What if you could give online leads the “grand tour” from the first time they click on your brand? Google’s new 360 virtual tour feature makes it possible to give your clients, leads, and even hiring recruits a tour of the facility using immersive 360 photography with just a few mouse clicks. This natural evolution of the wildly popular Google Street View takes users inside the building or office to explore each business’s unique interior experience.
Venues with a virtual tour are more likely to delight and inspire future guests with a more immersive experience than even the best photo gallery. Offices with a virtual tour may provide a comforting preview for both future clients and future employees. In fact, you might get new customers just from the curious and architecturally inspired.
How can your business get into the 360 virtual tours trend? All you have to do is hire a photographer.
What is a 360 Virtual Tour?
A 360 virtual tour makes use of 360 photography. A camera that can capture almost a full sphere (except it’s own stand) captures the full environment with a photo. Then more photos are taken throughout the space at key points. At each point, the viewer can click-drag their view as if they were really looking around the space. Those key points are like “steps” taken on a tour, just like Google Street View which originally popularized 360 photography for commercial purposes.
However, interior 360 tours took the world by storm in the real estate business through platforms like Zillow during the pandemic when travel and walk-through tours were problematic. Virtual tours give the viewer a realistic sense of how large the space is, allow them to see features from different angles and distances, and truly convey the floor plan.
Benefits of Shooting a 360 Virtual Tour for Your Business
- Showcase your venue experience
- Provide a preview for office clients
- Increase visibility and cutting-edge reputation on Google
- Turn your floorplan into an online game
- A handy virtual tour for new hires
- Create an asset for virtual redecoration
The biggest reason to make a 360 virtual tour of your business is because it’s the hottest new thing on Google. As we know, Google trends define the market trends and users love exploring new features that Google ads. Plus, taking a virtual tour is a lot like a mild video game and has a simple element of fun to the experience. This means leads will look for businesses with virtual tours, just because virtual tours are fun.
There are also very practical reasons to build a virtual tour. If you are a public (or private) venue, a virtual tour is better than any photo gallery to show future guests your ambiance, decor, layout, and the immersive experience you have to offer. But even offices are doing virtual tours, giving clients an interesting sneak-preview into what they will see when they arrive for a meeting or conference with the team.
In hiring, a virtual tour is great as a living map for new on-site employees – and a fun way to “give the tour” for remote employees kept in the loop.
Last but not least, a virtual tour can also be used as an “AR” asset – a virtual image of your office that could be altered to explore potential design changes like different colored walls or different furniture styles. We’re dealing with some very cool technology innovations and potentials.
How to Create a 360 Virtual Tour of Your Business
So how do you get a 360 virtual tour of your business on Google? First, you hire a photographer that does 360 photo shoots. This requires a special camera and an afternoon of placing the camera, shooting (think fisheye or panorama shots for school photos) at each location, and moving to the next spot in the tour.
Your key spots are best when they’re about 6-10 feet apart with each step – or based on key navigational locations like doorways and corners. It’s best if each jump really feels like taking one large step through the space.
Once your 360 tour is shot, you can submit it to your Google Business Profile. This will add it to your business’ search result page and entice new leads to take a preview adventure through your premises.
Host Your Own Virtual Tour
Finally, once you own a 360 virtual tour of your business, you can host it on your own website as well. Feature it on your homepage, About Us, or make a custom landing page and nav button just to tour the facility. You might be surprised how positively your audience responds to an interactive virtual tour.