The Evolution Of The Real Estate Tour – It Used To Mean 360 Virtual Tour

May 5th, 2015

REmarketingMike in Kentucky recently ask me:

Its taken time, but I’m staying pretty busy, I offer both stills and tours, don’t always shoot tours on small properties, in fact it seems that the tours part of my work is getting less important. When I look at the statistics for Photography Marketing Trends for Real Estate it’s the professional photography that gets the highest on the list, well above video, not much, if any, mention of Virtual Tours. I’m wondering if it’s just my area and my clients or it is something that’s happening – or are they mixing in together virtual tours with photography.

After asking Mike some questions it was clear that he was talking about 360 tours. These days the term tour doesn’t necessarily refer to 360 images like it used to. I stopped doing 360 images in 2007. The tour above is my last tour with any 360 images. I see few if any 360s used here in the Northwest (Seattle and Portland). Even back in 2007 about a third of our listing customers didn’t like 360 tours. 360 images are also a huge amount of work for the benefit they provide. So the traditional 360 image for real estate is dying or in many places is dead.

Nowadays, MatterPort is the new 360 image replacement which does 3D images and floorpans. MatterPort requires a bigger investment in gear and time to create images but is popular in some areas for upper-end listings. I think the jury is still out on if it will be a success. I’ve had one photographer in Arizona tell me he lost a client because he couldn’t do a MatterPort 3d tour.

I think that Mike’s comments show that what’s popular in real estate marketing is a very localized and it changes over time. I’ve always thought that a big factor that drives what’s popular in any given area is what the best sales people are selling. If there’s a big tour company or great sales person in your area hawking something to agents you will likely need to provide a variation of that something to compete.

In the overall scheme of things still photos are the most popular real estate marketing product everywhere but there are areas where video, floorpans or MatterPort is a factor.

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6 Responses to “The Evolution Of The Real Estate Tour – It Used To Mean 360 Virtual Tour”

  • If you want to learn more about Matterport and chat with photographers that have made the switch from 360º spherical photography, Google: Matterport User Group Forum. Plus, the Forum has a list of 30+ Matterport resources.

    Also, Google Matterport Gear and Accessories to help understand “a bigger investment” (It’s likely you already own much of this …).

    BTW, founded a referral Network of hundreds of Matterport Pros around the globe. Obviously, we’re not waiting for the jury to decide our fate.

    In addition to luxury real estate, Google 101 uses for the Matterport 3D Showcase photography to see additional opportunities for this solution.



  • 360s fell out of vogue a while ago and yes, the matterport stuff is VERY cool.

    If you are looking for a way to incorporate floor plans into your listings check out . We have a fairly economical and simple way of incorporating floor plans and photos into a single property website that puts your still photos in the context of the floor plan. In addition, you get all the other basic things an agent needs to market a listing like stills, brochures, tour syndication as well as an entire marketing system to promote your listings. Check out the Room Planner tool we include for free as well which allows people to drag and drop home furnishings on to the floor plan.

  • Dan Smigrod, can you explain what you mean by “it’s likely that you already own much of the gear”? It seems to be the only tools necessary is the camera (which is $4,500).

  • I am not a big fan of Matterport. The photo and video aspects of a property are lost. Anyway, it is interesting that the Matterport website clearly states that no photography or video experience is necessary. We are all doomed!

  • @Micheal

    I wouldn’t get too worked up over whether or not Matterport will put us all out of business. Yes, it is cool and “NEW” but it lacks some important things like dimensions, total square footage, exterior shots, ease of use (for the viewer), doesn’t load fast and I don’t see a great printable floor plan.

  • I was only kidding!

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