Is It Me You’re Looking For?
In an ever-changing, dynamic business world, one of the foremost considerations is how we present businesses to clients. Prior to the advent of the web and the digital age, several of the current innovations in this area were simply unavailable. It’s now easy to take some of these methods for granted: it’s crucial to remember the importance of remaining at the forefront of technological advances for any industry leaders.
Information retrieval using search engines is now a daily fact of life for the majority of people. Google searches using desktop, mobile and handheld devices now account for over 3.5 billion individual enquiries per day (Internet Live Statistics, 2018). This practice is so prevalent and ubiquitous that the average person will conduct several searches a day with little concern. While the information sought is as wide-ranging and varied as the web itself, the internet has recently become the leading medium for advertising goods and services (Recode, 2018).
Virtual Tours Set to Lead the Way
One of the more recent phenomena on the internet is that of “virtual tours”. They are being employed by businesses to attract customers seeking property, holidays, leisure experiences and other emerging industries. While the name “virtual tour” has most often been associated with virtual tours created with still cameras, more recently they are increasingly being filmed by camera drones.
Problematically, virtual tours created by camera drones are non-interactive, giving users no real control over how the footage is viewed. As the footage is filmed at a walking pace while moving continuously from one point to another throughout the subject location, it is merely a linear walk-through. This merits questioning whether “virtual tours” shot by camera drones warrant the name, or rather the more accurate “video tour”.
A video tour will only allow the user to experience a linear, non-interactive representation of the location. A true virtual tour however, allows the user interactivity, and the control to assess a full 360°, wrap-around view.
Wikipedia (2010) offers a concise definition, in that virtual tours created with still cameras “are made up of a number of shots taken from a single vantage point. The camera and lens are rotated around what is referred to as a no parallax point (the exact point at the back of the lens where the light converges).”
The precise methods by which photographers have constructed virtual tours in this way have evolved and have now started to take advantage of panoramic one-shot optics, improved software and more efficient techniques to produce some incredible 360° panoramic views.
360 Virtual Tour Attractions
The attraction of searching online for goods and services is the comfort and convenience of being able to do it from the device of your choice. For more important purchases, it is crucial that any questions a potential client has can be answered by a highly detailed, easy to use platform. For example, virtual tours have become extremely popular as a marketing tool in the real estate industry. Potential clients can view a property at their own pace, leisure and in detail, without feeling that they need to waste time on exploratory visits. This ensures that they are confident about follow-up viewings in person, being reassured about the property and increasing the likelihood that the property will sell.
The holiday industry has also taken heavy advantage of virtual tours in recent times to appeal to potential customers. A common issue amongst holidaymakers is the misrepresentation of accommodation in traditional online photography. By providing a virtual tour, potential customers can be reassured in this respect, giving providers of this service a considerable advantage in the market.
Other applications for businesses can include advertising new retail units, sub-sectors of the hospitality sector such as hotels, and virtual walks of landscapes. The latter application is now becoming particularly interesting, as businesses which are based upon a leisure or sports-based service in an expansive area will naturally be at an advantage compared to competitors if they can provide an in-depth look at what they have to offer, without potential customers needing to travel to the location.
Golf clubs can really benefit fron virtual tours. We offer convenience of touring the facilities without the need for an expenditure of time, travel and finance on the part of the client. The client can easily view the lay of the land in great detail.
Huge Savings Made by Using Virtual Tours
The flexibility of a virtual tour is perhaps one of the strongest advantages that it offers any business over competitors. By allowing potential clients to interact with immersive, highly detailed content at their own leisure, they can return to the tour on multiple occasions with no financial costs incurred or travel time lost. In fact, clients will be more likely to peruse the photographic content in more depth and pay more attention to features of your business that they may miss on a time-limited physical tour.
In fact, a well-produced virtual tour may even transcend its original use as an information tool. If it is sufficiently immersive and interactive, perhaps using richer effects such sound effects, music and text, it can arguably become a form of entertainment for potential clients. In this way, it can reinforce a positive association between your business and visitors to your company website, encouraging further traffic. If produced correctly, a virtual tour experience can be sufficiently immersive to make potential clients feel attached to the experience and feel like their association with the business is more personal. In this way, visitors are also encouraged to remain on your company website for longer periods and make repeat visits. This will undoubtedly increase the chances of converting visits into sales.
Needs Met with 360 Virtual Tours
It is also worth considering the needs and expectations of consumers from the youngest generations. Whilst a written description and a few photographs would have sufficed to capture the attention of the generation which grew prior to the advent of the internet, those whom have grown up using internet-ready devices expect instant, convenient and feature-rich access to the information they seek and will quickly move on if it not available. The average visit to a website lasts for two to three minutes. A virtual tour can raise that figure to twenty minutes or above on average. In this way, you can command a larger share of traffic in terms of both hits and time spent on your website over competitors, giving you a significant edge.
Virtual tours also widen access to view your business to a virtually unlimited potential client base. In theory, any person with internet access and a compatible device can access your company website and the virtual tour you are hosting and become interested in the services you offer. The potential for word-of-mouth marketing is increased exponentially with the number of visitors to your website, and given the viral nature of social media trends in the current age, who knows what the next hot brand might be? In fact, a great number of the most successful brands in recent times owe their success to innovative techniques and the excitement generated amongst internet users, who are then compelled to share the next “big thing” with their social circles.
Perhaps most importantly, other than maintaining your company website, virtual tours require no stewardship, extra staffing or the logistical headaches involved in booking physical tours. A virtual tour is available at any time of the day, any day of the year, at no cost to the client, in a manner which is convenient to them, providing an optimal amount of information, and maximizing your sales: all completely automatically.
In a current climate of unrivalled competition, businesses must ensure they are at the forefront or originality: set up your own virtual tour today and be at the vanguard of innovation.