Updated: Mar 4
In this post, we answer our clients' most common questions about virtual tour services and help shed light on the booking and production process.
There is no arguing that consumer habits were shifting further into the virtual world before the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent stay-at-home orders. However, after just a few months of social distancing practices, trends are suggesting that contactless services are rapidly becoming a preferred alternative to in-person activities, bringing us to the topic of virtual tours.
Virtual technology probably still feels like technology for ambitious tech startups but businesses need to realize that virtual tours are an optimal alternative to in-person interactions, and getting one produced is easier than you might think. 2020 consumer habit data is getting collected as we speak, but based on Google's Keyword Planner, searches for "virtual tours" between February and March rose from 1,300 to almost 10,000, indicating that consumer use of virtual tours has and will continue to grow.
Virtual tour sample from Geekdom's 8th floor community space in the Rand building in downtown San Antonio.
Common Virtual Tour Questions
What are the benefits of creating a virtual tour?
3D virtual tours bring spaces to life and transport the customer in a given area. They also allow for customer engagement on their terms and at their fingertips, removing scheduling limitations and accessibility. This hassle-free service is also excellent for potential guests and customers who plan to visit a place for the first time, like new members to a community space, and large venues who want to give customers a more accurate view from their reserved seats.
According to LCP360, a visual marketing agency out of Chicago, people will spend 5-10X longer on websites with an embedded virtual tour than those without them.
How long does a tour take to create?
Room scans can take minutes to hours depending on the number of rooms, size of the rooms, points of interest, and whether or not the spaces are furnished. For 10,000 sq ft. with minimal staging and prep time required, it takes roughly three hours. The more windows, doors, and reflections there are within the room, the longer the scanning will take to complete.
When is the best time to schedule the shoot?
The best time to perform the room scans for a virtual tour is when there is limited foot traffic in the space. Some clients find it easiest to assure vacancy on the weekends. Regardless of the day you choose, we recommend shooting on a sunny day to maximize the amount of natural light that filters into the building. But again, to produce a high-quality virtual tour, and limit the privacy concerns of others, try to schedule it when no one will be using the space.
How can we make our virtual tour interesting?
When staging the walk-through, imagine you are actually walking into the room. Focus on creating clean lines by de-cluttering the area and moving furniture around to direct the eye to desired points of interest. It isn't a bad idea to find one or two tours that you have deemed exceptionally interesting and then ask yourself what it was about those tours that held your attention. This research will offer a good starting point in guiding the staging of your rooms.
What else should I know before booking this service?
When creating a virtual walk-through, you want to make sure there is ample lighting in the room and that the place is presentable -- just like it would be if someone were visiting it in person. That means the trashcans are empty, the wall art is straight, the carpets are vacuumed, and all the light fixtures are working.
What equipment does White Cloud Drones use to produce virtual tours?
There is a ton of software you can download on your iPhone to create virtual tours. The risk lies in some of the apps questionable connectivity and production quality. There is also a ton of virtual tour equipment on the market, each with its pros and cons list. We use a line of commercial-grade cameras to produce virtual tours because the scanning technology can expedite the processing of fully navigational virtual tours, as well as schematic floor plans, comprehensive 3D models, HDR photos, and more.
How much does it cost?
As with most custom services, prices vary and will ultimately depend on the number and size of the rooms you want to include in the tour. Rates can range from hundreds of dollars for small office projects, to thousands of dollars for larger commercial spaces with multiple points of interest, like large pieces of artwork, unique features like an atrium or fountain, large viewing windows, and attractive architectural designs.
When can I expect to receive my files?
The processing time for 10,000 sq ft. takes between 24 and 36 hours, so expect to wait at least two business days after our visit. Depending on the square footage of the space, we suggest scheduling this service at least two weeks in advance from the time you need your virtual tour.
Virtual tour sample from Geekdom's 7th floor community space in the Rand building in downtown San Antonio.
When hiring a company to create your virtual tour, remember these things:
Request examples of their recent virtual tour projects -- we also recommend asking for references from those projects.
Ask what kind of equipment they will be using.
Get an estimate on turnaround time for the files.
There are so many untapped uses for virtual tours that businesses have only begun scratching at the surface of their potential. If you want a high-quality virtual tour of your building, venue, or office space, email email@example.com for a quote.
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