What is a virtual tour?
A virtual tour is a simulated first-person view of an actual location allowing the viewer to move through the location by viewing a series of 360 degree panoramic images. Each 360 degree panoramic image is a composition of a number of still photographs stitched together to form an uninterrupted view of a given location.
How can a virtual tour benefit my business?
A 360° virtual tour allows you to give your prospective customers a complete picture of your business/property showing them the quality and investment that you have made whilst giving them a real feeling of actually being there. A 360° virtual tour allows anyone with internet access to look around a room or view from anywhere in the world at any time of day. They can look up, down, left and right and even zoom in and out, just like they were standing within the image. It’s the next best thing to actually being there & it’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week & 365 days a year. By using virtual tour technology you can effectively communicate to your potential customers the layout, surroundings and high quality of your business in a relaxed no-pressure environment.
For more information, please read our Benefits guide.
I have decided to purchase a virtual tour, how the process works.
After discussing your needs, you should receive a proposal that includes costs and outlines the project requirements. Once that is agreed upon, you will then need to schedule a date for your photographer to come out to your location and shoot your virtual tour. After your virtual tour is shot, will come the development and production process. Once your virtual tour has been produced, you should receive a link or file where your virtual tour can be looked over for any changes prior to signing off.
How do customers view the Virtual Tour?
Virtual tours can either be hosted by your own servers, your host servers or on Google's servers as part Google Earth/Street View.
The virtual tour can easily be embedded onto your website and then viewed via smart phone, tablet or desktop.
How long does a virtual tour photoshoot take?
The amount of time varies depending upon the size of your property and the amount of panoramic photography required.
If you wish to include people in any of the shots then this can extend the process to ensure everyone is in focus and looking their best.
How long does it take to process a tour?
This will depend on the amount of shots taken to produce the virtual tour. Most providers should be able to capture and process the virtual tour within a week.
It is best to agree clear timelines with your virtual tour provider in advance of instructing them.
What do I need to prepare?
The owner is normally responsible for the presentation of the property for photography and ensure the place is made clean and tidy prior to the photo shoot.
The images will provide a clear view of your business or location so it is important that viewers see the place how you would like it be presented. Before a photography session you may wish to consider these hints for presentation:
- Rooms de-cluttered of non-essential items
- Furniture is properly positioned and all surfaces are clean
- Soft furnishings are clean and well pressed
- Fresh flowers and filled fruit bowls can be arranged to add points of interest to pictures
- Try and ensure all the lights are working
- For external shots be mindful of scaffolding/building work which would detract from the image and make sure that the landscaping is neat and tidy
Imagine the photographer as a potential guest. You would want to show your location in the best light to try to secure their business. Remember, the images taken are fully immersive 360° pictures. They allow the potential visitor to (virtually) step into the scene and see it as if they were there.
Furthermore, staging people to pose in the photo-shoot is a great way to ensure predictable, good looking “action shots” within your virtual tour.
Do my customers need special software to view the tour?
No, modern tours should be produced in HTML5 and the majority of devices and computers have an HTML5 browser installed on them.
Older virtual tours sometimes relied on the viewer needing flash player to view the tour on their device.
I don’t have a website, can I still have a tour?
Yes. OOVIRT can provide a simple 1-page listing with your tour and business contact details on it. You can also place the virtual tour weblink on other websites where you promote your business.
May I decide what interior and exterior shots I want in my 360 virtual tour?
Yes, you may choose any scenes or rooms to be represented in the virtual tour of each property. Exterior shots are normally weather permitting and things usually look better when the sun is shining.
Be sure to try and show off all of your space to help connect with your customers and provide a good visualisation of the location.
Always try to include any accessibility features and information that will aid your customers.
Who owns the images?
This should be agreed in advance with your virtual tour provider. It is often the case that the photographer will retain copyright over any images produce.