Not all 3D Virtual Tours are equal.

If you’re new to the world of 3D virtual tours / walkthroughs, it can be difficult to compare the offers being made by the various providers.  Are they all the same service?  Does cheaper mean less quality?  How do I decide?

To help, here’s the Top 5 questions we recommend you ask a 3D Virtual Tour provider before doing business with them.

1. What 3D platform do you use?

A technical question, but one that you need to ask given that the term “Virtual Tour” is being used very loosely these days!

Think about your marketing requirements.  What listing web sites do you want your 3D virtual tour on, and what platforms do they work with?  What about your own web site?  Then consider your quality expectations.  Look at examples from the various platforms as each will provide a different look, feel and experience.

In our opinion (and yes – we spent a lot of time thinking about this), the Matterport platform and Pro2 camera wins hands down.  You can’t beat its quality, user experience and integration options.  And it works on leading New Zealand sites such as Trade Me and, plus can be easily integrated into your own web site.

2. Can I see examples of YOUR work?

In a recent study we found that almost 80% of 3D Virtual Tour provider’s web sites and advertising do NOT use an example of their own work.  It begs the question…why?

Though the platform enables the quality of the 3D Virtual Tour, it’s the provider’s use of that platform that realises the quality.  If a provider isn’t showing you their own work, then what you see may not be what you get.

A follow up question is to then ask for recent examples done by the specific 3D Technician(s) who will be working with you, and how many 3D Virtual Tours they have produced.  You might be surprised by some answers!

3. Do you have a formal training programme?

If you give me a calculator, I don’t become an Accountant.  3D technology is the same – knowing how to best use the technology takes study and practice.

Quiz the provider.  How do they onboard new 3D Technicians?  Do they have internal quality control procedures?  Troubleshooting processes for those difficult jobs?  Scanning methodologies?  The answers will reveal a lot about how seriously they take their 3D work.

4. What are your fallback options?

This isn’t a stab at solo 3D operators – they do a great job serving some of the market.  But, once you get underway and begin to rely on a provider, how will they ensure that they don’t let you down?

This could be via additional staff or contracted resources that can be brought in when the provider is busy, or back-to-back arrangements with other providers to manage overflow.

3D equipment is specialised and does break.  A broken Matterport camera can only be repaired in the USA and will be out of action for 4-6 weeks.  Can you afford to have no 3D Virtual Tours being produced for that long?

5. What coverage, features and add-ons?

OK, that’s three (related) questions….but together the answers will indicate how much bang for your buck you are going to get.

Coverage comes from how thoroughly a property is scanned.  An experienced provider will tell you that there is a relationship between the time they spent onsite getting good coverage, and the price of the service.  Beware the low-cost provider who doesn’t tell you their coverage policy.

Features such as (for Matterport) highlight reels, guided tours, tagging of features, room labels and exterior 3D views all take a little bit more time to implement, but enrich the experience so visitors spend more time fully exploring the property. And isn’t that the whole point?

Add-ons vary widely between providers.  Be on the look out for overly-expensive floor plans.  And if the service includes exported 2D marketing photos, get examples to ensure you are happy with their quality and perspectives. 

The whole point of a 3D Virtual Tour is to increase engagement with visitors, give them a realistic representation of the property so they can qualify their interest before taking up your valuable time.

An absence of coverage, features and well-priced add-ons will save you money, but are you OK with the benefits you will loose as a result? 

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