A surprising number of Websites still rely on late 1990s technology, which wowed visitors when video took too much bandwidth for most surfers, but pales in comparison to professional corporate video production. Whereas 360 tours feature corny views of apartments, senior living communities, bed and breakfasts, and other businesses, videos provide a more elegant, direct way to engage potential customers. Considering whether to go with a 360 virtual tour or a video tour is like pondering whether you should use an old rotary phone or a smart phone. Leave the 360 tours in the past, where they belong.
Making your visitors navigate through fish-eye pictures of model apartments may seem like a nice idea in creating Website interactivity, but it can also be an exercise in frustration for potential customers who just want to push play, sit back, and observe. When you let your visitors choose how they see your community or business, you give them the opportunity to become frustrated, bored, or worse yet, confused. When you have a video, you have full marketing control not only of how information is presented but the manner in which it is displayed. For instance, good use of music can strike an emotional chord with viewers that a fish-eye photo of a room simply cannot, no matter how many times it spins around.
Videos also provide a lot more options, from voiceover and music at the simplest end to actors and spokespeople at the higher end. Are you selling an apartment room, a hotel room, or a building, or are you selling a community, an experience, and a way of life? People are not moved by simple facts or floor plans, but by attempts to form an emotional connection to the material. Compare a rousing speech to a pamphlet, or a beautiful symphony to a sheet of music, or a stale 360 image that first came on the scene when we all used dial-up modems to a beautiful video that shows your company understands its audience.
If budget is a concern and custom video production simply does not fit in the budget, then consider hiring a professional photographer for several hours and having him or her shoot your business, inside and out. High-quality pictures along with a nice Website are still a good start so that when you have the money to spend on video, the pictures still have value, not only on the Website but for other marketing collateral. A 360 virtual tour is no longer useful once you produce a professional corporate video, but even before then it is of questionable value. Most Web surfers are not impressed with 360 tours like they once were, so stick with professional video and elevate your marketing efforts to the age of streaming video.