What do you consider a virtual tour? In truth, there is no single definition. It could be as simple as static images of locations or as immersive as a comprehensive virtual reality experience. In-between, you can get anything from individual panorama shots to static walk-through videos. All of this is possible through virtual tour software.
As communication became increasingly digital by necessity, virtual tours across industries exploded. More and more businesses and organizations, from healthcare to higher education, realized a need to showcase their spaces to their audiences to prompt interest and engagement. They did it in every way imaginable, many building their own solutions and shooting their own videos out of necessity.
In reality, virtual tours are most successful when they’re comprehensive, built on a dedicated platform. In fact, most of the statistics you’ll find around the success of virtual tours are built on these more comprehensive experiences.
In this article, we’ll examine benefits for the customer experience, and for marketers trying to plan and implement digital tours.
4 Ways Virtual Tour Software Can Improve Customer Experience
Let’s start with the most important side: your customers. Especially in an age where in-person interactions are limited, digital engagement opportunities are ever more important.
A DIY solution to build a virtual equivalent of a personal visit may have been a good make-shift opportunity to build that engagement. More comprehensive virtual tour software provide long-lasting benefits to your customer experience.
1) True Immersion Into Your Physical Spaces
The goal of a virtual tour: to provide a digital experience that is somewhat equivalent to an in-person visit of your facilities. The right tour platform and system allows you just that, through a more comprehensive immersion.
Does your audience get a better sense of that space through a simple image or video, or a true virtual reality experience? Can they benefit more from a simple website with a series of static visuals, or a natural progression of those visuals?
A virtual tour platform allows you to accomplish the latter in both questions. From a natural progression through 360-degree and VR media, it immerses your audience into your space in a way that approximates the physical visit.
2) Natural Interactivity in a Digital Environment
The best digital tours are not just about fancy visuals or a natural progression. They also offer another element of immersion that static media simply can’t. They offer the opportunity to interact with your surroundings just as you would when physically walking through a space.
Find the right virtual tour software platform, and that interactivity is possible in a number of ways:
- Self-paced timing allows you to visit the individual spots at the time you prefer.
- Placed supplemental media and links in ‘hot spots’ around the individual tour stops for additional info and engagement.
- Call-to-action buttons, such as calling the organization or scheduling a physical visit.
These are only some interactive opportunities. Given the increasing importance of virtual interactivity in a time when it’s difficult to physically attend, an integrated platform can offer your audience exactly what they’re looking for when engaging with virtual tours.
3) Consistent Experience Across Devices
Do you know which devices your audience prefers when they engage with your content? The answer is likely not simple. While more than half of U.S. internet users now browse the web on a smartphone or tablet, a significant number still prefer their desktop. In B2B industries, the number of desktop users goes up even further.
When these users look for an interactive digital experience, they expect it to work regardless of the screen they’re using. That’s not always possible or easy for self-built virtual tours that aren’t automatically responsive to screen sizes. This can lead to awkward scrolling and navigation.
A software-built tour, on the other hand, offers a more seamless, responsive alternative. It’s dynamically optimized regardless of whether your audience views it on the smallest smartphone or a large desktop computer, creating a more consistent experience.
4) Seamless Integration Within Your Communications
Finally, don’t underestimate the customer-facing benefit of a close integration between your virtual tour and other communications. That can manifest itself in a wide range of ways:
- A seamless embed of your tour within your website, allowing users to navigate back and forth as they need to.
- Social media integrations that allow your audience to share your tour or its individual stops and media if they’d like.
- Direct links and integration between your virtual tour and interactive map, especially if built within the same software.
And that’s just the beginning. Rather than treating your virtual tour as a completely disconnected experience, your audience can naturally visit as they prefer.
4 Ways Virtual Tour Software Can Improve Planning and Execution for Marketers
Your customers matter. But a good virtual tour platform can be just as beneficial for your own internal processes as you work on planning and executing this more interactive digital marketing tactic.
1) Plug and Play Tour Creation
First, the actual process of creating the tour is simpler. You don’t need to have coding expertise or hire dedicated development help. Instead, most platforms are plug-and-play. This means you can simply insert individual elements in an intuitive, visual fashion, testing them immediately for validity and effectiveness.
For Concept3D, that platform is the Tour Builder, designed to make creating virtual tours easy even for novice marketers. Its features adjust depending on the pricing level you choose. These features allow you to integrate live data and audio narration accordingly.
2) Easy Conversion Points
Your virtual tour is not likely to be an endpoint in your marketing efforts. Rather, it’s a means to build engagement that can then translate to conversions, pushing your audience to generate revenue.
That process can be awkward if you build your own video or image tour. In a VR tour platform it’s more intuitive. The above-mentioned call-to-action buttons, for instance, are a natural addition to any tour. They offer natural spots to guide your audience towards conversion and tangible revenue opportunities.
3) Custom Share Opportunities for Other Communications
However, conversions mean little if you can’t actually get your audience to pay attention to your tour. You need a communications plan built around the tour to drive visitors, putting awareness before that much-needed engagement and conversion opportunity.
You can share any piece of content on the internet. But can you share the entire virtual tour in a way that makes sense for the medium? With the right platform as the basis, the answer is yes. These custom share opportunities are vital as you integrate your tour into the larger communication ecosystem.
4) Dedicated Support for Issues and Concerns
Finally, don’t underestimate the benefits of using a platform your own company has not built. It means you can be sure you’ll have support from the software partner if you run into any issues, need to fix bugs, or want a tutorial or refresher on how to best use the platform.
Over time, that support becomes invaluable for your company. Having a resource to depend on allows you to focus on what matters most: building a tour that your audience will want to engage with, without any of the issues or bugs that tend to plague self-built tours. Though it might seem like an initial investment, this feature alone means the contract tends to pay for itself in the long run.
How to Find the Right Virtual Tour Software For Your Needs
In short, finding a dedicated virtual tour software can make a significant difference for you and your business as you look to digitally engage. The process-related benefits for marketers only help to make the case that it’s better than trying to build your own solution.
At the same time, it’s important to realize that all the above benefits are only theoretical. They only apply if you can find a virtual tour vendor who actually helps you realize them through the right features, services, and support.
That’s where we come in. We pride ourselves in our virtual tour solution, helping businesses large and small in a wide range of industries successfully engage their audience. Contact us to learn more about the Concept3D Virtual Tour platform.