Without on-site events and in-person tours to attract new leads, senior living communities’ websites have taken on a greater role as a sales and communication tool, with a key element now being the virtual tour. But online tours are not merely a stopgap measure you will take down in six months; they are an important part of your community’s new marketing toolbox.
As more senior living communities realize this, and competition for new residents stiffens over time, communities will need to invest in new methods, equipment and expertise to make their own virtual tour better than the next community’s. Here are some best practices to do your virtual tour right:
The simplest method to create your virtual tour is a slideshow. You can convert an existing PowerPoint, Keynote or Google Slides presentation into a website slideshow by exporting the individual slides as images and inserting them into a slider plugin or page builder widget. Using this method, Pivot leveraged the PowerPoint we had already done for Jackson Creek Senior Living so the community could use it as part of their virtual tour.
A quick tip: while purely image-based sliders don’t always adapt well to multiple screen sizes, slider plugins offer better mobile display, greater advantages for SEO and more accessibility for visually impaired users; Elementor is one page-builder plugin that is user-friendly and loads quickly.
When exploring whether your senior living community is the right one, your customers don’t just like to look at static photos. A video can offer an interactive component you just can’t get otherwise, like this one Pivot did for The Lodge at Grand Junction.
If you can, hire an agency to ensure you have superior sound quality and good lighting; a poorly shot video on your cell phone is worse than no video at all. And, whether you hire a pro or do it yourself, notify your residents and staff of your taping schedule ahead of time so they don’t interrupt the shoot, and avoid filming on days where there will be lots of ambient noise, such as construction or wind.
A 360-degree tour allows users to explore their surroundings exhaustively, interact with different rooms and see every angle of an available space. For this type of online virtual tour, communities can have a photographer go in and take a panoramic photo, which he or she can then convert into a 360-degree tour using special software.
Pivot created these 360-degree tours for The Avenues Crofton Park that allow users to explore the community’s apartments, cottages and common spaces as if they were visiting in person. Using an app like Kuula, these tours can be even easier to create than a video.
Personalized Zoom tours
For this type, communities can have a member of their sales team use the Zoom app on their smartphone to take a customer on a virtual tour of the building. This allows your prospect to talk to the salesperson and request a closer look at specific areas. Staff can even introduce customers to the nursing staff who would be taking care of their loved one.
Virtual engagement looks like it will be the norm for the foreseeable future, so it’s a good idea to have your staff practice giving this type of interactive tour. Remember to use your scripted tour as a starting point, not an end goal; that way, you can personalize your tour so it’s flexible and responsive to your lead’s preferences.