Which kind of Virtual Tour is best for schools?

Whether you’re a sixth form college looking to enrol 3,000 students per year, or a prep school with a total capacity of 60 students, demonstrating to prospective students and parents alike that you are the best option for their continuing education is paramount. How can a Virtual Tour help you to achieve this? We’re so glad you asked!

Virtual Tours allow people to explore your school in their own time, without having to arrange time with a teacher or current student to show them around. A high-quality Virtual Tour can reduce congestion at open days, by allowing prospective students and their families to explore and rule out schools that don’t suit their needs before they even set foot in them.

We know your staff and current students are an integral part of open days, but if a parent is dead set on sending their child to a school with a swimming pool and your school does not have one, it makes sense for your staff to dedicate their time to speaking with students who are looking for the facilities you do have, instead.

Virtual Tours also allow you to show off your school’s personality, from murals on the playground to colourful learning boards in the classrooms. They allow students to build a relationship with the space before they begin, and can even help younger students to gain their bearings for a large campus in advance.

So, your school needs a virtual tour – but which style should you choose?

360 Virtual Tours

There are two core types of Virtual Tour, and here at Virtualoom, we recommend a 360 Virtual Tour for schools and colleges.

360 Virtual Tours allow you to show off the school grounds and all campus buildings in one go, with high-quality aerial images included as standard. In this view, you can also add important things like transport links, which can be especially comforting for parents who may be allowing their child to travel alone for the first time. If you have particularly exciting facilities or local cultural spots nearby, you can also show these off with a 360 Virtual Tour.

For secondary schools and sixth form colleges in particular, 360 Virtual Tours are very helpful as users can search the tour by subject or area. If, for example, a prospective student is very keen to pursue Design Technology or Chemistry at a higher level, they will be able to skip directly to the workshops or labs that they care most about, and explore them with ease. This feature also means that, with a larger campus, it is easier to navigate and requires users to spend less time on the website weaving through corridors or getting confused with different staircases.

This selectiveness can also come in handy if your school is in the process of completing construction works when the virtual tour is taken. As the scans do not need to be uninterrupted, schools are able to opt to omit areas of the school that they do not want included in the tour. This means there is less pressure to time the tour to fit in with the completion of construction or renovation works.

If you intend to use your Virtual Tour in your marketing materials, it is also worth noting that 360 Virtual Tours are incredibly versatile, and you can package them with your own branding. You’re also able to add extras, including more detailed photos, written information, links to brochures and student videos throughout the tour. The experience becomes truly immersive, and can be used in place of physical open days for students from further afield, or those who are unable to make the open day dates.

3D Virtual Tours

Rather than providing the aerial format, 3D virtual tours are used to create dollshouse views of a building or collection of buildings. You can see an example of this view here. These are particularly popular in real estate, as they give a good sense of how smaller spaces fit together.

For schools, however, they can be a little difficult for the user to navigate. Because of the size of the file, it will take more than twice as long to load on your website as a 360 Virtual Tour, and prospective students and their families will be able to complete a full “walkthrough” experience. However, it is not possible to do things such as search by subject or area, or omit repetitive corridors. While information and links can still be embedded throughout, 3D Virtual Tours are less customisable in terms of branding and packaging.

Both types of tours are easily embeddable on websites and in other marketing material, but on large campuses the 3D option can feel unwieldy for the user.

At Virtualoom, we’re passionate about ensuring our clients receive the perfect Virtual Tours for their purposes. While 360 Virtual Tours are often the better option for schools in general, we understand that each school and sixth form will have different needs based on everything from the size of your campus to the students you intend to attract.

We’d love to help you work out which option exactly is the best fit for you. Please drop us a line via our contact form, and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs further, including by offering a no obligation free quote for your school.

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