Archive for March, 2013

When we started our virtual tour company, we had a clearly defined strategy of building a local virtual tour business photographing North Georgia residential real estate virtual tours.  Instead, we ended up with a national virtual tour company providing healthcare virtual tours and vacation rental virtual tours to clients all over the country.

 Our strategy didn’t fail because we didn’t try hard enough to make it work.  Our strategy failed because there was a better path for us that emerged as a result of the obstacles we faced and overcame.

We thought that we would do a few vacation rental virtual tours and healthcare virtual tours as a way to make a little extra money while we waited for our North Georgia virtual tour real estate business to take off.  What happened instead was that the Healthcare virtual tours and vacation rental virtual tour business skyrocketed and our new strategy became crystal clear.  As a matter of fact, residential real estate virtual tours now make up about 5% of our business and healthcare and vacation rentals make up about 85%!!

We had a well thought out business plan and IT failed. WE didn’t fail because we never stopped moving forward.  It wasn’t that we didn’t try hard enough to make our intended strategy work but rather that as we pursued that initial strategy a better strategy emerged.  Henry Mintzberg describes this “emergent strategy” as a set of actions, or behavior, consistent over time, which resulted in “a realized pattern [that] was not expressly intended” in the original planning of strategy.

We have a thriving virtual tour business now simply because our initial plan was replaced by something more suited to our skills, experiences and lifestyle.  While business planning is valuable, any business should be flexible enough to take advantage of new and different opportunities as they appear.  We’ve heard the old saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” but we must remember that the saying doesn’t specify that we need to try the same thing over and over again if it’s not working.  The key to finding your strategy is to define and redefine as many times as necessary until you find the right one.

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Stills, Panoramas, or Video…The Fusion Virtual Tour Software Offers SO MUCH!! How do you decide??

Which type of media is best for a virtual tour? When you’re creating a virtual tour in the Fusion virtual tour system, you can use high-definition still photos, high definition panoramas, and HD video footage to bring your property or business to life for your viewers. But which media format should you choose? Each type of image has different strengths and advantages.

Still photos: Capturing the best moment
One main advantage of using photos in your virtual tour is that you can create the perfect image and include it permanently as part of your presentation. Photos come with fewer variables and potential problems, especially compared to panoramas and video footage that includes audio. Still images are also perfect for using in the MLS so if you’re shooting real estate we recommend including at least five to ten really nice shots for your MLS.  Feel free to charge for more.  Many MLS boards now allow for upwards of twenty or more images. Still images in a business are also perfect for zooming in on special features or items of interest.  Be sure to include stills in ANY production!

Panoramic Images: You can use panoramic imagery that allows viewers to
explore your business or property at their leisure, and focus on
whatever details interest them the most.  A quality panoramic image will allow you to capture an entire full 360 scene at an incredibly high level of detail.  With RTV’s Fusion virtual tour software system you’ll be able to capture full 360 by 360 spherical panoramas or traditional cylindrical panoramas.  While the former is more expensive to create, you’ll also be able to charge more. Especially if you’re shooting virtual tours for a business.  There are those out there that will tell you that panoramic photography is a thing of the past but here at RTV we clearly see a HUGE rise in both cylindrical panoramas and full 360 by 360 sphericals are making a HUGE comeback. By using panoramas in your virtual tour, you’ll also be able to balance out the exposure much better using a panorama than you would be able to do using full motion video.  Expect to get at least $100 to $200 per panorama in any business related production. 

Full Motion Video: Breathing life into your tour! Most people enjoy watching videos online. In fact, video footage has a higher engagement level than images—so it’s been proven to get attention. Including video in your virtual tour can transform a static setting into an active presentation that keeps visitors on your website longer. Video is especially positive for businesses. You can use video footage to show your business in action, interview satisfied customers, offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your staff, and much more.  Remember that video is GREAT for things that move and make noise.  Most people really don’t want to watch you walk through the house, bouncing around with a camera.  At the end of the day your windows are going to be blown out and the production is linear.  Be sure to use video when appropriate, when business owners and real estate agents want to get in front of the camera and when you would like to show off water features, hot tubs, animal life and of course water activities. Most RTV virtual tour providers sell full motion video services starting at $100 or more.

Which should you choose?
In nearly all cases, the best choice for creating a fantastic virtual tour is to use a combination of high quality still photos and video footage. Real estate properties might use photos for the main portion of the tour, with mini-videos included as pop-outs for hot spots. Businesses can feature videos with customer and staff interaction in equal proportion with imagery.

Whatever mix you decide to use, you can create a vivid and compelling virtual tour with both still photos, panoramas, and video that will capture your visitors’ attention.

Make sure you’re taking full advantage of all three using RTV’s Fusion Technology!

Real Tour Vision
International Virtual Tour Company
Order a 360 Virtual Tour: 1-866-947-8687

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Including clear calls to action in your virtual tour:

“If you build it, they will come.” The famous line from the movie Field of Dreams seems like it should apply to 360 virtual tours, too—if you create a fantastic and compelling virtual tour, then visitors will show up to see it.

This is definitely true. But you want your viewers to do more than just watch the tour. You want them to act on what they’ve seen: book a stay in your hotel or resort, rent your vacation property, look into purchasing your homes for sale, or become a paying customer of your restaurant, museum, or other type of establishment.

Viewing your virtual tour helps to convince people that they have what you want—but don’t forget to include a way for your viewers to act on their convictions. Here are some tips for building calls to action into your tours.

Introducing: Your Business
Your business virtual tour should start out by informing viewers about you and your business, as well as whatever property you’ll be showing on the virtual tour. You can do this by listing your name, your company name, and your contact information at the start of the virtual tour, either as a caption or text overlay, or by recording a personal welcome message as a tour intro.

If you record a welcome video, keep it brief and to the point. Introduce yourself, offer a sentence or two about the property or business, and let viewers know how they can learn more (by contacting you!).

Leveraging Fusion’s AMAZING Hot Spots
Including hot spots in your virtual tour, such as identifying features in a virtual floor plan, is a great way to convey more information about your property. You can also embed hot spots at strategic points in your tour that contain pop-out contact information, with clickable email or website links, or click-to-call links for mobile tours.  Try linking directly to your facebook fan page at the end of your virtual tour or even allow users to click to book now or purchase!

Curtain call
Finally, be sure to feature your contact information at the end of your virtual tour. This information will remain on the screen once the tour is completed, making it easy for visitors who have just viewed your stunning imagery to take action immediately.

RTV, Inc – Hotel Photography
Virtual Tour Software & Digital Marketing Training
Order virtual tours:  866-947-8687

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Photographing and creating a virtual tour: 

Virtual-TourAustin is an Austin, Texas based virtual tour provider, if you are a business or a real estate agent grabbing your prospect attention is critical. It is a fact that 60% of the impact for any presentation given to someone is “visual” or we can call it “virtual”.

The challenge with taking still photos is that they are typically bland and do not provide the pizzazz an Austin based business wants to promote their business. On the flip side, a commercial real estate broker or a residential real estate agent wants so showcase a property they have listed in Austin with their best foot forward.

Challenges: The challenges that present themselves for real estate professionals in Austin Texas are going to showing after showing after showing wasting approximately 80% of their time. The prospect is not necessarily qualified until they view the listing in person and they get personally involved. Involvement can be the qualifier that filters the prospect so that an agent knows when they call; they have virtually been in the home, office or business place online. Virtual Tour Austin provides the type of marketing for real estate be it commercial or residential that gets the prospects involved and qualified first.

Are all 360 virtual tours the same? Not really, some are more robust than others adding unique attributes such as branding, music, narration, video capabilities, hot spots and a whole assortment of features that makes the tour that much more impactful.

For a business located in Austin, it runs into the same issues. Keep in mind that 80% of people search for information on the internet. A person living in Austin will want to check out online that new restaurant, bar, medical facility etc. Why not provide them with a 24 hour 7 day a week private tour of your business online?

Taking pictures: Having a successful photo shoot is not as easy as just setting the camera on a tripod and taking a picture. Most cameras today are pretty intelligent, however lighting comes into play and using manual settings is critical to having a successful virtual tour created.  Recently we completed a virtual tour for a jewelry provider to showcase some of her jewelry, again light played a big part in the virtual tour shoot and it was not as easy as just pointing and shooting the photos.

The critical factor is asking yourself are you going to get a high definition virtual tour that is created professionally that grabs your prospects attention? Hiring a professional who cares about making the best virtual tour is critical, if it isn’t shot right the first time, do they come back and do a re-shoot? Do they charge for the second re-shoot? Any business or real estate professional in Austin wants to engage the customer a high level, virtual tours are proven technology for today. Visit us at to see samples and pricing.

Steve Shire
Virtual Tour Austin
Order a virtual Tour: 512.947.5896

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As we look at most of our virtual tour providers around the world we’re seeing that testimonials are a very powerful, yet underutilized, marketing tool.  Getting testimonials for your virtual tour business helps you build credibility, alleviate concerns or uneasiness with your brand and convert prospects into clients. Adding client testimonials to your website can be an extremely effective way to establish trust and strengthen your company’s reputation with consumers.

You’ll see if you visit you can see the traditional virtual tour testimonial layout. It consists of one page on the site with reviews arranged in a list style. As we think about doing some Spring cleaning to our sites, perhaps we should also consider another approach with our testimonials.  Let’s step outside of the traditional formats used for client reviews and create a custom-tailored approach for your virtual tour company.

Display Testimonials throughout Your Entire Site

If your virtual tour company worked hard over the last couple of years and has made it a point to ask customers for reviews:  and have collected testimonials, be sure to take the time now to put them out there for everyone to see!

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s no longer the job of the consumer to research brands and products before making a commitment; they expect companies to provide that information for them. This isn’t because consumers are lazy or unable to gather the information on their own; it’s because consumers now have the ability to navigate from website to website, evaluating and comparing brands with the click of a mouse rather than traveling from store to store.

The primary function of a website is to promote your brand or products on the web so that you can expand your reach and increase conversions….but wouldn’t you rather have other people promote your virtual tour brand instead? The best way to sell your brand to potential customers is to let your current and past customers do the selling for you.

An excellent way to accomplish this is to integrate client testimonials and customer reviews into the central theme and layout of your website. Testimonials aren’t something to hide – they are something to be proud of and share with others.  Take a quick look at the home page of  Notice how you see past customer reviews scrolling on the home page?  Now look at our order a virtual tour page:  See how there are instant virtual tour service testimonials right there along the side of the screen?

I would like all of you to to work on spreading your testimonials out across your website before the summer busy season comes along. Remember to make time in your schedule to include some website maintenance like this and you’ll be sure to have a leg up over the competition this year!

Thanks for your continued support

Team RTV

RTV, Inc
Virtual Tour Software & Digital Marketing Training
Order a Virtual Tour: 866-947-8687

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