The first thing you always need to look for in a virtual tour company is
whether they use photographers who have earned a “trusted” badge from Google.
Google maintains a list of the photographers it trusts to capture a complete, high-quality panoramic image of your business. They also assign ratings to each photographer based on the number of approved 360-degree tours they've uploaded to Google Street View.
They must also follow strict brand guidelines from Google itself and meet other specific qualifications.
They Have a Portfolio of Impressive Results
Since each virtual tour company is working in the online space, they should have a complete portfolio of their work available on their website. Look through the examples of their work to see if you like their style.
A successful virtual tour is immersive, responsive, and complete. Check their portfolio for any examples of dead space or distortion. If you see these, steer clear. They can ruin the experience for your customers.
Look for a company that has achieved success with a variety of business types and buildings, too.
It's easy to get a great result when you're photographing a five-star hotel and resort. It's much harder to take a smaller, more down-to-earth site and make it look inviting.
They're Willing to Work with Your Schedule
The process of taking a quality 360-degree tour can, as you might expect, take some time. Many business owners find they can't afford to shut down during their peak hours to allow the photographer to set up and shoot.
Look for a company with a flexible schedule that is willing to work around yours. Be sure to ask them before the day of the shoot if they need any special considerations before they arrive.
Always ask for a firm time estimate—including the time it takes to set up and break down equipment—so you know what to expect from the process.
Once you have a firm date set in the calendar, it's up to you make sure your business is clean, organized, and presentable before the photographer arrives.
They Give You the Rights to Your 360 Virtual Tour When It's Done
Once your virtual tour is finished, it can become a valuable marketing asset for your business. That is, of course, if you can share the 360 photos, transfer photo rights to someone else, or embed your 360 photos on your blog or website.
Then, develop a savvy social media plan to share your video across all of your channels. Let your followers and blog readers from around the world step inside your business, too.