December 10, 2021

Virtual Tour: What You Need to Know When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Photo by Paul Gaudriault on Unsplash 

You’ve probably already heard the importance of using digital tools and technology to boost your business during the pandemic. Especially when social interaction is limited, brick-and-mortar businesses have had to switch to a digital angle in order to keep afloat. A 360 virtual tour is one way that can market a physical space online but what exactly does it entail? Companies may refrain from diving into this digital path as they are afraid of complexities when it comes to virtual technology. Finding out how to shoot a virtual tour will require some basic steps and preparations to get you started on your digital journey. 

Before we dive into the basics of what you need to know when planning for a 360 virtual shoot, the key to a quality digitised space is an experienced virtual tour agency. An agency will know how to shoot a 360 virtual tour according to your needs but it is also very important to check their credentials before diving in. As a client, it’s important to ask your agency for their past portfolio to ensure that their work is of a certain standard and quality. Enquiring their software and equipment used can also prove their professionalism and experience as an agency. Now that you know the importance of a professional agency, let’s discuss the basics of what virtual tours may be suitable for your business and how you can elevate your tour and stand out from your competitors. 

Figure Out What Kind of Services You Need

There are many different types of virtual tour services that are available depending on the needs and wants of every business. These tours will differ slightly on their purpose as well as the nature of the project. The first step of the digitisation journey is choosing the type of service that serves your business’ needs best. 

1. Google Virtual Tour 

This is a great service if you want to leverage the world’s number one search engine site, Google. A Google virtual tour requires multiple images of the space to be stitched together into a single panoramic view. This tour then gets listed on Google search engine under the company’s business listing. As the most used search engine site, whenever users google the establishment, its Google virtual tour will also be accessible to view. This allows visitors on the internet to have a preview of the space before visiting it in person. 

2. 360 Virtual Tour 

A 360 virtual also works by stitching images together for a circumferential view of the space but it differs from a Google virtual tour as it is not listed on the search engine but is instead, viewed on a company’s website. 360 tours are great for large venues with multiple prominent spots scattered over the space as it also includes customised navigation features that allow smoother viewing. These tours can either be shot using a DSLR or a Matterport camera where the DSLR allows for more customisation when embedded on a website. 

3. 360 Rendering 

360 rendering is especially helpful for spaces that have yet to be built and are in the process of designing before the construction stage. All that’s needed are blueprints and sketches of the building and these will be turned into a virtual tour that can bring the venue to life with 360 views as well. 

4. 360 Staging 

360 staging works for empty venues that need furnishings. The technology is able to project realistic-looking digital furniture around the space and turn a bare room into a fully-furnished one. 

How to Make Your 360 Tour Stand Out from Your Competitors 

If you’re opting for a 360 virtual tour for your space, there are a list of customisation features that you can use to elevate your tour and give your viewers an immersive and informative experience. It’s important to know your target audience and the key elements of your space that you would like to highlight so that the appropriate features can be used in your virtual tour. 

1. Audio Tours

Having an auditory accompaniment with your tour can be very informative for users that like to browse around the space without having to read long texts. The embedded audio can give an overview of the space or even go into the little details, making you feel like you have your very own personal tour guide! 

2. Infoboxes 

If you prefer more visual texts or have several important details in your space, infoboxes can be very helpful in helping to bring those across. Infoboxes can be added to any part of your space and texts, images and videos can be embedded into these virtual boxes to give more information about the nooks and crannies of the venue. 

3. Hotspots

You don’t need to know how to shoot a virtual tour to know that easy and smooth navigation is vital in keeping your tour user-friendly. Hotspots are an efficient way of navigating around a large venue that has several areas of speciality. Hotspots are most popularly used to identify specific areas of the venue from an aerial view. 

4. Navigation Menu

Another seamless navigation feature to have is a navigation menu. These menus are fixed onto the side panel of the website interface where users can refer to anytime on the tour. The menu can direct users to the various areas of the venue in just a single click, making the transition from one area to another quick and seamless. 

5. Language Toggle 

If your business is an international one, having a language toggle function can be very beneficial in reaching a larger and wider audience. With this tool, all the texts on your virtual tour will automatically switch to the user’s desired language.

Photo by James Bold on Unsplash 

A 360 virtual tour isn’t “one size fits all”. There are different services available for various types of businesses and projects. It’s important to choose the service that suits and sells your brand as it’s also a great digital marketing tool to draw in more profits. Before beginning the process, it’s also important for you to know the prominent and special features of your space so that they can be highlighted in your tour using customisation features. Most importantly, finding an agency that understands your needs and knows how to shoot a virtual tour professionally is the key to getting the job done!