Virtual Tours, not just for pandemics

If you’re the kind of person that has been working remotely a LOT over the last year, (and to some degree, you probably are), you likely have a newfound appreciation for all of the newly available online resources – for making life work!  Thanks to COVID-19 dealings, many areas of our lives have been moved from outdoors, in. You might have already been doing most of your stuff online, but the pandemic has forced our hand to a lot more computer-y based, well, everything. What does this mean for you as a manager? Well, it means getting a little more comfy, but not like those bunny slippers you now wear all day. It’s getting comfortable with even MORE technology. (Because like, we had technology before. Now, it’s all extra.)

Me and you and them and us

Now, don’t get nervous that you might have to invest in new tech and services that will become obsolete when life returns to normal (and it absolutely will return to normal, if you were ever in any doubt), because all of the stuff that you can use now, you can for sure use later! Waste not, want not. And here’s why: Pandemics have taught us that the world is round. Right, ok, But what I mean is, we’re global! If anything good has come out of having to quarantine, it’s taught us that we have the ability to connect with others around the world like we hadn’t been before. If you have a potential client in another state, or even another country, you can market to them! Don’t neglect the fact that your audience can now shop for properties 24-hours a day. I can sense that you ( and your bunny slippers) want to know how…. virtual tours is the way to do it.

Why are you still skeptical? It’s easy to understand. The web is vast, and everyone, I mean literally EVERYONE in the entire world uses it. But it really just comes down to people communicating with people. And now, it’s no holds barred – online version. The game-changer is that now it’s not enough just to chat online. People still want to participate in things. We’re experience-hungry! And it’s all available like never before. 

Reach out and touch someone

Companies and nonprofits alike are doing their best to keep folks connected. Museums, for example, have graciously invested in virtual tours for everyone’s benefit. But wait, there’s more! Even travel companies are working to keep people social. AirBnb for example, has created a whole experiences group now as part of their company offerings. They’re literally leaving no opportunity behind. You can join groups for K-Pop artist bracelet-making, sangria cocktail classes with drag queens, Mexican street tacos with a professional chef, meditation with a Buddist monk, escape room tours, and more. I seriously want to try all of it.

And not to be outdone, Ivy league schools are getting in on the online offerings, too. Schools like Yale and Harvard are now offering online classes, for free. Zoos, theme parks, wildlife parks, and landmarks are all putting their stuff out and available for the masses. If they’ve got a product, service, or show, they’ve figured out a way to stay relevant. And if they can do it, so can you!

Being your most professional self means offering the very best you can to your customers. So, the choice to proceed with digital marketing is just one way to show that. It helps you look competitive, and like you’ve got your act together. Which you do, of course you do! You can handle this. 

Take me on tour with you!

What does a 3D virtual tour even look like? Well, as you can see in this example from Brick Underground,  it’s almost like a video, kinda like a photo, with you doing the driving. When you start a virtual tour, you’ll click the triangle “play” button. Typically, the tour starts then in “Explore” mode, and you’ll find that you can easily navigate your way around the “rooms” or photos of the rooms, with your mouse. Need to move down a hall? Click the mouse above the middle of the image. Want to see towards your left or right? You simply click whichever direction you want to look. It’s a fun way to see every little detail. 

As you notice, you’ll usually see some small icons towards the bottom left that let you view the room in other ways. “Dollhouse” mode lets you view it like you’re looking into a dollhouse. Try it, if you can’t picture it, it’s cute. Also, a fun feature for logistical planning is the “Measurement” mode, that will allow you to size areas of the room, to see if your furniture is gonna fit. It’s addicting! These tours are an amazing use of photo technology, and once you get the hang of how to view one, you’ll soon find that your last 20 minutes was spent looking at apartment rooms, and checking out cool decor ideas. (Wow, cool sofa. Make a mental note.)

Shut up and take my money

Now, 3D tours come with a price tag in one way or another. Be prepared to shell out some of your marketing budget. Matterport is one company that makes incredible 3D cameras that are designed to take 3D virtual photos and create them into walkthrough experiences. They, along with other companies like Asteroom also offer a service that does the filming for you. So, if you’re lucky enough to get approval for one option or the other, keep in mind that you can use pieces of your virtual tours as content on your social media, too! Maybe not the whole thing, but definitely make some posts, directing people to your website to take a tour. You can also play bits of your virtual tours like a short video, and add those into posts and stories, which is a great additional bang for your buck.

Why aren’t you marketing? 

Really, these tours are the way to go. Think about it. Virtual tours, placed right up front on your website is marketing 101 these days. They will keep your property relevant and connected to the world.  They’re pretty much a  permanent open house since it’s open to whoever wants to view it on your website, 24/7.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a space that’s always cleaned up and staged for shoppers? You can see how it’s beneficial in more ways than one, right? Whether you decide to buy a fancy-schmancy camera and film your spaces yourself, or if you opt to hire a company to do it for you, the opportunity to keep you connected will mean big successes for you and your property. 

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