Choosing the right hotel or cafe online is tough, particularly in Australia where we’re spoilt for choice. But what if there was some way to scout the location before ever stepping foot inside?

Over the last few months, Google has been rolling out an adjunct to their Maps platform that integrates with your Google My Business listing to help you do just that. Say hello to Google Street View Virtual Tours.

Google Street View logo

What is a street view virtual tour?

A Street View Virtual Tour is a virtual experiential tour that allows users to see inside your establishment before they arrive. Modelled off Google’s Street View, the Virtual Tour uses the same functionality and interface (this guy):

Google Street View marker

Who does it well?

Establishments like cafes, restaurants and hotels stand to gain the most from this functionality. However, we believe anyone with a brick-and-mortar store can do it well. In Sydney alone there are examples of suit stores, warehouses and even florists that have implemented the new format.
Here’s the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney.

Who can have one?

If you’re a business owner and you have a physical store location that’s registered on Google My Business, you can create a virtual tour for prospective customers that are seeking you out on Google Maps, or prospective clients that are in the area. By using a street view virtual tour, you enhance your My Business listing, bringing an interactive element to your company’s most visible asset in search results.

Are they good for SEO?

MOZ, one of the internet’s foremost blogs on all things digital marketing, recently released an article analysing local and hyperlocal SEO ranking factors. It concluded that proximity to searcher is the new number one local search ranking factor. This conclusion, coupled with Google’s statistics from their latest search listing research, points to an obvious reason to implement a Virtual Tour.

According to the research, Google Map products are used 44% of the time for business searches, with 41% of these searches resulting in visits to the website. Of all listings, the research found those with photos and virtual tours were twice as likely to generate interest in the store.

How can my company get one?

If you’ve read this and thought at any time about getting this implemented for your own company, then you’re on the right track – you definitely should! All the details about how to hire a professional, Google-trusted street view photographer are listed in this article from Google.

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