The plain truth about virtual site visits for commercial
Monday, May 03, 2021
There's a lot of talk and excitement among economic developers about using virtual tours to profile commercial real estate to potential investors and site selectors who may not be able to visit in person because of the pandemic. We get that - it IS genuinely exciting. There are so many compelling new ways to let people see a property - inside and out - from the comfort and safety of their offices. Even after the pandemic recedes, this will remain an excellent way to engage and inform businesses making location decisions.
Unfortunately, there's also a lot of miscommunication and misinformation about what virtual tours actually are and how to best make use of them in the real world. With 23 years of experience practising economic development marketing online, we figured we are pretty well placed to cut through the noise and offer some plain talk about using virtual tours for economic development.
The vast majority of your properties won't ever benefit from expensive to produce virtual site visits. Beautiful drone video, 3D architectural renderings, Matterport interactive walk-throughs (click on Custom Tour in this example to see what that looks like), immersive video of interiors, animated renderings and other kinds of virtual tours are fantastic additions to any property listing but none of those are free. Brokers and economic development organizations don't have these multimedia assets for most properties. Commercial property databases and online GIS data tools for site selection should absolutely be able to easily accommodate them when they exist (as ZoomProspector does with our Custom Tour button - click on the image below for an example).