Remember when you called a business for information and asked them if they had a website? It really wasn’t that long ago that the answer could be yes or no. Remember when a one page website with basic contact details was an acceptable option for a business to share their information with their customers? Again, it really wasn’t that long ago but oh how quickly things have changed. Now businesses have Twitter, Facebook and Linked In accounts and a well designed and easy to use website is almost as crucial and expected as a working phone number. The question is no longer “Do you have a website?” because the website is an Of Course item in any marketing budget.
The same progression is happening with virtual tours. At our hotel photography company, about 90% of our business is commercial virtual tours for businesses. Consumers have gotten spoiled and want to see a place of business before they decide to visit. Residential real estate virtual tours and hospitality virtual tours very quickly became the norm and that trend is continuing to other businesses. Many of us can no longer imagine booking a vacation without watching virtual tours!
As the economy has tightened, many people are becoming more cognizant of where they are spending their money. Dinner at a nice restaurant is a luxury these days so consumers want to plan ahead. We have a date night this weekend and I have already been on the restaurant’s website to check out the menu and plan my meal (by the way I’ve decided on the prime rib!) We photographed the restaurant’s virtual tour so we already know what to expect from that aspect but this will be the first time we’ve eaten there. This restaurant virtual tour gets tons of hits on their website of people looking at the tour so I know that I am not alone in my desire to see before I spend.
As the digital age continues to evolve faster than the economy is growing, businesses are having to carefully decide to spend their marketing dollars and a virtual tour is quickly becoming an “Of Course” item as in “We need a website, good SEO, a Facebook page…and of course, a virtual tour.”