Canaletto's paintings are seen to be so realistic that on observing his paintings, a beholder starts experiencing the landscape, the sounds as it was about 250 years ago, of every place he has depicted! So much so that a buyer of one of his acclaimed works had remarked, "Everything in the painting is so surreal, you can even see the sun shining in it!"
Such is the power of immersive platforms. Flash-forward to the 21st century, while Virtual Reality teleports our senses, Augmented Reality merges the digital-visual content through to the user's real-world environment. Transcending what a good piece of art or book can do to the human mind, VR & AR encompass a more intricate and evolved processing techniques. The technologies create realistic, believable, interactive, explorable and immersive experiences, unlike the linear paths driven by the creators in other forms.
Technology has been instrumental in the way various sectors, including retail, education, healthcare, hospitality, real estate, entertainment, advertising etc., are being marketed in the present times. Virtual interactive tour, a vital component of VR & AR application has panned out as a useful tool to engage the customers with your brand like never before!
Here are a few best practices to help create the most impactful virtual interactive tour for your business.
Every business with an online presence today is integrating this technology to up their game in the market. But it is important to understand that it is not about a mere showcase of your facility. It is about captivating your target audience, deeply engaging them and providing them with an endearing experience of your brand.
1. A virtual interactive tour simulates an existing location and incorporates numerous multimedia elements to recreate a near-real representation of reality. The primary focus should be on the 'trivial' things. As contradicting as it might sound, the creators of the tour should know that the 'devil is in the details.' Every component of the area being shot needs to be spick and span. Everything needs to be free of dirt, stain, cracks, clutter, unnecessary items or any random stuff that might mar the production of a superior output.
2. A good virtual interactive tour should integrate diverse data types to project images and views from different viewpoints and profiles. It should be able to present the perspectives of many inaccessible areas and serve as an ideal alternative for the target market to witness the facility at the comfort of their homes, thereby saving their time and logistical expenses. It is equally essential to include the floor plan of your campus/facility to indicate the vastitude, the relationship between various spaces, and the potential of a layout and its design.
3. Telling your brand story through videos is yet another critical component. Not any video, but a solemn marriage of your strong visual communication ideas with the quality images of your facility! Reports indicate, 2019 will be the year where videos will dominate the internet traffic. Experts say "In the future, marketing strategy without the infusion of videos will be as good as a species on its last legs". Through the videos, you can guide the prospective customers through every part of the facility, making them feel connected and inside your place, without actually physically being present. Videos have this advantage of going as part of your virtual interactive tour or as a standalone component for your website and social media to dramatically increase the website traffic.
Research by Best Western indicates brands under the hospitality sector with a virtual interactive tour on their websites generate 48% more bookings! It is for the reason that it gives customers more control over their purchasing process. The inclusion of high-quality media elements viz., interactive visuals and videos within the virtual interactive tours are seen to phenomenally increase the conversion rates.
4. The surroundings, conditions and locality are as crucial as your establishment itself. For example, for retail stores, customers would like to know if there is enough parking space or if it is a crowded locality and suchlike, for real estate it is crucial to see if it is a cookie-cutter neighbourhood or something which can inspire them to evolve, etc. These need to be addressed without a spark of inaccuracy.However, at times it might not be feasible to take a granular approach into the locality. In those cases, it is essential to put up a convincing description or video testimonials of the management team about the elements missing from the virtual interactive tour. This helps customers make informed decisions or at the least, bring them around to your facility, in- person.
5. The most crucial element here is to keep it authentic. Whatever you showcase online, the facility shots, the information provided through texts, testimonials or otherwise should all be genuine. The end objective of a well-thought-out tour is to enhance the user-experience throughout their stay on the website. But sprucing up a place only to increase the aesthetics, which is not the case, in reality, will defeat the whole purpose of integrating a virtual interactive tour.A propitious generation of traffic to the website is the promise that goes along with a well- produced virtual interactive tour. Do a detailed analysis of what your target market likes to know about your business, leave the rest to the industry experts to take your business vision to the next level.