In a time when in-person visits have become increasingly restricted, virtual engagement matters more than ever. Accordingly, interactive digital maps and tours have entered the mainstream in industries ranging from higher education to hospitality and healthcare. They’ve even begun to make an impact in less common subject areas like employee recruitment and data centers. The height of this feature is 360° Tours.
That is why, in a recent webinar, Concept3D explored both the standard and advanced features of our 360° Tour software for current and prospective partners. If you don’t have time to view the full recording, consider this your overview of the same topic.
We’ll start with an exploration of the basic difference between our map-based tour and 360-degree tour. Then, we’ll dive into the core differences between the standard and advanced 360 tour features within our platform.
Exploring the Differences: Map Tours vs. 360° Tours
The Basic Concept of the Map Tour
Long-time clients of Concept3D will be familiar with the map-based tour, which is a straightforward way to explore your physical space. It builds on the map rendering created within the general interactive map CMS as the basis. This creates a sense of clear spatial awareness as your audience navigates through your campus.
Every Concept3D map client has access to this type of tour. It can create multiple iterations for different audiences and situations. Each stop is a spot on the interactive map. Additionally, it can also include a description and videos.
We’ve seen this tour used in a number of ways:
- Walking tours of campus, helping visitors navigate from spot to spot but providing additional background information.
- Driving tours of campus in which the map acts as a GPS guide while the tour provides the desired info.
- Support for virtual events, in which visitors can explore campus even as they participate in other sessions.
These tours can also help visitors understand the scope of campus. Additionally, it prepares them for the physical visit at a later point. In other words, they’re less immersive, but immensely functional in nature.
Immersive Experiences Within a 360° Tour
Within the Concept3D platform, the 360° tour is a separate product from the interactive map. Clients can manage it in a separate CMS, Tour Builder. This creates more immersive experiences to draw visitors in and keep them engaged.
In contrast with a map-based tour, the focus here is less on spatial accuracy and more on media-based immersion. Each tour stop lives within a panoramic image that represents the space in a visual way. It uses real-life imagery instead of a GPS-guided map as the main screen.
The 360° Tour is designed to be immersive. Done well, it provides visitors the ability to recreate the on-campus experience of a physical campus tour, tour guide included.
Despite its separation from the interactive map (and even a separate URL), business users can create easy links between the 360° Tour and interactive map. That builds the potential for a holistic virtual experience highlighting both functional wayfinding and immersive media.
The Features Within Concept3D’s 360° Tour Software
Time for a deeper exploration of the 360° Tour. We’ll begin with the standard tour package that includes all the core features to build an effective and immersive virtual tour of your space.
Every 360° Tour highlights tour stops using 360-degree panoramas in which the user can virtually look around and explore. Organizations can add descriptions to each tour stop along with images, video, and audio for the tour stop that’s accessible to the user.
The tours, of course, can be styled to match your brand. It can share a virtual reality mode for visitors looking to go all-in on an immersive experience. And of course, these tours (and all of their integrated features) are responsive. This means they will display equally well on all devices regardless of screen size.
The Benefits of the Advanced 360° Tour Package
Imagine everything we’ve described above, built out just a little more. Concept3D’s advanced 360° Tour software sets up the same type of tour, except it also adds three core features that are worth highlighting: Hotspots, 360-degree video, and integrated forms. Let’s discuss each of these features in more detail.
Looking to add additional context or information beyond the panorama? Hotspots will become your best friend within the tour builder platform.
Think of Hotspots as interactive, clickable elements that show up in relevant spots throughout each tour stop. Rather than simply looking at a 360-degree panorama or clicking through an adjacent media library, visitors can immerse themselves even deeper into a specific topic relevant to that stop.
Within Concept3D’s 360° Tour software platform, you can build out five types of hotspots:
- Videos that can provide in-depth information on a specific building or other relevant element. If a college tour stop focuses on a specific building or college, a video might be about a student or professor within that building or college.
- Images that add compelling visuals beyond the general panorama. Think of an image of fans at a basketball game at a tour stop about your athletic facility.
- Audio might include a tour guide narrating the tour stop. Or, to stay with the above examples, the sounds of a basketball game might be a great addition, as might a radio or podcast interview with a professor.
- Links can guide your audience to your website for more information. Link directly to your admissions pages, research information, personnel introductions, and more.
- Text can add simple descriptions for individual elements within your tour stop. A panorama of an aquarium could include text hotspots describing the types of fish and plants that the audience sees.
Any advanced tour customer can add these hotspots to any tour stop using the Hotspots Manager within the stop. While in the editor, you can also set the size of the hotspot, its position within the panorama, and even the background color.
2) 360-Degree Video
All tours allow for static 360-degree panoramas. With the advanced package, you can get them moving, further enhancing the immersive experience you can offer your audience.
With a 360° video, your audience sees the life and movement that exists in the space. They’ll get one step closer to actually being there, still zooming and panning around while the surrounding frame continues its bustling pace.
The possibilities here are almost endless. You can showcase anything, from the general life of a spot on campus, or a specific activity happening around the camera. Depending on settings, the video can either loop continuously or run through one time as a user first gets to the tour stop. In the latter example, a prompt to visit the next stop can appear when the video is finished.
And of course, 360-degree videos – just like their static counterparts – offer the ability to add the above hotspots, further increasing the possibilities for immersion and engagement on the tour.
3) Lead Generation Forms
The third advanced feature of our 360° Tour software connects closely to other marketing efforts. Organizational users can integrate lead generation forms directly into the form, offering a natural next steps to visitors who want to learn more about the business or institution.
The forms are not native to the tour builder itself. Instead, Concept3D uses iFrame integration that pulls in native forms from a CRM platform or Google form. As a result, leads generated through the form feed directly into the system, without requiring a third-party data feed or manual entry.
Forms, like every other part of the 360° Tour, are responsive to screen sizes. They can either be passive, living in the background of the tour, or more actively pop up for visitors to prompt the completion. You can even assign them to a specific tour stop to create more intuitive, relevant next steps.
Embedding form into the virtual tour is a simple process, and requires little more than the share URL from the form you’re planning to use. With an iFrame embed code, you can change sizing. But even without it, you can adjust the form name, description and more. The result is a streamlined way to capture engaged audiences for further communications.
Building Better Experiences With Concept3D’s 360° Tour Software
Make no mistake: even in its standard setup, a 360° Tour is a powerful tool to engage your audience. These advanced features, make it especially successful. This further immerses your current and potential customers into your physical space and the visuals that make it stand out.
Adding to the advantages of these advanced features is that the build is intuitive even for non-digital experts. While our virtual 360° Tour software does live in a separate platform than the interactive map builder, the two can integrate directly and create a more comprehensive spatial experience.
So let’s talk. If you’re looking for ways to more effectively engage your audience through virtual experiences, this solution might just be right for you. Contact us to start the conversation and learn more about whether the standard or advanced version of our virtual tour makes sense for you.