5 Pro Tips for Crafting a Profitable Virtual Tour

By Mansi Patel

13 August 2021

The Untapped Potential of Virtual Tours and how to creatively use it to generate traffic online

The first impression customers get of your company will always be visual. And even though you can help them better understand your brand through brochures and videos, I can guarantee the impact of a superior quality 360° virtual tour is nowhere close to that of ordinary images.

Almost anyone who has ever heard of Virtual Tours knows they’re most popular in the Real Estate Business. People think the concept of virtual property visits and virtual open house tours came into picture just so that real estate agencies can finally make use of their staged photos and 3D renders for their listings in more ways than one.

That’s not unusual. Just unfortunate. Because a virtual tour is way more than just a 360° view of an apartment.

It’s Immersion, Interaction, and Indulgence all in a single experience.

But here’s the thing right. Since its introduction in 1994, Virtual Tours have come a long way.

In today’s age, all businesses - old or new, are using virtual tours to establish their brand.

Here’s the breakdown.

1. Property Developers

Property developers were primarily the first to adopt virtual tours. From architects and interior designers to real estate brokers, this industry relies on 3D Virtual Tours to attract, market, and sell - Online or Offline. Offering a real-time virtual visit of your properties to clients works wonders, specially in the post covid era, since one does not have to leave their house in order to close deals.

And you can see the results first hand. According to a Profile of Home Staging report by the National Association of Realtors, 77% of real estate agents say staging a virtual tour helps buyers associate a property with their future home.

Via Giphy

2. Business Owners

For business owners, virtual tours are a great way to offer real-life training to employees before they start on the field. Whether it’s manufacturing, retail, or other industries, a fully interactive 3D tour is useful for giving thenew recruits an immersive insight into the company’s past and present, as well as the workflow especially while working from home.

By digitally simulating the production processes, it’s possible to identify dangerous maneuvers in advance. Automotive giant Ford, for example, has already reduced employees’ injuries by 70 percent thanks to VR.

3. Tourism agencies

For Tourism agencies, it’s pretty straightforward. What better way is there to promote a destination than to take your potential clients to the place virtually?

A 360° virtual tour does just that. It offers a virtual preview of a trip that audiences just can’t ignore. Since it’s the ultimate try before you buy experience for customers, they’re more likely to book a future vacation to a location.

Via melzo.com

4. Educational Institutes

When it comes to virtual learning, nothing gets more real than Virtual Walkthroughs that bring subjects to life and lets students ‘be there and be them’ in real-time.

Immersive Virtual Tours are a great way to help learn subjects like geography, history, and science.

Via melzo.com

5. Hotels & Restaurants

Rather than reading advertising descriptions and 2D images, virtual tours offer customers a chance to experience things for themselves before deciding which places they should visit. With an Interactive 360° Walkthrough of a suite, a particular room, or the hotel as a whole, you can increase your online bookings.

Now that you know the possibilities of a virtual tour, the question is - How do you create virtual tours that can deliver a killer impact?

Well, Here’s some pro tips on creating the best 360° Virtual Tour:

1. Use 3D renders & 360° panoramas that put your brand in the best light, literally.

One thing’s obvious - if you want to recreate tours that can eliminate the need to visit your property physically, you would want to use visuals that justify the real-life scenario.

Your renders have to be superior-quality if you want to convert your clients. Here are a few examples of remarkable 3D renders that will inspire you for your next project:

Here the design happens to set a darker tone of lighting for the dining area, so we used reflective surfaces and furniture touches to reflect the light within the room and give an illuminating effect to compliment the design.

Opposite to the first example, this one had a different approach. This render incorporated different textures for various objects that compliment the pastel feels of the design.

You can also use the same render for day and night views or with white and yellow light settings like this.

You should adjust bump, transparency, ambient color, diffuse color, specular color, glossiness, self-illumination, opacity, reflection and more - depending on your design. Since every material requires different adjustment, every imported and adjusted texture contributes to how realistic the rendering can be.

This one uses Corona renderer to provide natural lighting effects to the design.

2. Put your theme in the center.

For a truly customized experience, use your company theme and branding guidelines to craft your virtual tour. You can add logos, brochures, and your brand vision and mission to support your business goals.

Via mlz.gg/vishnubaug

3. One size does not fit all.

Make sure you use equirectangular images with dimensions of 4000x8000 or 3000x6000 for creating a smooth experience. Or putting it this way, use images with an aspect ratio of 2:1 (that is, the width must be exactly twice the height).

Another key point is to remember this - make sure your panoramas are less than 25 Mb in size. Larger than that and your virtual tour may take forever to upload.

4. Don’t overdo it.

The devil’s in the details. Editing a virtual tour with a lot of information, gifs, videos, images, etc. can also ruin the experience. So you want to make sure that your 3D tour is informative while also having immersive visuals, high-quality media, captivating descriptions, and even guided navigation elements that can keep your viewers engaged.

5. When adding images or videos, make sure they’re Goldilock Potential.

While embedding images and videos, adjust the depth according to the angle of your renders/panoramas.

This is especially important when you want to experience the tour in VR mode, using a VR headset. Since you’re in a virtual space, real-time, you want to make sure all images and videos are in ‘perspective’.

Do it too much, and important parts of your content will get cropped out. Too little, and your images will look stretched and pixelated. You need to have adjustments with Goldilocks potential, something that’s just right.

And that’s pretty much it. But, before we leave, the biggest pro-tip shall be this - Instead of outsourcing, use a DIY Virtual Tour Software to Create, Edit and Share your virtual tour so you don’t need to be dependent on anyone for customizing and designing it your way.

And just your luck, melzo.com has a free tool to help you do just that! kalaa.melzo.com lets you create a fully interactive 360° virtual tour in minutes, use it for free to create your own virtual tour on the go. You can also use udyog.melzo.com to visualize and collaborate on 3D models of your designs to embed it in your virtual tours.

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