Inviting potential clients into your location, albeit online, is the perfect opportunity to openly and honestly portray a brand’s product or service. But can all Bespoke 360° Virtual Tours have this same effect?
It’s more important than ever to have high-quality images. And when it comes to 360° panoramas, image quality is crucial. Unlike traditional photographs, which are viewed from one perspective, 360° panoramas offer a much more immersive experience allowing viewers to explore an image from all angles. And that means that any flaws in the image will be magnified. Blurry or low-resolution images can ruin the effect and make the panorama seem amateurish.
Despite many tours being shot with a single-click 360° camera, A DSLR camera remains far superior and easily provides the highest quality 360° panoramas. It is a far lengthier and more skilled process, because it requires the capturing of a number of individual images that are later ‘stitched’ together to create the 360° view.
The higher quality images provided by the DSLR camera does come with potential ‘stitching’ issues if not edited correctly. It is important to ensure that your 360 virtual tour provider has the right software and skills to carefully align these pictures. The end result should be a seamless transition between images within the panoramic. A look through a 360 tour provider’s previous work will quickly highlight the camera being used as well as the quality of their stitching.
Choose a dedicated 360° Virtual Tour provider
If you are keen to reap the benefits of a 360° Virtual Tour, it is advisable to work with a dedicated service provider. Creating a Bespoke 360° Virtual Tour requires careful collaboration between a range of professionals from 360° photographers to graphic designers, editors, 360° tour creators and marketers.
A dedicated company is more likely to have their own in-house team resulting in a more consistent on-brand product. In contrast, it is unlikely that your local wedding photographer possesses the range of skills and software necessary to master all of these layers single handedly.
Don’t get carried away with all of the ‘added features’
A trusted 360° Virtual Tour company knows how users behave while roaming around a location. With this in mind, they know how to creatively maintain engagement whilst still communicating the right messages. We often see 360° Virtual Tour providers pride themselves on advertising 3D interactive maps, 3D rendered products and/or an avatar on their tours.
While these may be innovative and offer extra functionality, what is more important is whether or not the online visitor is able to operate the controls easily, are impressed with the visuals and engage with the right messages that lead to right responses.
Do they understand your business?
To communicate any marketing message, there are several factors that must be considered. It is no different when creating a 360° Virtual Tour; a specific purpose or goal should be drawn out at the onset. A virtual tour provider should be asking businesses questions that draw out the main message that will resonate with audiences and from there, provide expert solutions.
Some questions might include, What is the story to tell? What should viewers see, feel, and experience? If you have not had a productive conversation about these questions with your provider, it’s an amber flag.
Finding outstanding photographers and videographers is one thing, but working with a company who takes the time to listen and plan puts you in a better position to reach your goals.
Can they communicate your message?
Every brand has a story to tell. Finding the best way to communicate those stories with a specific audience is no easy task and requires careful planning. And that’s before a camera is even taken out of the bag.
Branding is essentially what creates a memorable impression on your visitor. Done correctly, a 360° Virtual Tour should provide a stunning on-brand journey that brings out unique personalities and cultures in a far more impactful message than other mainstream media.
Examine their portfolio
Most 360° tour providers will have their own portfolio on their website displaying their previous work. In addition to checking image quality and stitching, as already mentioned, it is worth paying attention to the industries they have worked in.
Some providers specialise in certain areas while others are more adaptable with experience across a range of sectors. It would also be worth checking to see if they have any online reviews.
Look beyond cost
Easier said than done, right? However, not all virtual tours are created equally. Undoubtedly, cost will be a big factor in any purchasing decision. A better analysis of the final cost might be to examine the value you are getting for your money. What is the 360° Virtual Tour worth to you?
Having produced and analysed a wide variety of bespoke 360° Virtual Tours, the logic of paying peanuts to get monkeys remains appropriate. Unfortunately, there are many ways for 360° virtual tour companies to cut corners. It’s worth getting it done right from the beginning so that you and your visitors can capitalise on a one-off long lasting investment.
If you are not interested in a Bespoke 360° Virtual Tour, a Google Virtual Tour might be a more affordable option. Find out what product is best for you here.