Following the pandemic that we went through, all areas were impacted. Meetings and gatherings are became rarer and rarer due to the measures imposed by the Swiss Confederation and the fears of everyone. Schools and universities had to give their courses online. Schools had to find new ways to motivate potential students and to inform them about their offer. That’s where virtual tours came in. Whilst most regulations in Switzerland have been lifted and we are heading back to business as usual, virtual tours are still as relevant as ever.

Normally, schools and universities hold open houses to meet prospective students and present the courses they offer and the facilities in which they will be housed. Where it’s pandemic-related or just not being able to travel far distances, not every student has the opportunity to visit in-person. That means virtual tours offer a larger opportunity for more students to see your campus. Coming away from the constraints of the pandemic, it’s predicted that a hybrid of virtual and in-person events will be used in 2023.

Statistics from Kaltura ; 500 event organizers, C.Os, marketing managers at companies with 500 to 10,000 employees.

From 2020, an entirely new market opened up; virtual tours. The question is, is it here to stay? By 2030, the virtual event industry is expected to grow from $78 billion to $774 billion. (Source) As we head into 2023, it’s clear that virtual tours, visits and events are here to stay. 

In Kaltura’s report, they shared that “80% of people join virtual events for educational purposes.” This leads us on to virtual tours of school and University campuses. (source)

Virtual Tours

1. What are they?
2. Why virtual visits?
3. The benefits for institutions
4. A virtual tour by SmartCuts

What is a virtual visit?

1. A virtual visit is in it’s name. Virtual tours are composed as a sequence of still images or videos that give you a simulation of an existing location. It means anyone can attend a visit from their laptop or smartphone anywhere in the world. 

2. Virtual visits are used across various industries. For example, the NHS, in the U.K., has used virtual visiting to connect patients and service users with their loved ones using devices like tablets and smartphones. 

3. Asides the health industry, the education industry has also benefited from virtual visiting. 

Why virtual visits?

But before looking at the benefits for schools and universities, let’s understand the three general benefits of virtual experiences.

“Virtual tours and exhibits are more cost-effective and easier to attend.” The costs are low. You don’t need to literally cater for people coming to visit your campus, and you will discover that it won’t feel like organising events each time you have tours. Instead, the tours are made and then can be recycled on your website. Among 18-34 year-olds, they are more likely to book somewhere if there is a virtual tour. (source

All in all, a virtual tour can improve an institution as it builds more trust with customers and increases engagement with the brand’s website

Educative virtual tours: the benefits

For the education industry, there are many specific benefits that virtual tours offer. Let’s dive in!

1. Global reach. It’s much easier to reach and involve more people from larger areas of the globe. Essentially, there’s no geographical limit required to access the platform or website (wherever you put your virtual tour). There is also the possibility of increasing the number of event participants, since a much larger number of people can connect in a virtual room. 

2. You can promote your virtual tours and events easily with a sharing link via your website and social media channels. From survey participants, 67% would like to see more virtual tour opportunities. (source) So promoting this type of content will attract more customers to engage with your website. 

3. Costs and time-saving → people from the schools/unis hosting the tours won’t have to anymore, meaning that they don’t have to take time out of their day doing the tour. It will just be available on the website. 

4. You can highlight campus life. Students will want to see everything from classrooms to student lounges, coffee shops, or anywhere else students congregate and socialize. Offering a virtual tour is a way for students to see these facilities and imagine themselves attending the school. In other words, it brings the campus alive!

Don’t forget that virtual tours won’t replace in-person viewings, it just means your reach is larger.

We created the virtual tour for IUG

Recently, we collaborated with the International University of Geneva on a video presentation of their university, as well as a virtual tour of their premises.

Creating a virtual tour consists of taking a 360° picture of a space and allows the public to virtually move around in the space and view it in all its dimensions. Future students can virtually enter the space and walk around as they wish. They can also click on images hanging on the walls to view them in full screen. This easily replaces a real visit and allows prospective students to tour at their convenience. The limit to this is that virtual visits do not answer potential questions from students and does not present the specificities and assets of the university.

For this purpose, IUG asked us to make a video presentation of the campus, in which two students play the role of a student. One plays the role of the student and one plays the role of the future student. By working on the script beforehand with the client, we took care to address all the topics that may interest future students.

Take the 360-degree video and virtual tour where you can click through and look at interactive photos as well as access our social media.

Conclusion

Hopefully you have gathered a better understanding of how virtual tours are beneficial for schools and universities. Whilst virtual tours may have been crucial in the past few years, offering a hybrid of in-person and virtual tours seems to be the way forward as we head into 2023. The possibilities of larger reach and engagement will increase. Asides virtual tours, SmartCuts Creative offers several high-quality services as a creative communications team.

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