Showcase Your Bed & Breakfast with Google's Virtual Tour

Wouldn't it be nice if potential customers could look beyond your listing photos, and take an actual virtual tour of your bed and breakfast?

Now they can. Google has a new feature for Maps, Places, and Google+ called Business Photos, or the Virtual Tour, in which a trained, professional photographer will come into your business and record a high-definition tour.

The result is a navigable, panoramic walk-through of the inside of your B&B. It’s like your customers are there, moving from room to room, looking around and exploring with the click of a mouse.

How does it work?

The recording process usually lasts about an hour, and should not be disruptive of your day-to-day operations--there are no studio lights or other awkward equipment involved. It is requested that you notify your customers that recording is taking place. Google also suggests that people not be included in the photographs, so that the viewer's focus is entirely on your business.

After the session, the photographer will send the photos to Google. The high quality, 360-degree panoramic photos will then be stitched together and uploaded to your listing, allowing customers to go from room to room by clicking on navigation arrows. These photos are owned by you, the business owner, and can be posted elsewhere.

How much does it cost?

There is no set cost for this service. How much you pay depends on the photographer, location, and size of the business. One Google Certified Photographer we found charges between $300 and $1000.

Once you have submitted your business to Google and gotten in contact with the nearest photographer, you will be quoted a price that is deemed to be at fair market value, and from there you can negotiate further until you arrive at a price that works for both parties. You are not obligated to follow through with the photography services if you feel that the price is too high.

Many businesses using the Google Virtual Tour have reported a jump in visits to their page, a rise in their click-through rate from search results to their website, and longer average site visits.

For more information, visit Google's official Business Photos page.

Written by Patrick Quinn on June 19th, 2013

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