Why should you go to the trouble and expense of creating a virtual tour? Is it really worth it?
Our experience says it is. In fact, our clients who feature a virtual tour on their websites see 10–15% higher conversion rates than clients who don’t.
Virtual tours had their heyday during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re still relevant and valuable today. In this post, we’ll explain why.
How Virtual Tours Add Value
Schools offering high-quality virtual tours provide added value to parents, families, and staff. Let’s review some of the key benefits.
The first and perhaps most obvious reason to provide a virtual tour of your school is convenience and accessibility to those parents who can’t attend in-person tours due to scheduling conflicts.
Whether it’s for a single parent who’s simply too busy or a couple with difficulty coordinating, virtual tours offer maximum flexibility. They allow interested parents to view your facility on their own time, around their schedule — and that’s something every parent appreciates.
Offer a Sneak Peek
Forty percent of millennials (your target market, since they make up 80% of parents of children under age 12) prefer self-service to human contact with businesses, according to research. Further, 77% of all people feel more positively about companies that provide self-service options.
A virtual tour caters to that preference and allows these parents to check out your school on their own while they’re in that critical consideration stage.
In-person tours can disrupt your staff and the kids in your school when conducted during open hours. For instance, if a parent is only available during naptime, an in-person tour risks an afternoon of cranky toddlers.
Your staff and the parents of those sleepy kids will thank you for offering a virtual tour option.
Make It Picture Perfect
During a virtual tour, you’re in complete control of your environment. So, nitpick. Do as many retakes as necessary, and take as many photos as needed to capture your school at its best.
You can make sure the building is spotless and there are no distractions. You can also highlight the features you want parents to know about.
During the photography and filming process, it’s important to ensure the parents of any kids caught on camera have signed photography releases.
Outshine Your Competition
Producing a high-quality virtual tour is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
If competitors don’t offer virtual tours, your business will really stand out. If they do, find a way to enhance yours by featuring something that sets your school apart. Or, make your virtual tour more interactive.
Be intentional with your tour. Remember, it’s about increasing conversions, not just adding another page to your website.
Choose Your Virtual Tour
There are two types of virtual tours: video tours and digital 360 tours. Let’s explore each in detail.
To create a video tour, you’ll meet with a videographer who follows you around your school while you describe features you want new prospects to be aware of. Some owners prefer video tours because it allows them maximum control over the tour’s narrative. As a result, they can deliver the tour exactly how they want and highlight every special component of their facility.
Providing a video tour guarantees consistency for prospects — everyone gets the same high-quality experience every time. It also frees up time for your staff, who spend less time making appointments and describing your school with its amenities to prospects. On busy days, that can benefit your staff tremendously.
Digital 360 Tours
Digital 360 tours use videos or photographs taken by special cameras to create 360° images. When processed and uploaded to a special software, these tours let users “walk” themselves through the images by clicking on specific areas.
The benefits here are the same as for a video tour — more time for your staff and greater convenience for parents to view your facility.
Digital 360 tours also help boost your business listing on Google — more on that in a moment.
How to Use Your Virtual Tour
After investing in a virtual tour, you’ll want to maximize its benefits. Using your tour in the best ways possible isn’t difficult, but there are some best practices you’ll want to follow.
If you have a digital 360 tour, you can (and should) add it to your Google Business Listing. It will then appear on Google Maps and help your organic traffic.
Digital 360 tours and video tours should live on your website and landing pages from paid ad campaigns. Including your virtual tour in your email marketing campaigns is also a good idea, according to LineLeader’s 2023 Benchmark Report.
Also include your virtual tour in your tour scheduler or scheduling CTA to give parents that valuable sneak peek.
Virtual Tour Tips
Here’s how to ensure you end up with the best product possible when planning and creating your virtual tour.
- Film or take photos on a weekend. This allows you the time and space to make sure the facility is immaculate. The cameras used for this process are incredibly sharp and will pick up the slightest flaw, including fingerprints on windows. Take your time cleaning and be meticulous.
- Avoid holidays. Choose a time of year between major holidays to avoid seasonal decorations. This way, your tour will have an “evergreen” feel and stay relevant year-round.
- Feature “special” rooms. Beyond the basic classrooms (which should be displayed), show off your center’s playground(s), any “special” areas such as the lobby (so parents will recognize it when they come in for their in-person tour), a “boo-boo room,” cafeteria, or STEM/STEAM rooms.
By producing your tour when your school looks its best and highlighting its standout features, you set your business apart and show parents how you’ll provide them the peace of mind they’re looking for.
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