So you’re a boarding or day school and you’re thinking about adding a virtual tour to your marketing toolbox.   Good idea!

A virtual tour is great because . . .

  • The web is first point of access for most businesses and may be for your potential students and their families, or future employees, trustees or partners
  • You need to get your school on a prospective student’s “A list” so they are inspired to come and see the campus in person
  • Your school has likely spent a lot of money, time and effort on the campus and its facilities – you can convey this online with a campus tour
  • You can reach international students who may not be able to visit before making a decision
  • You can use the tour in recruiting events for students or staff, as well as in fundraising efforts

What are the different forms a tour can take and what are the pros and cons of each?

Type Pros Cons
Video tour
  • Easy to post/share on social media like YouTube
  • User experience is completely controlled
  • Expensive to create and makes changes to
  • Linear, not interactive
  • Likely that you will lose user before the end
  • Usually can’t be created in-house
Web page with pictures and text/photo gallery
  • Inexpensive to create; can likely be done in-house
  • User can jump around
  • Static, boring
  • It is hard to get the bird’s eye view of campus
Campus map with links to still images/captions
  • User gets a better idea of overall campus
  • User can jump around
  • Feels a little more interactive than a photo gallery
  • Usually not a self contained piece so user has to keep closing windows
  • Not immersive
360-degree virtual tour
  • User gets to control the experience with multiple ways to navigate
  • You can incorporate elements from other media (voice overs, maps, slideshows, etc)
  • Self contained marketing piece
  • It is immersive with the ability to look all around the space – even capturing an active moment in time
  • Much less expensive than a professionally created video tour
  • Usually can’t be created in-house
  • More expensive that a static tour

Questions to ask yourself when planning for your virtual campus tour:

  • What is your budget?
  • How will you use it?
    • Only online or will you use it at school fairs, presentations, admissions people on the road?
  • Do you want it embedded in your website or as a separate module?
  • Do you want to have students/people in the shot or no people in the shot?
  • Do you want people to be able to see it on smart phones and tablets?
  • Do you want it to be linear and controlled like a video or self directed and explorable where people can pick and choose where they want to go?
  • How much of your campus do you want to show?
  • Who is your audience for the tour?
    • Students interesting in your Athletics or other specific programs? Internationals? Donors?
  • Do you need your tour localized into multiple languages?
  • Do you want your tour to be focused in on key areas of recruitment – so would need multiple tours or a tour with different segments?
  • Does the city that you are in play any kind of a role?
    • Do you want to show scenes from the city or highlight things to do off campus?

 If you decide to go with a Circlescapes 360 virtual tour – we also ask:

  • How many locations on campus you want to feature?
  • What additional options do you want?
    • informational hotspots
      • text (different from text descriptions that come standard with Deluxe/Premium)
      • image
      • combo text and image
      • external link
    • directional hotspots
    • audio hotspot
      • sound effect
      • music
      • voice blurb
    • video hotspot (best when out on YouTube, Vimeo)
    • voice over narration
    • slideshows
    • sharing – social media hotspot or feature
  • What navigational constructs do you want?
    • campus map
    • thumbnail images
    • list/legend
    • forward and backward buttons

We can answer any questions you have about virtual tours!  Give us a call or  send us an email today!