The year 2020 has impacted people in more ways than one. It was a year of change, adapting and also re-assessing everything from how we work to how we wash our hands. Today let’s look at 2020 as a year in review with regards to virtual tours with what changed, what stayed the same and what took us by surprise.
Year In Review – Virtual Tours 2020
So what changed over the course of the year? Depending on who you ask will give you a different answer. It is safe to say we were all impacted in some way. In Australia, there were four things all Australians had a crash course in:
- Re-learning how to wash our hands (in some cases learn correctly for the first time).
- Scanning and using QR Codes. Previously most people didn’t know what a QR code was, and if you had them, most people never scanned them.
- People learnt what a 360 virtual tour is and how it can be used (especially for the long term).
- The most important of all, a deep appreciation, respect and the occasional fistfight for toilet paper.
Many Became Experts Overnight
For the longest time in Australia, people didn’t know what a 360 virtual tour was. Most people only associated it with Google Maps and not much more. When the pandemic started, I had many calls (mostly from real-estate agents while other industries shortly followed) enquiring about virtual tours for their business/organisation. It was a learning curve for many people with some interesting questions along the way. Many business owners, marketing managers and people, in general, had to become knowledgeable overnight.
This led to working with many organisations to help weave through all the information that was flooding the market. There was also a lot of miss-information created and spread. Start-ups were trying to get into the industry for a quick buck and confused quite a lot of people. I remember speaking to many of my now current clients and showing what 360 tours are all about with multiple examples. Showing people what a 360 photo is, the difference between a Google Maps Tour and a custom 360 virtual tour, why high-quality resolution matters amongst others. The most important is what to look for when it comes to 360 virtual tours and how to spot an expert 360 photographer from an amateur.
Real Estate Virtual Tours Went Sky High Then Crashed
Before the pandemic as mentioned above, most people associated virtual tours with Google Maps. The only other industry was real-estate, but virtual tours were not used as much as before the pandemic. During March – June 2020 there was an explosion of virtual tours on real-estate websites. While they are more commonplace now prior to the pandemic, they are almost back down to non-existent in the real-estate world.
At the time of writing this article, we did a little experiment to see how much virtual tours are now being used in real estate. We went to the popular real estate website Domain and searched for all properties which are for sale in the Sydney Region; you get the following result: 17806 Properties for sale in Sydney Region, NSW. When you filter those with virtual tours, you get the following result: 46 Properties for sale in Sydney Region, NSW. This equates to only 1 in 387 (or 0.258%) of properties in Sydney currently having virtual tours and is expected to decline as the pandemic (knock on wood ✊?) continues to improve.
Exploration Into New Industries & Ideas
Many things which were considered normal were either prevented or under lock-down. Companies and organisations had to re-think their events strategy. This gave rise to virtual open days which were very popular with childcare centres, schools and colleges. Parents and students could explore campuses and spaces from the comfort in their own home. While in the retail space, it gave people the ability to explore, shop and interact with sales staff as though they were onsite in person. This ranged from art galleries, B2B based businesses and even high-end locations. Additionally, high-end constructions that generally have a grand opening re-imagined their launch with a 360 open day.
TAFE NSW Virtual Open Day
The launch of the new M8 tunnel, our team, went in and created 360 images for their virtual event.
The Value Of Google Maps
One of the often unsung heroes of the Google Ranking Game is Google Maps Street View Tours. Some companies created Google Maps Virtual Tours alongside their 360 virtual tours for the additional local map ranking advantage.
The 2020 Year In Review – A Time For Change & Thinking Outside The Box
2020 impacted everyone in some way. The one thing that many people have realised is that while at the beginning of the pandemic, many thought of virtual tours as a ‘just for now’ thing. As the market grew, many realised their long term advantages and that these tours are an excellent long term strategy with multiple industry applications. If you are looking to create a virtual tour for your business/organisation and want to start 2021 with a bang, feel free to call us, email us or fill out the form on this page. We are happy to have a chat and see how a 360 virtual tour / Google Street View tour can help your business for years to come.
Is there anything else we left out in the virtual tour year in review? Did you create a virtual tour in 2020 or are leaning towards creating one in 2021? Join the discussion down below and leave your thoughts 🙂
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.