Virtual tours have been in the spotlight during the pandemic to help businesses stay open as a viable solution. Many businesses rushed out to create these tours without fully understanding the benefits. In many cases, they have helped businesses stay afloat and even create new opportunities. In a mature post-covid world, we have seen the positive impact that a well-thought-out and designed virtual tour/experience can have a long-lasting positive effect on a business. Today we will be exploring how a virtual tour can help businesses stay open and find new opportunities during the pandemic (short and long-term).
How Virtual Tours Help Businesses Stay Open During the Pandemic
Minimise the spread of infection
The first thing most people think when asked “How can virtual tours help businesses” is to slow down the spread of infection during the pandemic. With lockdowns, social distancing as standard, people not confident to go out of their house, a virtual tour is a great way to showcase your business, services or products whilst customers remain in the safety of their home. This means that people can still engage with you while minimising the spread of the virus.
Make customers and staff feel safe.
A true story, our founder Dimitri was in a lift earlier this year, and he cleared his throat. A lady in the lift looked up and took a step back as though he had the plague. Dimitri let the lady know he only had sinusitis, and she immediately felt at ease. This person’s reaction may seem overboard to some, but it’s an example of the reality we live in today. In a time when people are acutely aware of their surroundings in relation to not catching the virus, people want and need to feel safe. Virtual tours give the ability to still stay connected without the need for physical contact and stay safe.
You can guide and curate a customers experience through a virtual tour. Double click to make the virtual tour go full-screen.
Work remotely and improve efficiency
A friend of the Simply 360 team works for a large Australian company. He told us that the majority of his time pre-pandemic was spent in meetings. Additionally, he would spend 2-3 hours a day looking for meeting rooms and travelling to venues. This averaged out to 10+ hours a week. When the pandemic hit and all meetings went virtual, he said that while meetings still take up most of his time, he literally got back 25% of his workweek by having the meetings online. The same can be said for virtual tours. Using our live guided virtual tour technology, you can literally host meetings with your clients inside a virtual tour.
Anyone who has to hold on-site inspection for aged-care, venue spaces, real-estate and more knows that time management is essential. Traditionally you would organise to mee meet with a client, wait for them to arrive, showcase the property then walk back to your desk. With a live guided virtual tour, you can showcase your space (one-on-one or in a group), curate their experience, see and talk to each other like a Zoom meeting then go on to the next meeting.
We found that, on average, you hold more meetings in less time while never leaving your desk. This technology is especially important for multi-site businesses where a person has to go from site to site. They no longer need to waste time driving around but can host the meeting anywhere.
Engage with new customers and create new opportunities
Every time you create a new channel for your sales and marketing team, you also create new opportunities. Here are some stats you may find interesting:
- Among 18-34-year-olds, prospects are 130% more likely to book based on a virtual tour.
- Those who view a listing with a virtual tour are twice as likely to book a reservation.
- 50% of adult users on the internet rely on virtual tours in their research and decision-making process.
- 67% of people want more businesses to offer virtual tours.
- There are more than 5 million visits daily on worldwide virtual tours.
- Virtual tours increase a business listing’s interest by two-fold.
Businesses with a virtual tour will attract new clientele and further enhance the experience for existing clients. In short, this technology can bring in new possibilities.
The short-term benefits of a virtual tour
There are a few benefits that appear in the short term when a virtual tour is created. Not only do you have instant content for your website, but you also have content for your social media channels and EDM to link to. Additionally, through the use of a Google Maps Street View Tour, you have the added bonus of helping to improve your Google Maps ranking.
The long-term benefits of a virtual tour
Virtual tours have more long-term benefits than anything else. Aside from all the advantages listed already, there are some really surprising and beneficial ones that make a bigger impact. The first is for SEO, and that there has been study after study showing that virtual tours increase page dwell time by 5-10 fold. Additionally, we find that every page with a virtual tour embedded in it has significant staying power compared to pages/posts that do not.
We even created a simple little virtual tour case study (see below) and found that the average time on the page was over 5 minutes which is impressive (some go as high as 45 mins). You can read more on the long term benefits of virtual tours here as they also help increase sales and add value to customer experience and engagement.
Our Down-Under Sydney Australia virtual tour case study had some interesting results. Double click to make the virtual tour go full-screen.
Should I wait?
If you are asking yourself, “Should I get a virtual tour after the pandemic is over or get one now” you should ask yourself the following:
- Has my store/foot traffic decreased since the pandemic?
- Am I unable to showcase my business/property/facility due to pandemic (or been scaled back)?
- Do I want to increase sales and create new opportunities?
- Do I want to engage with new potential clients?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then you should not wait for the pandemic to be over.
As you can see, there are many uses of a virtual tour that can help businesses through the pandemic and beyond. Not only do they help minimise the spread of the virus, but they also create new opportunities. Contact Simply 360 on 9674 9090 or fill out the form on this page to start a conversation about how we can design a virtual tour to help your business.
Can you think of another way virtual tours help businesses? Does your business/company have a virtual tour? Let us know down below in the comments and joining the discussion 🙂
Dimitri is the founder of Simply 360, which specialises in creating immersive, interactive and engaging 360 / VR virtual tours, AR integration and marketing consultancy. He has worked in the digital marketing industry for over 15 years and has a passion for creating virtual tours with a key focus in strategic implementation.