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How To Create A Virtual Office Tour


Americans may be stuck at home, but lease agreements are still ticking away and companies are still searching for new office space. Since they can’t actually visit in person, decision-makers are increasingly relying on virtual tours to show them how their future offices will look and feel.

The last few weeks have seen a spike in requests for virtual tours, with brokers and property representatives inundated with requests for digital alternatives to in-person visits. Armed only with a smartphone and some simple digital tools, property owners and representatives can put together their own virtual tours to give prospective tenants a vital resource now that in-person visits are no longer feasible. 

The coronavirus has created a new paradigm for searching and leasing that is fully digital, and to make the most of the time decision-makers are spending indoors, property marketers need to consider leveraging more digital tools

According to LoopNet, which hosts in-depth property profiles where prospective tenants can explore office spaces, users spend 255% more time on listings with media like photos and virtual tours than without media. With tenant “visits” happening exclusively online, here are some tips for putting together a virtual tour and a strong online profile for your property.

1. You don’t need special equipment or software

While some property owners will invest in computer-generated 3D renderings, virtual tours don’t always have to be complex or expensive to produce. With some care, even a well-curated smartphone video can show off a property’s best features to prospective tenants, as LoopNet architectural photographer John Williams demonstrates here.

To create a professional-looking video, Williams suggests taking landscape-oriented shots that pan slowly from side to side, rather than physically moving through the office, which can create shaky footage. Being careful not to let the video capture your reflection in a window or mirror can also tighten up videos captured via cellphone.

If they do have the option to get more complex, owners can open up a whole world of computer-generated virtual tours. Owners can leverage Building Information Modeling software, or BIM, to generate digital renderings that visitors can explore at their own speed and customize with various finishes to suit their taste. But a video captured on a smartphone may actually give prospective tenants a stronger sense of what the office feels like, by capturing the space and even the view out of the windows.


2. Show off your property’s best angle

A careful choice of viewpoint can make a big difference in how your space is perceived through a virtual tour. While some property owners like to make a space feel bigger by lowering the camera down to about knee height, they often make the mistake of tilting the camera up as well, which can make the room feel squished and will probably show off too much of the ceiling.

Unless you have a reason to do otherwise, virtual tours should be shot from just below eye level, LoopNet architectural photographer Jonathan Reid said. Owners may want to make an exception for furnished rooms: couches, chairs and tables are best captured as if the viewer is sitting down, about a foot lower than eye level. 

Editing software like Adobe Lightroom can also make a big difference in media quality. For outdoor shots and unfinished spaces, achieving the right lighting can be a challenge, and photo editing software can rebalance light levels to make properties shine. Simple things like cropping and rotating photos to make properties appear bigger and more level can make the difference between a good and a great image.

3. Leverage existing media and market it online

When it comes to digital media, owners may have more than they think. In addition to photos, videos and virtual tours, owners can mix in brochures, fact sheets, floor plans and renderings to give tenants a fuller picture of the offices they could soon be occupying.

Even with entire companies working from home, property searches are still ongoing. Just last week, over 1 million tenants viewed 20 million listings on LoopNet, and they saved over 500,000 different searches.

With a more built-out online presence, marketers may be able to captivate prospective tenants for a longer period of time. Making sure that this digital media ends up with the largest possible number of views could be the difference between losing out on months of precious marketing time due to the coronavirus, or coming out stronger on the other side.

This feature was produced by the Bisnow Branded Content Studio in collaboration with LoopNet. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.