While photos in an image gallery of your property on the Airbnb site can do a great job at giving your potential guests an idea of what to expect at your short-term rental, an Airbnb virtual tour can offer so much more.
When done right, it provides an immersive experience for your potential guests, allowing them to get a realistic picture of what to expect when staying at your property.
In this article, we explore the benefits of virtual tours, how to create a stunning one for yourself, and the best ways to get the most out of your videos. But first, let’s take a closer look at what a virtual tour is and is not.
An Airbnb virtual tour is an immersive, digital simulation of an Airbnb rental property. It is designed to make the viewer feel as if they are actually in the property through their desktop or mobile browser by using high-quality, panoramic / 360-degree photos and videos. This creates an optimal user experience and entices more travelers.
The purpose of a virtual tour is to create the feeling that the viewer is already at the Airbnb, allowing them to visualize what it could be like. While most travelers might click away after the second or third photo on your listing, a tour is more engaging and will keep travelers on your listing space longer.
While it is not a rule for each listing to have one, an Airbnb virtual tour can provide valuable benefits for your rental. It will make your Airbnb listings stand out from the competition and give your guests a better idea of what to expect when booking your Airbnb.
Virtual tours are known to be preferred to just having photos on your listing. It shows that you’ve gone the extra mile and have the ability to feature your listing in an attractive way.
If you’ve decided that it’s time to upgrade your listing and include a virtual tour, you have a couple of different options for how you can go about it.
The easiest way to get a good quality virtual tour is to hire a third-party service, like Digital Era 360, to do it. This method is highly recommended because you will have the added benefit of having a professional photographer with specialized skills creating your virtual tour for you. This means that you are more likely to have a higher quality end result.
The other option is to create the virtual tour yourself, however, you will need good-quality filming and editing equipment as well as production skills to get a high-quality tour.
If hiring a professional or purchasing your own equipment is too pricey, it may be a better idea to film a simple video on your phone in the meantime and save up for a virtual tour later down the line.
The great thing about virtual tours is that you can make them your own and include whatever you would like to. Although, there are a few basics you should get right to make watching it a good experience for travelers. Here are some of the main things to include:
If you are planning on uploading your virtual tour to more than one channel (which is recommended!) you want to make sure that the virtual tour can stand on its own. It should contain all relevant information needed to convince viewers to make a booking inquiry.
Therefore, you need to include a property description with the basic information that potential guests may need to know. This will be your property’s location (city, country), size (how many bedrooms), and type (house, apartment, cabin, etc.).
The main purpose of a virtual tour is to show your property as if the viewer was there themself. So, a look into each room is pretty much mandatory in a virtual tour. You could also add some extra descriptive details about each room in the caption window of your virtual tour for more context.
A tour can get caught up in the interior rooms of a home, but it’s a good idea to include some of the house’s exterior too, especially if you have a beautiful garden, swimming pool, or another special feature to show off.
If you have any unique features in your Airbnb property, like a hot tub, piece of art, or historical architecture, a virtual tour is a perfect opportunity to highlight them.
It is also important to include a bit of the surrounding environment in your virtual tour so that travelers can get an idea of the atmosphere and culture within your town. You could even focus on unique attractions in your area to pique the viewers’ interest.
Along with your basic property description, your contact details should also be featured on your virtual tour if you plan to post the video on multiple channels. This way, even if a traveler only sees the virtual tour and nothing else, they’ll still be able to connect with you and possibly make a booking.
Basic details to include will be a contact number, email address, and website. However, the latest digital trend is to include a QR code instead, which can lead viewers straight to your website or listing. A QR code is the better option in terms of the user experience because it means that they will be re-directed directly to where they need to be instead of having to manually type your contact information.
Once your virtual tour is ready for the world to see, it’s time to decide how you will distribute it. You may want to consider uploading it to more than one channel. This ultimately means there will be potential to reach more viewers. Here are some great options for where you could include your Airbnb virtual tour:
The most logical channel to start with is uploading it to your listing on the Airbnb website. This is where travelers will search for vacation rentals and where other hosts will be uploading their own virtual tours as well.
A seasoned host will already know the multiple benefits of having your own direct booking website. And having an extra space to include your virtual tour is yet another perk.
If you haven’t yet built your own website to grow your vacation rental brand and save on Airbnb service fees, now is the perfect time to do so. With the iGMS Website Builder, you could have your website guest-ready in minutes by converting your Airbnb listing.
iGMS also enables vacation rental hosts to:
As the world’s largest video-sharing site on the internet, YouTube is also a prime option for sharing your virtual tour. The great thing about YouTube is you can include a URL link to visit your listing or website. This way viewers who find your tours on the platform and want to know more can find your listing easily.
Like Airbnb, if you have listings on other OTAs, it makes sense to include your virtual tours there too. As it elevates an Airbnb listing, it will do the same for your listings on these other platforms as well.
Social media lends itself well to visual content. This is why it is another great space for uploading your virtual tours. Consider placing it on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok as these are popular social media platforms for sharing this type of content.
Because Airbnb currently does not have the option to embed virtual tours into your listing, you’ll have to direct your visitors elsewhere by means of a link to the tour or a QR code that they can scan.
The convenient thing about hiring a third-party company to create your virtual tour is that they’ll often provide this link or QR code for you, and host the tour on their own servers so that you don’t have to worry about it. Then, the link simply takes them to where the virtual tour exists on their site.
If you have created the tour yourself, you’ll have to find a place for the tour to exist on your own. This could be programmed into your direct booking website, or perhaps uploaded to YouTube.
If you’d like some inspiration from people who have gone above and beyond with their Airbnb virtual tours and actually created entire online experiences out of them, take a look at these:
About the Author
Callan Riddles is the Content and Social Media Specialist at iGMS. Callan has a passion for finding new ways to help vacation rental businesses thrive. In her free time, she loves to travel, read, and experience all the new things that life has to offer.
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