What is a 360° Virtual Tour?
You know when you hold up that expensive smartphone, hit the pano setting, then spin yourself in a circle and twist yourself up into a corkscrew pretzel to get the whole view around you?
You are actually taking multiple shots which are then magically “stitched” together inside the phone to form one long, narrow image that shows the scene around you in 360°… or at least the circumference of how far you can twist yourself around.
The end results are fun, interactive, and informative. You can zoom in to look at specific things and drag the image to look at different points around you. You also get more of a sense of being “in” the image than you would with a still image or even a video.
I thought I knew what a virtual tour was?!
Many think a virtual tour is a collection of photos strung together and “run” like a screen show. The user can hit “play” or click through the static images but nothing more. No zooming in, no seeing what’s over there in the corner, no investigating every nook and cranny of what’s in the image.
Other’s call a video a virtual tour but the viewer is at the mercy of the person shooting the video with little control over what they want to look at. A video provides a little more to see but you find yourself looking at the screen and saying, “go back” or “freeze that” in order to get a better look.
So again… what is a virtual tour?
Technically speaking (here comes the jargon):
A 360 Virtual Tour is a collection of 360-degree panoramic rotating images, “stitched” together to form a full, 360° view of a location. Special cameras, lenses, technology, and methods are used to bring a tour together into a visual experience for the viewer.
A virtual tour package consists of several high-resolution photographs, called “spins”, brought together in a complete tour package. This high-quality user experience shows multiple locations throughout a site, switching views via thumbnails. The user has full control over what they want to look at and can zoom in or out to enhance the scene they’re viewing.
In addition, descriptive text, hotspots that transport the viewer from one place to another or simply provides more information, videos, and sound can also be included in a virtual tour package.
Panospin Premium Virtual Tours are hosted on the client’s servers and can be embedded on a website with some simple coding.
How are 360° Virtual Tours being used today and why should I have one?
A virtual tour is a marketing tool that can help bring new customers and clients to your business. It’s also a “virtual reality” view of your business relayed in visual images that allow the viewer to be “right there” at your location. It’s the best way to accurately show what your location really looks like. A tour is also a convenient sales tool that can be used to illustrate your business in a way still photography cannot.
360° Virtual Tours are being more widely used these days for a number of reasons…
- Viewers are researching businesses or locations to make buying decisions. They are choosing to do, or not to do, business based on what they see. A tour on your website can help bump that decision in your direction.
- It’s possible to collect data and information about locations from where the best table is in a restaurant or how comfy a hotel room is likely to be, to determine if your group can fit into that conference room comfortably, and even where all the outlets are. A user can make a “buyers” connection to your business when viewing a tour.
- Tours are being used to provide a “real view” format that allows viewers to move through any location as though they were right there and actually SEE what’s in every nook and cranny.
- Tours are also providing websites with a bump in their search engine rankings. The initial interest in seeing a location brings a visitor to your website and viewing the tour can keep them there for an extended time.
- The user’s experience is interactive and user-guided, not reactive as in sitting back and watching a video. The full control a user has allows them to stop and start wherever they want in the scene. They rotate left, right, up, or down looking around to see the spatial relationships between one object or another.
6 reasons why a virtual tour is all that and a bag of chips!
Your site visitors have:
- the ability to interact with your business on more than one level.
- the ability to see much more than they would in a still image.
- the ability to control what they see and how close or far they see it from.
- the ability to imagine themselves inside the scene while sitting at home, sipping coffee in their jammies.
- the convenience of fully investigating a business or location without leaving their home or office.
- the efficiency of enhancing the research they do on a business or location before visiting or buying.
Who can benefit from a 360° Virtual Tour?
Any industry that wants to show off the beauty of their location can benefit from a 360° Virtual Tour.
- Country Clubs
- Tuition Schools
- Real Estate, Residential & Commercial
- Retreat Facilities
- Medical & Veterinary Facilities
- Conference & Event centers
- Retirement, Nursing, rehabilitation, and hospice homes
- Retail stores
- Automotive dealerships
- Travel and tourism industry
- AND more!