What to Look for in a Virtual Tour Company
by Kyna Garrett, on Mar 26, 2019 9:00:00 AM
Virtual tours have quickly risen in popularity over the last decade. According to Google, 67% of people want more of them and people spend 5-10X longer on websites with an embedded virtual tour.
360 Virtual tours are bringing in more qualified leads for businesses through a boost in consumer trust, improved Google rankings and higher engagement rates. Google states that 75% of consumers are more likely to use a business that has a Google virtual tour.
That means a virtual tour is a wise investment to appeal to today’s connected consumers.
Here’s how to choose a 360 virtual tour company for your business.
Virtual Tour Basics
What is a virtual tour and why do I need one? A virtual tour is the chance to offer your customers and leads a meaningful interaction with your brand. It’s an experience like none other, offering out of state prospects the ability to tour your community or space and get a true feel for your business before deciding to buy or visit.
To create a virtual tour, professional photographers can capture any space with advanced photo equipment and connect the scenes to upload to a Google business listing or create a completely custom experience with a virtual tour software.
While customers can tour your space on your Google listing, they can also experience the tour on your website or Facebook page if you choose to embed. Embedding a virtual tour directly inside your website offers a slew of benefits, including improved bounce rates, higher engagement and increased conversions from the tour.
The Benefits of Working with a Virtual Tour Company
Consumers are hyper-connected. According to CIO Dive, 70% of all website traffic comes from mobile. Google also states that 89% of people are likely to recommend a brand after a positive experience with it on mobile.
Tapping into this hyper-connectivity mentality and creating memorable and meaningful brand experiences is essential to marketing to new generations. A virtual tour service does just that.
Virtual tours are more than experiences, though. They’re unique sales tools with the ability to convert viewers into customers. Google virtual tours, for instance, can improve your SEO and strengthen consumer trust.
Interested? Here’s what should be at the top of your checklist when looking for a virtual tour company.
Features of the Best Virtual Tour Companies
Every virtual tour company is a bit different, but there are a few key factors that you should consider when researching one to work with.
They have a solid network of photographers.
The best virtual tour providers have a large network of skilled photographers, typically ones that have earned the Google trusted badge.
Virtual tour companies that employ a strong network of photographers at a wide scale will be able to work better with your schedule and complete virtual tour photo shoots in a timely manner.
Having a large network of photographers also means that if you have multiple locations, the company is able to accommodate virtual tour shoots for each one.
They partner with Google.
Google virtual tours are a powerful asset to your business listing. Virtual tour companies that partner with Google receive information on updates early, work directly with Google and follow a set of strict guidelines and qualifications when uploading digital content to your listing. That means you always get the highest quality virtual tours uploaded to your business listings.
They have years of experience with the technology.
A reliable virtual tour company should have years of experience in the virtual tour industry. In many cases, the company will have its own software that it create on a proprietary level though it’s possible they may partner with a third-party software.
Virtual tour companies that own their virtual tour software have more control over the experience. They are able to make adjustments and improvements from client feedback versus using a third-party solution.
They should also have an extensive portfolio on their website that you can easily access to view their past work.
They know your industry.
If a virtual tour company has been in business for several years, you’ll want to make sure that they’re also familiar with your industry. While nearly every industry can benefit from a 360 virtual tour, dig into the company’s portfolio to see what types of industries they’ve worked with in the past.
For example, if you’re in the senior living industry, you’ll want to see examples of other senior living virtual tours and learn the best ways to leverage interactive content in your field.
In some cases, virtual tour providers or employees within the company have even worked within your industry in the past. They know the ins and outs of the industry and understand the best approach to incorporating digital content into your brand strategy.
Their virtual tours offer analytics.
At the end of the day, a virtual tour is a marketing and sales tool. And those things don’t work without analytics. While virtual tours should be immersive and meaningful to consumers, being able to prove the investment is necessary for your ROI.
So look for a virtual tour service that allows you to monitor metrics and learn more about your customers and business as a whole. You may learn that studio apartments are the most viewed scene, or that your bounce rate has improved since embedding the virtual tour.
They offer unique experiences.
A 360 virtual tour can just be a virtual tour, until you add experiences that are truly meaningful.
For example, look for a service that can host virtual meetings or allow you to completely customize the tour to your brand. That way when you embed the tour on your website, it will fit in with your colors and theme to look like a cohesive element on your website.
Finding the Best Virtual Tour Company
It’s essential to seek out a company that’s going beyond what competitors are investing in. While many virtual tour companies will sell eye-catching virtual products, having a white glove experience with a strong network of photographers is fundamental to the success of your digital content.
At the end of the day, consider all the different features you want to invest in and what is most suitable to your company and its marketing goals.
To learn more, read how hotel virtual tours are increasing direct bookings.