A virtual tour is a collection of 360° images that are joined together by a series of linking hotspots to allow the viewer to move from one location to the next.
Virtual tours can be viewed on desktop, tablet or mobile phone and can include sound, video and photos.
To create the virtual tour, each viewpoint (otherwise known as a scene) is made up of a series of standard 2D photographs that are taken at intervals by rotating a camera 360° around a fixed point. Once taken, the photos are edited and stitched together so they fill a complete 360° sphere.
By linking each scene together and adding points of interest (or ‘hotspots’), an interactive 3D representation of your business premises is created which can be viewed in any web browser.
By rotating the panorama through the use of a touch screen, mouse or a phone’s gyroscope, the viewer can look around each image in the virtual tour as if they were actually at the location. If you’ve ever used Google Streetview, you’ve already used a basic virtual tour.
A domain name is a bit like having a home address, but it’s for your website. Instead of having to find someone’s home by coordinates, you can look up their address. That makes it much more convenient. A domain name functions the same way. Instead of needing to memorize an IP address, you can use a domain name. Domains can give your website a catchy name and make it easy to remember.
When a website is created, it stays on a server. Your domain name points to it, so if a visitor enters your domain name in the URL bar, they will be taken straight to the website. Without a domain name everyone would have to memorize a long string of numbers to visit your website.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This secure link ensures that all data transferred remains private. Millions of websites use SSL encryption everyday to secure connections and keep their customer’s data safe from monitoring and tampering
Benefits of an SSL certificate:
- Performance: Modern SSL can actually improve page load times.
- Search Ranking Boost: Search engines favour HTTPS websites.
- Security: Encrypting traffic with SSL ensures nobody can snoop on your data.
- Trust: By displaying a padlock in the browser’s address bar, SSL increases visitor’s trust.
- Regulatory Compliance: SSL is a key component in PCI compliance.
Every website that you visit consists of a domain name and a web host. The easiest way to picture it is to think of the domain name as the address and the web hosting as the physical building.
Your webpage is basically a collection of files and (in most cases) a database that are served up to your visitors as they browse around it.
When you’re browsing the web and you type in a URL (i.e. https://vartour.com), your web browser queries that domain name and asks it where the website is hosted. The browser then loads up the contents that are stored there.
Virtual tours are fast becoming an essential tool for any businesses marketing strategy. Unlike simple 2D photography, a virtual tour places the customer ‘inside’ your premises so they can see it at every angle from the comfort of their own home.
A visitor will be able to navigate on their own and move from one room to another, go to all the floors and check out every detail. It’s even possible to add information hotspots to highlight the services you offer along with price lists, opening hours, and anything else that will attract the customer to make a purchase from you.
A Vartour virtual tour webpage has a single fixed price which includes all photography, image editing, virtual tour build, webpage build, SSL certificate and domain name.
Hosting and maintenance is paid for on an annual subscription basis.
You can also purchase add-ons including audio samples and premium webpage plug-ins. These are generally one-time costs except for premium plugin renewal fees – see the Prices Page for further details.
Think of your 360° webpage as a completely separate page on the internet that looks just like it is part of your existing website.
The webpage is hosted on external servers and you can add a simple text link to it anywhere on your existing website or add a link to it in your menu.
Visitors click the link and open the page just like they would open any page on your website. When they have finished viewing the virtual tour and looked at the photo gallery they can seamlessly return to your main website with the built-in menu links.
One side benefit is that you can share this webpage independently of your main site – e.g. on Facebook – and it can be modified at any time at your request without the rest of your website being affected.
Your webpage will also have a different domain name to your main website which means you gain an additional presence on the internet, e.g your main website is mysite.com and your 360° webpage is mysite.co.uk.
It’s as simple as viewing a YouTube video in your web browser. Once a tour is created it’s uploaded to a 3rd-party hosting service and embedded in your webpage.
The tour is presented in the newest version of HTML5 (the code that makes websites work) so that it can be displayed in all modern web browsers on smartphones, desktops and tablets whether they use Android, iOS, Windows or macOS.
Take a look at the examples page to see what your own virtual tour website could look like.
- Check out our webpage examples then contact us with your requirements.
- We will invoice you and request the initial set-up fee up front.
- We will arrange a suitable time to arrive at your location and shoot the images we need to create the virtual tour.
- When we arrive at your site it will take approximately 1-2 hours to set up the equipment and take the photographs.
- Once we’re back in the Vartour office we will create a draft version of your webpage and we will work with you to create a design you like. We will then include any photos, audio, and text you have requested. We aim to complete this work within 1 week of the photo shoot.
- We will email you a link to the virtual tour webpage so you can view it for your approval. If you’d like any alterations made you can let us know and we’ll make them for you.
- Once you are happy with the virtual tour webpage we will make it live on our hosting server and publish the 360° photos to your Google My Business listing.
Vartour virtual tour webpages come with a range of options. We can include information panels such as email and telephone details, custom logos, audio (e.g. a spoken introduction by you), your YouTube videos, and links to other websites.
Please contact us if you would like any future additions such as new photographs. The virtual tour and webpage can be updated ‘on-the-fly’ by us without you needing to do anything.
Vartour currently accepts payment via Paypal. You can make your payment to Vartour via the Paypal website or app using email address: email@example.com or the PayPal.Me link: paypal.me/vartour.
We will contact you after the initial fee is paid to arrange the annual hosting and maintenance subscription.
Non-payment of the annual hosting and maintenance fee will result in your virtual tour webpage and 360° photos being temporarily taken offline.
Of course! We can add and remove text, modify the layout and upload new photos. Please don’t hesitate to let us know your requirements and we’ll do everything we can to help you.
All photographs created by Vartour for your virtual tour webpage package are owned and held under copyright by Vartour.
You have unlimited access to share and embed the 360° photos that Vartour uploads to your Google My Business listing.
If you wish to modify a particular photograph created by Vartour please contact us and we will endeavour to assist you, however we will not supply you with original copies of the photographic media.
Unfortunately some older versions of iPhone (6 and below) and iPad (3 and below) have problems when trying to display HTML5 content – including the technology used to display Vartour virtual tours. Try using a different browser on your device, upgrading the iOS version or use another device entirely. To date, all Android and all newer versions of iOS devices are compatible with Vartour virtual tours.
If there is a 360° photo AND the virtual tour on the same website page, one of them will always auto-load while the other shows a play button. Both media will still display correctly.
If only one photo or one virtual tour is on the website page then it will auto-load without the play button.
Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google that business owners can use to manage their online presence across the whole Google-controlled realm.
Think of GMB as Google’s equivalent of services like Yelp, Facebook Places or Bing Places.
An optimized GMB listing is critical if you want your business to appear in Google Maps and in the local map pack listings. The photo section in particular is one of the most trusted sources of information about a business and is among the most important local SEO ranking factors.
Due to constant testing by Google it is quite common to suddenly find your virtual tour on Google Maps has either lost it’s direction arrows, has missing scenes, or has even disappeared completely.
This is a common problem with Google and it is something that is unfortunately out of our control.
We recommend waiting a couple of weeks and if the problem persists then contact the Google Maps team and ask them to investigate.
Rest assured that your website virtual tour will not be affected.
The benefits of a Vartour 360° photo webpage
- Build customer confidence with a unique insight into your business.
- Ideal for all high street and public-facing businesses like hotels, salons and restaurants.
- Share the virtual tour webpage on social media.
- Power-up your Google My Business listing with 360° photographs.
- Boost your online presence with a second business domain.