'Try it before you buy it' applies to most major purchases. You wouldn't buy a car without taking it around the block a few times. You'd be wary of deciding on a mattress without first making sure it was supportive enough. Most people visit a college campus before they even think about applying. No one wants to commit thousands of dollars to something sight unseen. That's a challenge facing universities, resorts, and other far away destinations. If people can't visit, they're less likely to invest. Virtual tours help solve this challenge, giving consumers the ability to 'try' destinations and giving destinations the ability to show off what makes them special.
Virtual tours are the future. As virtual reality becomes more accessible and more mainstream, more companies will adopt the concept and more consumers will come to expect it. Destinations that can offer a cheap and viable alternative to a costly visit will win potential customers who simply needed the boost of assurance that comes from seeing something for themselves. Virtual reality breaks down seemingly insurmountable barriers - like physical distance - in marketing and advertising. Here are a few things to consider when thinking through a virtual tour for your destination:
Showing vs. Telling
Your vacation rental brochure says, "this property is steps away from a white sandy beach." But, words alone won't cut it. People have become skeptical of marketing materials that misrepresent the truth. Instead of just telling your potential customers what the property is like, show them. Using VR, you can let them judge for themselves how close the beach is to their front door. They can draw their own conclusions about the cleanliness of the beach and the clarity of the water. This concept holds true for commercial properties, residential real estate, vacation destinations, universities, or anywhere where showing will be more powerful.
Go and Explore
Virtual tours empower your potential customers to explore on their own time. Instead of forcing someone to sit through a video or expecting them to read through a bunch of print collateral, let your potential customers explore at their own pace, seeking out the answers they want, and making a determination based on the experience. Virtual reality tours make it fun and easy for potential customers to experience your destination. It feels less like being sold to and more like discovering something new. That change in tone makes your destination more attractive and takes the burden off of your shoulders.
Find More Customers
Instead of limiting your sales to customers who can reasonably visit, virtual reality tours give you the ability to reach people from anywhere. With an affordable cardboard headset and an application, anyone can experience what your destination has to offer. It changes your entire strategy and dramatically expands the pool from which you're pulling from. Your outreach efforts can instantly increase and you can start finding customers near and far. Virtual reality allows your business to establish itself outside of its area. With VR tours, there are no limits.