We've all seen the mistake. There we are, casually browsing some real estate site and there it is: CLICK HERE FOR A VIRTUAL TOUR.
Only it isn't a virtual tour at all.... but merely a slideshow, sometimes music sometimes silent but still nonetheless a slideshow. What irks so many in the Internet community is how many times they witness such a blunder. In summation, the following are a few distinctions between a virtual tour and a slideshow. As one pundit put it so aptly, "Every agent in the world now thinks a ‘virtual tour' is a picture slideshow with pans in and out. It annoys the hell out of me." Real estate agents all over the world, not just in the Myrtle Beach real estate are, often advertise their slideshows as virtual tours.
The following list isn't going to be arduous and pithy but rather concise, forthright and correct.
Slideshows: A slideshow is merely an arrangement of pictures presented in a variety of ways. The presentation aspect can vary using in and out pans, fades to black or dissolves. No matter how you dice it, a slideshow will always be a slideshow, no interaction between user and slideshow, only slideshow. The following example is an excellent form of a slideshow complete with music and a navigation tool for fast forwarding. Note however that even though you can click on each picture, there is no way of looking at different angles of that same area.
(Just a little tip, a free program called Picasa makes quick and easy slideshows you upload STRAIGHT to YouTube.)
Virtual Tours: A virtual tour is a user guided tour featuring a web cam with an interactive feature allowing users to do a 360° view of all rooms shown. Utilizing virtual tours is a great way for online visitors to thoroughly scan each individual room and virtually ‘walk' wherever they want in the home/condo/apartment. Below is a link for a virtual tour. Notice how everywhere you click and drag, you are able to pan around and even ‘walk' down corridors and hallways.
Granted, slideshows are cheaper and faster to create. Usually only the high dollar homes get the virtual tour treatment. Even so, the labeling is still a miss. It doesn't matter if it is a home for sale, or condo for sale, or even Myrtle Beach rentals, slideshows... aka, *cough* virtual tours, do add that that extra slice of fun for the user. However, do you think they are effective?
So what do we think about virtual tours? Do they make a difference? Feel free to leave your comments weighing in on this discussion. Does a virtual tour add to your overall viewing and ultimately impact your decision? Or is a slideshow sufficient enough? Let the great debate begin!