What is a 360° Virtual Tour?
A 360° virtual tour is a real-time experience of a remote location using advanced 360° technology. With a wide variety of use cases and applications, these tours effectively transport remote guests or users from their actual location into a virtual space where they can explore, learn about, or inspect an environment without the need to be physically present.
Apart from tours, 360° video technology has a wide range of uses, many of which incorporate virtual reality, such as entertainment and video games. 360° virtual tours can often be experienced through virtual reality headsets to create an extra layer of immersion and sensation that one is physically present in a remote location. However, it is important to note that 360° falls along a spectrum of immersion and can be experienced apart from a virtual reality context, such as via a modern web browser.
During the pandemic, virtual tours became a necessity due to travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines. However, thanks to advancements in remote collaboration technology, virtual tours have been implemented as a strategic sales and marketing tool to foster efficiency and innovation.
How is a 360° Tour different from a Standard Remote Tour?
360° virtual tours provide a level of clarity, detail, and experience unmatched by virtual tours conducted via standard videoconferencing platforms (such as Zoom or Teams). What is the main reason for this? Most notably, standard videoconferencing tools were not designed to provide adequate spatial context of an environment. In other words, these tools were built for faces – as substitutes for face-to-face meetings – and not places.
One of the main advantages of 360° tours is the notion of viewing autonomy. Much like a regular tour, a 360° virtual tour gives each individual the ability to choose their own point of view and navigate through a space like they would if they were there in person. It is inherently more interactive because guests or attendees are not relegated to the point of view of the camera operator or tour guide. They can look wherever they choose.
With 360° full spatial context, tour attendees can look up, down, left, and right. It feels as though they are an active participant in the scene, rather than watching something on-screen. The degree of immersion in a 360° virtual tour is even further emphasized when viewed through a VR headset.
Types of Virtual Tours
The word “tour” is a fairly flexible word that encompasses a variety of different situations. 360° virtual collaboration platforms, such as Avatour, were purpose-built for on-site collaboration such as tours, inspections, and training. Although these platforms are considered site-specific technologies, there is an extensive list of circumstances that require real-time sharing of a physical location.
The following list includes several main examples of different kinds of virtual tours:
- Campus Tours: bring prospective students on campus to explore a pre-recorded campus tour or real-time visits. This can be especially useful for international or out of state students who may not be able to physically visit the campus before enrollment.
- Facility Tours: bring stakeholders, experts, or inspectors on-site for a facility walkthrough. Virtual facility tours are great for bringing together global teams without the time or cost associated with travel.
- Home & Real Estate Tours: helps real estate agents host virtual open houses, help clients pre-screen properties, or feel more comfortable about purchasing sites unseen.
- Education & Tourism Tours: whether because of global shutdowns or simply to provide an experience for those who cannot travel, education and tourism virtual tours have become an increasingly popular way to teach and educate. Examples include virtual museum tours or to teach about sustainability via 360° diving explorations.
- Hospitality & Venue Tours: these are a great opportunity to “try before you buy,” giving prospective guests or event holders a sneak peek at facilities and location offering.
Benefits of 360° Virtual Tours
When hosting a virtual tour, it’s important to provide an experience as close to “being there” as possible. 360° virtual tours not only serve as the most suitable replacement for in-person experiences, but there are several additional benefits that position 360° virtual tours as viable business assets.
1. Greater clarity and detail
360° full spatial context provides more precise clarity and a higher level of detail, enabling visitors to see the full picture. Avatour streams in high-resolution 4K with low-bandwidth capabilities.
2. Expanded access
Invite more people on location, whether for entertainment, education, or inspection. Without the need to travel and coordinate logistics, bring people on site and show your facility in a way that cannot be captured by photos and videos.
3. Opportunity to close deals faster
Provide an opportunity for guests to see, explore, and interact with a potential purchase (such as a property, venue, or project) by eliminating unnecessary steps in the sales purchase cycle.
4. Ability to take more appointments
By saving time on travel without sacrificing quality, 360° virtual tours are an easy and convenient way to take more appointments.
5. Cost and time saving
360° virtual tours effectively remove distance as a barrier to what your business can do. Imagine the potential for innovation after potentially saving thousands of dollars per site visit and countless hours of downtime.
6. Reduced carbon footprint
Travel, especially air travel, is a serious contributor to climate change. Lead the way in your organization’s sustainability initiatives all while providing guests with a tour from the comfort of their own home.
7. Enhanced service offering
Show your clients, stakeholders, or audiences that you are an industry leader. Leverage 360° virtual tours to distinguish your service offerings, stand out from competitors, and delight your customers in new ways.
Avatour is the remote collaboration platform for site meetings. We’re committed to creating a future beyond distance. To learn more about what our platform can offer your business, click here to book a demo.