While your mobile app is a great tool for promoting ticket sales, it can do so much more. The ultimate goal of your app is to get people excited about coming to your events and make sure they have a wonderful experience. This will keep them coming back again and again.
One way that the Jefferson Performing Arts Society has found to get people excited is to give them easy access to virtual tours in their app. This way people can check out the building, the lobby, and the inside of the performance hall from the comfort of home. On a practical level, it is also useful for first time visitors to get a sense of the building’s layout. Then, when they arrive for the show, they can easily find their way around for a stress free and enjoyable evening.
JPAS started with a custom card on their home screen to help guide people to their tours.
Google Maps Virtual Tour
The first tour is also the most interactive. Basically, this is the indoor version of Google’s Street View called Business View. With this you can see the inside of a business or attraction captured in 360º photo spheres.
The tour starts just outside with a stunning view of the building’s exterior.
The on-screen arrows can then be used to approach the entrance and enter the lobby.
After exploring the lobby, the best view is of the theater itself.
The most engaging feature of this virtual tour however is the ability to move your phone around the view the room at any angle from your current position.
So how do you set this up in your own app? Well, first you need to make sure that your venue has a Business View presence on Google Maps. If not, you have two options.
Larger venues, or venues which are part of university campuses, parks, or monuments may be able to request a photo shoot.
If Google isn’t able to provide a free photo shoot, you also have the option of hiring a Trusted Pro in your area to record imagery of your venue for you and set it up on Google Maps.
Once the content is in place, travel to your venue on Google Maps and drag the Street View man from the lower-right corner of your screen towards your venue. As you do this, look for the yellow “See inside” circles to appear and drop him on one of them.
Now move to a good starting point, the first thing you want people to see when they start the tour. Use the controls in the upper-left corner to “Share or embed image” and then select the ShortURL option to make the URL easier to work with.
You can take this URL and add it as a Home Card, a Custom URL tab, or as part of a Custom HTML tab.
Video Drone Virtual Tour
The second tour, though not interactive like Google Maps, offers views of your venue that have never been seen by those attending an event.
JPAS contracted a drone operator to record aerial footage of their venue, both inside and out. This provides unique views of the exterior, lobby, and theater that can’t be matched by a ground based camera and will get people excited to visit your venue.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a convenient list of trusted video drone professionals as there is with Google’s Business View photographers. So, you will need to do some research of local video drone services to see which company is the best fit for you.
How much will all this cost?
Every project, be it a 360 photo sphere tour or a drone powered video montage, will be different. The cost of these services will vary depending on the size of your venue, the time it takes to edit the content, and other factors. This is a cost that you will need to negotiate with the professional doing the work, however you should be prepared to invest about $1300-$1500 per project.
Check it out!