves a lot of effort and energy later on in the sales process.

Choose your virtual tour provider with care

There are many virtual tour software out there, some of which are even available for free. But if you want to get a professional-looking virtual tour (which is highly recommended when you want to close a sight-unseen lease), consider hiring a professional. Check their references, make sure they fit within your budget, and of course look at their portfolio of work. Preferably work with a provider that already does apartment virtual tours so that they know exactly what works.

Interactivity is important

What makes virtual tours different from videos is the interactive element. With virtual tours, users are expected to click on where they want to go, zoom in and out as they please, and even engage with the descriptions and information. You need to ensure that your virtual tour has a number of “hotspots”, with clickable icons and interesting copy, so that users are much more involved than with a regular video. What’s more, if your virtual tours are interactive, customers will stay on your website for longer. This is something that search engines take into account which will mean more traffic for you in the long run.

At the end of the day, if you expect someone to rent or lease an apartment without ever having seen it, then you need to give them a little bit extra. Renters today are willing to take that leap of faith— as long as they have extra information to bridge that trust gap. Virtual tours of apartments are the perfect fit.

Real Also: Real Estate Photography: Use the Right Visuals To Generate Buyers’ Interest

Hotel Virtual Tour Advantage

How a Hotel Virtual Tour Could Give Your Business a Huge Post-COVID Advantage

As we all know, this isn’t the best time for the hospitality business. There is uncertainty in many parts of the world, and it will be a while before long-distance travel goes back to where it used to be pre-Coronavirus.

Having said that, COVID-19 clearly has an end-time, as experiences in many countries, from China to New Zealand have shown. With the pandemic in full swing in many parts of the world, and travel has come to a halt, there are two ways to look at the situation. The first is to simply live this situation out amid a general environment of fear and panic. The second would be to actually take advantage of this free time to invest in marketing assets that will help you generate bookings as soon as things are up and running so that your business can find its feet faster.

As far as hotels go, whether it’s an opulent 5-star property or a boutique place, being able to showcase its beauty to prospective customers is the first priority. While high-resolution images were enough to do that up until a few years ago, today state-of-the-art hotel virtual tours are a must on your website. Here’s why virtual tours for hotels have become so popular in the last few years:

First impressions are important

Think about it from the point of view of a prospective customer. Would you rather book a room in a hotel that has some standard, poorly-lit photos? Or a hotel where you can see a 360 virtual tour of the entire property— from the room and the bathroom to the lobby, the breakfast buffet, and the sprawling grounds. A virtual tour is an easy way to make an incredible first impression and get that online booking.

Build credibility

A Google Street View virtual tour means that you’re showing your property with an incredible level of detail. With a regular website and photos, it’s easy to use clever angles to hide or emphasize some parts of the property. And customers are now aware of this. So when you create a hotel virtual tour, you’re creating a level of transparency that is rare in the business, and that will make customers trust you instinctively.

More control over the viewing experience

Every customer wants something different when they look at a property online. A customer might be looking for the perfect family vacation, another for a honeymoon, and yet another for a business conference. A comprehensive hotel virtual tour allows prospective customers to customize the viewing experience for themselves. They can zoom in and out of areas that they are more interested in, go through the information given in the hotspots, and pan left, right, up and down to get a better view.

Searchability

Having a virtual tour on your website gives you an immediate edge over the competition. The Google Street View 360 tour will automatically help you when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Having a virtual tour is also one more step in completing your Google Business profile, and a completed profile also makes your hotel more searchable. Having your business consistently rank high during Google searches is a big advantage of having a virtual tour.

 Likely to get organic shares

A good hotel virtual tour has high entertainment value. People love to browse through these tours and do some vicarious traveling. Even if someone is not booking your hotel immediately, chances are that they will enjoy the tour so much that they will share it with friends on their social media. This will immediately give you organic reach among your target audience.

It’s understandable that you’re going through a period of turmoil and uncertainty. But the best way to make the most of this time is to have a long-term view of your business and to invest in relatively reasonable marketing assets that will last you in the long run. Hotel virtual tours are the best way to do this. Not only are they relatively easy to create, but they will also give you an immediate competitive edge as the hospitality industry starts getting back on track.

Google Maps Live View ‘AR’: Everything You Need to Know About This

Have you ever been confused by the Directions on Google Maps, taking a wrong turn at the last minute because you couldn’t quite figure it out? Google Maps has finally launched a cutting-edge new feature that will solve this common and sometimes exasperating issue.

The Live View Maps AR feature uses Augmented Reality to help users better understand where to go. The Live View overlays arrows and directions in the real world outside, allowing you to understand exactly how to navigate the confusing turns or where to start your walking journey.

In March 2019, Google released the alpha version of this Live View feature — limiting its use to Google Maps local guides and Pixel users. In August, however, it released the beta version and decided to extend the use of this feature to all users.

The way Google Maps Live View works is fairly straightforward. To use Live View, you need to choose the destination in Google Maps as per usual and then tap the Directions button. After this, you need to choose the walking tab because as of now Live View is only available for walking navigation. Next to the start button, you can see the Live View button— you need to press the button and begin the on boarding process.

Of course, the Live View feature doesn’t mean that you have to keep the phone in front of you as you keep walking. It is designed specifically for navigating complex turns and directions that ordinary Maps and Compass confuse sometimes. Live View uses a combination of GPS, Camera, and Compass data to know exactly where you need to go. All you need to do is to point your phone at your surroundings so that the technology can recognize them. It then provides arrows along with street markers overlaid on the actual scene you’re looking at. This makes it completely seamless to find your way in settings that are unfamiliar, and where regular Google Maps just doesn’t cut it.

The Live View feature is now available in its beta version for both Android and iOS devices that support ARCore and ARKit. It’s important to note that Live View works wherever Google Street View is available. What’s more, this feature is currently only for walking navigation. Having said that, there are some car manufacturers that have already implemented AR navigation in their vehicles so it’s very likely that Google will soon extend this feature to the driving navigation as well.

Given that Live View works wherever Google Street View is available, this will eventually have a significant impact on the way businesses build their Google 360 virtual tours. We can now expect virtual tours to also have that added element of Augmented Reality which would make the tours even more effective and immersive than ever before.

The bottom line

The Live View feature hasn’t been around for too long but it has already created quite a stir among users. It’s use of Augmented Reality to give people a far more immersive and effective navigation experience has been appreciated in a big way. That’s not all of course. This AR-powered feature is likely to have ripple effects in a number of different areas, especially Google virtual tours. So if you’re looking to build a brand new virtual tour, or revamp your existing one, Augmented Reality is an opportunity that’s definitely worth exploring.

How to Maximize Exposure for Your Brand by Marketing Your 360 Virtual Tour

Perhaps you’re considering building a virtual tour. Maybe you’ve even created it already or hired a virtual tour company to do it for you. What’s important to remember is that just creating a 360 virtual tour is not enough. It’s how the tour is marketed that is crucial. You have to work on making the most out of this marketing asset — which means more visibility and increased exposure. Here’s how:

Email signature

This is a very simple yet effective way to start promoting your virtual tour. You can’t physically embed your virtual tour onto an email, but you can definitely hyperlink it in your email signature.

One way of doing this would be to take a screenshot and downsize it to 30×30 (30 pixels in width by 30 pixels in height). Then import this thumbnail into your email signature. Click on the thumbnail, find the paper clip icon and click on it, and then add your virtual tour URL to this. If you want something even more creative, turn the thumbnail into an animated GIF, making it even more likely that people will click on it.

If this seems like too much work, just have an anchor tag like “Take a look at our property” in your email signature and just hyperlink it to your virtual tour.

Integrate the tour into your website/app’s user journey

It’s important to have your virtual tour displayed prominently at the right part of the customer journey. You need the user to see the tour after they start exploring the site a little bit, but long before they are coming to a purchase decision. Using pop-up windows at the relevant time is also a good idea to make sure people can really look at everything that your property has to offer.

Promoting your tour on Facebook

Facebook is one of the most friendly social media platforms when it comes to marketing your virtual tour. You can post your tour on your business page and then boost the post or create an ad out of it to generate more traffic to your tour and thereby your website. Facebook ads are fairly economical so if your goal is to get more hotel bookings or get your real estate listing out there, there’s no better way.

Facebook also has an option called 360 photos, where viewers can get 360-degree views of a given area. What you can do is take a look at all your 360 photography and find panoramic photos that you can use in 360 photos. This will give an added edge to your marketing strategy.

Promoting on other social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin)

Facebook is the only social media platform that offers 360-degree compatibility. Having said that you can create animated GIFs of your virtual tour (there are a number of free apps that you can use for this), and then post those to garner attention. With this animated GIF, you can have a short, hip video that will help you gain quick traction on these platforms. Of course, the platforms you will choose to focus on will depend on the nature of your business. Hospitality businesses would likely promote more on Instagram whereas a real-estate business that is selling a commercial property might be better off on Linkedin.

Virtual tours have indeed emerged as the most trendy marketing tool out there, especially in the last few years. But there’s no point in investing time and money to get the tour just right if you’re not going to make it a point to promote it. Make sure you integrate the tour into every aspect of your marketing strategy so that you can get the biggest bang for your buck.

The Top 4 Predictions for the Future of Photography

Photography has indeed come a long way. When it was first invented in 1839, it revolutionized the world through its ability to capture a scene with incredible accuracy. Today, it has advanced in such breathtaking ways, allowing us to click moments and scenes for posterity with the phone in our pocket.

Yet, we have just scratched the surface when it comes to the power of photography. Here are some of the technologies that are set to transform the art of capturing scenes.

360 Photography

A 360° image is nothing but a spherical panorama image which has interactivity built into it. This technique means that you can capture a location from multiple angles, rather than through one simple perspective. 360 photography works great for virtual tours where it can give the viewers an immersive experience, making them feel as if they’re actually in that location. Viewers can rotate the scene in different directions, zoom in and out, enter and exit rooms, read texts, click on links, and watch videos.

With specialized 360° photography equipment, apps, and platforms like Facebook making it simple to share 360° photos, this type of photography is really booming. From interior photography, weddings and events, product overviews, and store interiors to social media engagement and nature and landscape photography, 360° photography is now omnipresent. However, this is still the tip of the iceberg as more and more brands are looking to integrate 360 photography into their marketing strategy.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR)

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) are seeing wide adoption from users now, and the world of photography is richer because of it. Today, VR and AR allows us to capture not only an isolated frame from a particular scene (the way conventional photography does) but actually showcase the entire environment and enable viewers to engage with. Which means viewers have now transformed from passive consumers of images to active participants in the visual process.

VR/AR allows people to capture experiences and environments in a much more holistic way— whether that’s the look and feel of a college campus, the joys of playing a round on a golf resort, or capturing a special family dinner. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI already works inside the camera — whether it’s in autofocus systems, tracking, stabilization, or automatic exposures. The role of AI in photography is only set to expand. Faster and more intuitive autofocusing is the biggest application of AI that one can think of. Entire scenes could potentially be captured automatically with the perfect exposure.

However, AI doesn’t just apply to improvements in camera. AI can also be applied in a big way to image editing software— computers will now be able to recognize every part of a picture for what it is and act accordingly. You will no longer have to manually input keywords.

Smartphones will also incorporate AI in their camera and image editing. Skylum’s Luminar 3, for instance, already has AI-powered filters that make editing really simple and intuitive.

There will also come a time when the 100s of photos you take for the same scene will automatically be deleted, leaving you only with the best shots. This will happen as the AI algorithm learns from your choices over time to know exactly which pictures you will prefer.

For businesses, these leaps in innovation are quite crucial. Many brands are incorporating more immersive 360 photography in marketing assets like virtual tours to build a more holistic and cutting-edge brand experience. This is the perfect time to understand the latest trends in photography and leverage them to build your brand.

The Top 7 Virtual Tour Stats You Need to Know

Virtual tours are all the rage — from top-of-the-line hotels to niche realtors, everyone seems to be integrating virtual tours of their properties with their website. If you’re considering setting up a virtual tour for your business, but aren’t sure if it will work for you, here are some statistics that could help.

Virtual tours increase interest in your business by 2X

A Google study found that people’s interest in local businesses increased by two times when the company had a 360 virtual tour as part of their website. What’s more, 67% of respondents in the same study wanted more businesses to include virtual tours on their website. So not only do virtual tours have good outcomes, but they’re actually becoming the norm and coming to be expected by customers.

Virtual tours mean that people will stay 5-10 times longer at a website

It’s one thing to attract website traffic, it’s another thing to ensure it doesn’t drop off. With virtual tours people stay 5-10 times as long on a website. Naturally, the longer they stay on the website, examining the property, the higher the chances of conversion.

54% of buyers won’t look at a property unless it’s supported by a virtual tour

This is a stat from the National Association of Realtors and it means that buyers will no longer look at a property if it doesn’t have good visual support. This means that if you hope to get views for your listings, virtual tours are a must-have.

The Return on Investment for virtual tours comes in less than 4 weeks

It’s all very well to say that virtual tours bring more eyeballs and website traffic, but are they financially viable? This statistic proves that virtual tours are great for the bottom line. If you can recover your entire investment within a month’s time, then this marketing asset is definitely worth having.

360-degree panoramic images get 45% more engagement on social media than conventional photos

Google virtual tours use what we call 360 images. As virtual tours become more mainstream, these photos have become increasingly trendy, especially on social media. A study by Social Bakers says that organic 360 images get 45% more interaction than conventional photos. This means that businesses that invest in virtual tours — whether it’s restaurants, hotels, realtors, or colleges— have a unique opportunity to get more organic exposure for their brand.

Virtual tours increase bookings by up to 67%

When it comes to hotels and restaurants, having a virtual tour in place increases bookings up to 67%. Having 360 images that come together to narrate a beautiful story immediately gives any hospitality business a major edge above its competitors. Having a virtual tour on your website results in a large increase in that most important metric — conversions.

Listings with virtual tours get 87% more views than listings without virtual tours

If you’re in the real estate business, having property virtual tours is well worth the investment. If it’s you vs. another realtor who has compelling virtual tours on their website, there are no prizes for guessing who’s going to get shortlisted for the physical tours.

In the last few years, virtual tours have become increasingly popular, both as a way of reaching more people as well as getting more conversions. If you’re looking for a marketing tool that really comes with value for money, Google virtual tours are probably your best bet.

5 Questions to Ask Your Virtual Tour Photographer Before Hiring Them

The virtual tour industry hasn’t been around for too long, but it has grown exponentially in the last few years, taking the marketing world by storm. One of the big reasons for this explosive growth is the fact that Google has come into the virtual tour business. Google is using the same technology that powers Google Maps to create Google Street View — virtual tours for business.

As a result, businesses— especially in industries like travel, real estate, and education— have been in a massive rush, trying to get their virtual tours out there as quickly as possible. Given this hurry, a lot of photographers have also emerged, all of whom claim to be experts in virtual tour photography.

Many people have a tendency to hire the person who comes at the most affordable cost. However, it’s important to spend some time to figure out whether a photographer is a right fit for your virtual tour. Hiring the wrong photographer can have disastrous consequences — you may even have to end up redoing the entire thing, resulting in a huge waste of time and money.

Before you settle on someone to whom you can entrust your virtual tour photography, here are some questions you should ask:

Do they have experience in virtual tour photography?

This is probably the most important question. The kind of 360 panoramic photos that are required in virtual tours are very different from conventional photos. Unless a photographer has extensive experience in virtual tour photography, chances are you will end up wasting a lot of time. It’s even better if they have experience in your niche — whether that’s hotels, college campuses, or real estate listings. Try to talk to as many references as you can to make sure the photographer can walk the talk.

What equipment do they use to shoot 360 virtual tour photos?

Google has recently lowered the bar for the cameras that can be used to click 360 images for virtual tours. As a result, a lot of photographers out there have a basic “360 camera” that they will tell you is sufficient to produce high-quality images.

However, if you really want a professional-looking virtual tour, you should have a DSLR camera with a minimum of 16 megapixels. The camera should have both an on-camera as well as an off-camera flash, not to mention wide-angle lenses (usually 10mm). An image done with a DSLR has a much higher resolution; there’s also the added advantage of the lens difference. What’s more, processing a 360 image and moderating the images into a proper virtual tour is best done by someone with the skill set to handle professional equipment.

If a photographer compromises on the quality of their equipment, chances are they will compromise on the quality of your images as well.

Do they have the right technical skills to get the job done?

The photographer needs to have a fair bit of knowledge about the technicalities of 360 photos. Here are some of the main things they should be well-informed about:

  • The best vantage point for a 360-degree spin
  • The correct camera position to achieve proper composition and exposure
  • The best lens to be used in each situation
  • The best time of the day to shoot the images so that the lighting is perfect
  • Staging of the location
  • Staging people in different images
  • An accurate estimate of how long the entire process will take

Do they have the right personal skills to get the job done?

You are entrusting the photographer with building a key marketing asset for you. That’s why personal attributes like trust, professionalism, punctuality, customer service, and work ethic become important. The best way to validate these personal skills is to talk extensively with as many references as possible.

A virtual tour is one of the most valuable marketing tools you can build today — it gives you a Return on Investment in as little as four weeks. Make sure you hire the right photographer to get a high-quality job done within a reasonable time frame.

You may like to read – Hire the Right Company for Your Business Virtual Tour

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.

Business Virtual Tour

Hire the Right Company for Your Business Virtual Tour

In this age where an effective online presence is mandatory, businesses are looking at all kinds of ways to enhance their digital footprint. Getting users’ limited attention in this content-driven world can be very tricky— but a good virtual tour is an effective way to solve this problem. If you’re looking for a company that can create the perfect virtual tour for you, here’s what you need to know:

What is a virtual tour?

Virtual tours allow users to get an in-depth look at your business’ location — allowing them to experience the uniqueness of each area from the comfort of their homes. Between a brand that has a few photos and videos on its website and one that has a completely immersive virtual tour experience, there are no prizes for guessing which one customers will go for. A good virtual tour for business doesn’t just help you get more eyeballs and conversions — users will also share snapshots of the tour on their social media, which also gets you great word-of-mouth publicity.

Types of businesses that need virtual tours

Any business where the location and property is an advantage will benefit from having a virtual tour on their website. Some types of companies that greatly benefit from having virtual tours for business include:

Hotels and resorts

One of the most important features of any hotel or resort is the location and the property — the rooms, the views, the greenery, and so on. A good virtual tour immediately attracts prospective customers and invites them to book online well in advance.

Also Read: Boost Your Hotel’s Top Line with Hotel Virtual Tours

Universities

Since physical campus tours take so much time and money, most applicants are only able to tour a few, select campuses. But the look and feel of the campus is a very important part of a college experience. By using virtual college campus tours, Universities can give students an immersive in-depth experience of what it’s like to be on the campus — from the comfort of their homes. This really helps with applications and enrollments.

Golf courses

Many golfers plan entire vacations around the golf course. Having a great virtual tour allows them to see everything your course has to offer, prompting them to make bookings well in advance.

How to choose a virtual tour company

There are some basic things you need to keep in mind when trying to decide which virtual tour company to choose:

Does the company design Google 360 virtual tours?

The best virtual tours are Google Street View Virtual Tours. Not only are they powered by the same technology that powers Google Maps, but they’re also extremely cost-effective, easy to update and maintain, and great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Do they design tours that can be shared easily?

A good virtual tour company will understand that it’s not just about creating the tour, but also making sure that it’s easily shareable. Features like one-click sharing, embedded links, and so on, will be a part of the execution.

Do they follow an analytics-based approach?

The right virtual tour company understands that it’s not just what your virtual tour looks like— it’s about the results it delivers. Good virtual tour providers will ask you about the metrics that are important to you (whether it’s more website traffic, more conversions, or more eyeballs)— and design the tour keeping these in mind. Not only that, but they will also provide you with a framework and analytics reports to help you see how you’re doing on these metrics once the tour is launched.

In a world where online marketing gets more complex every day, there are still some things that stand out. Virtual tours are one such marketing asset that can help you find an immediate advantage over your competitors, provided you implement them early enough.

hotel virtual tour

Boost Your Hotel’s Top Line with Hotel Virtual Tours

In the age of social media, standard hotel and resort photography just don’t cut it anymore. To get those round-the-year bookings, your property really needs to stand out. Luckily, there are ways to make that happen these days – and an outstanding hotel virtual tour is one of them.

What are hotel virtual tours?

Hotel virtual tours give users an in-depth immersive hotel inside view. From the rooms and the bathroom to the lobby and restaurants – viewers will almost feel as if they’re walking through the hotel. This kind of familiarity and intimacy means that there is a great chance they will end up booking a room well in advance. In modern business experience, this brings an unprecedented level of predictability in your revenue. This will allow you to leave your day-to-day demand worries aside, and focus on growth and expansion.

Besides, hotel virtual tours are not just for prospective customers who want to come on holiday. They’re just as important for companies that are looking to organize conferences and meetings at locations in different parts of the world — sometimes bringing together hundreds and even thousands of delegates. Giving these companies a virtual tour of your meeting halls and conference rooms, along with the hotel rooms and common spaces, is a great way to get those big-ticket bookings.

Features of hotel virtual tours

Interactive floor plan

With a good hotel virtual tour, users can see an interactive floor plan with unique wayfinding features — interactive hotspots, aerial views, and radar orientation— giving the complete hotel inside view.

Ease of use

Hotel virtual tours are designed to enable users to navigate through them seamlessly. They can either manually tour a series of rooms or simply auto scan and enjoy the entire tour. The tour is also aided by easy directional icons, allowing for an easy transition from one area to another.

Integration with social media

Good hotel virtual tours have a one-click sharing feature. This allows you to leverage social media in the best possible way.

Customized brand identity

You can customize hotel virtual tours to reflect your unique identity as a brand. Integrate your logos, videos, fonts, and colours — creating a unique brand experience.

Responsiveness

A high-quality hotel virtual tour is usually powered by HTML 5 technology. This makes it completely responsive across platforms. So whether it’s desktops, laptops, tablets or mobile phones— Windows, Android, or iOS— the experience is seamless and immersive.

Benefits of Hotels and Resorts Virtual Tours

Find the right customers

Most hotels and resorts that use virtual tours report much higher conversion rates — whether that’s an increase in calls, emails, or other enquiries. Instead of relying on last-minute bookings and walk-ins, you can get fully booked much in advance— allowing you to focus on growth, service, and operations.

Connecting with new-age users

Millennials are one generation that spends a large part of their income on experiences, especially travel. What’s more, they use the internet as their primary source of travel bookings. A cutting-edge, immersive virtual tour goes a long way in increasing your credibility with these travellers.

Ownership of content

A virtual tour involves extensive 360 panoramic photography which you will have 100% ownership over. This ensures that some valuable marketing assets get added to your portfolio for the long-term.

SEO boost

The content from the virtual tour is stored in the Google Knowledge Graph. This means the content is hosted in the Google database, giving you an immediate advantage when it comes to search engine rankings.

At the end of the day, the hospitality industry can be cutthroat. In an age where the rules of marketing have changed so drastically, a hotel virtual tour is a sure-shot way of getting both those eyeballs and those advance bookings.

college virtual tour

Why You Need to Have a Custom Virtual Tour for Your College?

Campus tours serve a very important purpose – they allow students to actually visit the college, and experience the location, facilities, and atmosphere first-hand. Yet, travelling to campuses usually involves a lot of time and money – and most prospective applicants can only make it a select few tours. Having a virtual tour can help you solve this issue. With a college virtual tour, you can provide students with an in-depth, immersive experience that allows them to get to know your college better.

What are College Custom Virtual Tours?

College virtual tours allow colleges to showcase their entire campus through an online tour. This Google 360 tour is built with Google Street Views, the technology that powers Google Maps. Which is why the virtual tour allows users unprecedented access to the various facets of the college campus. This creates an experience that makes users feel as if they are actually present on campus.

Not only does the college virtual tour have breathtaking 360 panoramic views of the campus, but it also integrates videos, photo galleries, and a guided voice tour. For colleges that want to showcase everything they have to offer, without students having to leave the comfort of their homes, these virtual tours are a great option.

Features of a Custom Virtual Tour for College

Responsive tours

College virtual tours are designed to be responsive. This means that that they can be viewed across platforms, operating systems, and a range of devices. Whether it’s desktops, laptops, tablets, or smartphones— Windows, iOS, or Android— the experience remains the same.

Integrate existing marketing collateral

You can incorporate existing marketing assets — from videos to photo galleries to voice tours — into the virtual tour.

Customized approach

A good virtual tour provider will understand the specific needs of your University and tailor the tour to make sure you meet those needs. Whether it’s higher conversion rates or more website traffic, the tour can be completely aligned to your goals.

Metrics-driven approach

A good virtual tour will be designed to help you achieve business outcomes — and you will be able to use analytics tools to see how well you’re able to achieve those outcomes.

Benefits of College Virtual Tours

More organic coverage

With an immersive college virtual tour, viewers are likely to share snapshots on their social media. The result? Immediate, organic exposure among your target audience.

Attracting new-age users

Most prospective students are either late millennials or Gen-Zers. Which means a virtual tour will go a long way in establishing credibility. You can even use the virtual tour to make your orientation process much smoother.

Ownership of the content

All the panoramic photography that’s part of the tour will be owned entirely by the University. This means you get substantial marketing assets for the long run.

Help your fund-raising efforts

A virtual tour is a great way of showing alumni how their beloved alma mater has been improving. This becomes a good way of raising funds from the alumni network.

Benefits with SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Once you get an official Google Street View Inside Virtual Tour, you’re one step closer to a Complete Business Listing status on Google. This will help you greatly when it comes to online discovery. What’s more, all the virtual tour content is hosted in the Google database— this is another major advantage when it comes to SEO.

Colleges across the world are trying to find new and innovative ways to market themselves. In this scenario, a campus virtual tour is a solid marketing asset that can help you get ahead of the competition almost immediately.

Does Your Business Need a Virtual Tour?

In today’s age of instant gratification and information overload, it takes a lot for your business to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. In such a scenario, a virtual tour can be a great asset for your business. Not only does it give your business a competitive edge, but it also helps you find a connection with young, tech-savvy customers.

What is a Google 360 Virtual Tour?
Google Street View Virtual Tours are the most frequently used mapping technology in the world. It will create a complete 360-degree virtual tour of your business using the same technology that powers Google Maps.

Prospective customers will be able to enter your business and get a virtual walk-through, creating an in-depth, immersive experience. Not only will this get you more eyeballs and conversions, but users are also likely to share snapshots of the tour on their social media, ensuring great word-of-mouth.

Type of Businesses that Need 360 Virtual Tours
Any business that benefits from customers having an immersive virtual experience will benefit from a virtual tour. When the site and location is a big selling point in your business, then a 360 virtual tour becomes an absolute must. Some businesses that benefit greatly from having a Google 360 virtual tour include:

Hotels and resorts
Having an immersive virtual tour ensures that prospective customers understand exactly how alluring the property really is. For hotels and resorts, this can mean the difference between hoping for walk-ins and being fully booked well in advance.

Universities
Campus tours are part of the application process — students often get the feel of a college campus when they visit it. But a physical campus tour can be extremely time-consuming and resource-intensive. Which is why a virtual college campus tour can help give students that same immersive, in-depth experience. This has an immediate impact on applications and subsequent enrollments.

Golf courses
Many golfers plan entire holidays around the golf course. When they’re searching online, they are more likely to choose a golf course that they have become intimately acquainted with — through the 360 virtual tour of course!

Importance of 360 virtual Tours for Businesses

360-degree

Increased exposure
Not only do you get a lot more views and appreciation from users, but good tours also tend to get shared on social media — automatically getting more exposure for your brand.

SEO advantage
All the content that is part of the virtual tour is hosted in the Google database and is part of its original Knowledge Graph. This gives you an automatic advantage when it comes to rankings on Google search. Higher rankings naturally translate to more website traffic.

Complete Business Listing Status
When you have an official Google Street View virtual tour, your business becomes eligible to receive the Complete Business Listing status. This isn’t something that too many other brands would have, so online searches become much more favourable for you.

Also Read: The GMB Checklist Every Local Business Needs

Great way to introduce customers to your business
With a virtual tour, your customers have the opportunity to get to know your business even before they become paying customers. This goes a long way in building lasting loyalty.

Incorporate dynamic Google-generated content
You can integrate Google-generated content within your website and social media pages— another big SEO advantage.

Connecting with tech-savvy users
A virtual tour is a great way of connecting with increasingly tech-savvy users — especially millennials, who tend to do most of their purchases starting with an online search.

Also Read: Add your Google Virtual Tour to your website – Here’s How

Given the direction in which technology adoption is headed, a 360 virtual tour will soon become almost compulsory for any business. It’s a much better idea to get started immediately and gain a competitive advantage, even as others struggle to catch up in the coming years.

5 Easy Steps to Add a Google Virtual Tour to Your Website

The COVID outbreak has made one thing crystal clear for businesses of all kinds and sizes. Going digital is the only way to survive, whether you want to engage your target audience, promote your products, communicate smoothly or get leads. And a Google virtual tour is one of the best digital marketing tools you can use for this. By adding it to your website, and not just your Google My Business listing, you can boost the traffic you see and nudge leads to become buyers. Whether you are a hotel, park, café, college or gymnasium, potential clients can take a tour of your premises from the comfort and safety of their homes. And once things get back to normal, they can decide to visit you. There is no better way to connect with the discerning consumer and gain edge over competitors!

Now, if you are wondering how to add a Google virtual tour to your website, it’s pretty easy. Just follow the 5 steps listed here.

Step 1

Read – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses

You can either search Google for your GMB listing or navigate to any page that features your virtual tour. If you want to go the listing way, conduct a direct brand name search or a search using a relevant keyword. After locating the listing, head to the page that is featuring your virtual tour. To get an expanded view that fills the whole screen, click on the tour. Now, you have to pick a starting point for the virtual tour before adding it to your website. So, just explore the tour this way and that, until you find a spot that offers a wonderful view of your establishment. This image will be your starting point. You can also get a clue from the image above.

Step 2

Now, check the top left corner of the tour screen to locate 3 vertical dots. Click on them to get a popup menu. On this, click on the option that says ‘Share or Embed Image’.  

Step 3

Now, it’s time to choose the size of the virtual tour you wish to host on your website. You can make this choice in the popup that appears. Small, medium and large are the three options available for size. Though most websites select any one of these options, some decide to personalize it a bit. To customize the size of the tour, simply choose the ‘Custom size’ option from the drop-down menu.  Always remember to check the final image when you go for a custom size. To do this, click on the ‘Preview actual size’ link. If you are happy with the size, copy the html code in the box after highlighting it.

Read – Does Your Business Need a Virtual Tour?

Step 4

Next, you have to embed the copied html code on that particular website page where you wish to feature the virtual tour. After adding the html for the code, make sure you set the width to 100%. When it comes to the height, it should be ideally between 450px – 550px. This usually works well on most websites, irrespective of the device used. So, you are done. Your Google virtual tour is now on your website, ready to grab eyeballs!

Step 5

Last but not the least; view the tour on your website to make sure everything is fine. You can also send out the page to colleagues and friends, so that they can check too. The tour should work smoothly across devices.

In case you are not too sure of going through the steps above, get a bit of professional help to be on the safe side.

Read Also – How Virtual College Tours are Changing the Student Recruitment Game

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