12 May 2014
Google Indoor Street View is ideal for businesses which welcome people into their space. This is particularly applicable to the accommodation and travel industry. Based on the success of Street View, it’s no surprise that many businesses have been quick to add their own Virtual Tour and take advantage of this innovative marketing tool. If you’re a hotel owner or accommodation provider, here’s 5 reasons why you should invite customers inside your business with an interior Virtual Tour.
Featuring a Google Business Interior View will grant you an instant advantage over your competitors. Your Google Virtual Tour will be displayed to the right of Google’s organic search results with a “See Inside” call-to-action. This makes your business’ presence more colourful, eye-catching and stimulating. Your hotel can gain more attention than the local competition while evening the field against larger companies and chains located nearby.
Hilton Worldwide has stated that 78 of its properties now offer Virtual Tours on Google’s site. Geraldine Calpin, Hilton’s global head of digital, said more web visitors book rooms after viewing those virtual tours. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, owner of the Radisson brand, has also introduced virtual tours (The Wall Street Journal, 8 April 2014). Your Virtual Tour will appear to customers on Google Maps, Google+ Local and organic Google searches. You can also choose to imbed your Google Business View tour on your website or social media channels such as Facebook. This tool will direct more visitors to your website, which means increased customers and more frequent returns.
Let’s say you are booking accommodation in Sydney. Are you more likely to stay at a hotel with a virtual tour showing the size and décor of an available room, or would you choose to book online through a website with Comic Sans font and just a few photos? With this immersive imagery, potential customers can easily imagine themselves within a business and deicide if they would like to visit in person. This means that Business Interior View is your chance to highlight all the “bells and whistles” that your hotel has to offer, taking customers directly to the foyer, rooms, pool, gym and restaurant.
When you “open your doors” online and invite customers on a virtual tour of your business, you are giving them a level of detail beyond what text and still photographs could possibly convey. In doing so, you are legitimising your business. Any business can have a well-designed website, and clever angles can easily create photographs which hide or emphasise certain aspects of a room. Google Business Interior View allows users to confirm that the business really does match the descriptions and photographs.
Small to mid-sized businesses are particularly more sensitive to reviews because they have a big impact on future customers. Accommodation is something which travellers must purchase without first seeing the room or apartment in-person. Virtual Tours assist in managing expectations, allowing customers to accurately judge a hotel’s décor, size and amenities before booking. If their experience matches or exceeds their expectations, a guest’s positive opinion of the hotel will be reflected when reviewing online.
Street View gained its popularity not only for allowing users to visualise their destination instead of interpreting a 2D map, but also because it’s fun to use. Google Street View roams far and wide, from the world’s greatest landmarks to quiet suburban streets. A couch-bound explorer can travel the world with just a few clicks. Google has begun to stitch Street View with Business View to create one fluid virtual experience. What was once a limited view of streets and building exteriors now allows for continued exploration inside these businesses. The entertainment value of this panoramic tour of your business will result in more time spent on your website, increasing its “stickiness” for visitors.
To find out more or locate a photographer near your city, visit the Google Business View website.
By Carly Crossley
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