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Grow Your Business Technology

Google Maps Business View Lets Businesses Create Virtual Tours

Google Maps Business View Lets Businesses Create Virtual Tours
Credit: Google

Want to stand out from competitors? Showcase your business with a virtual tour. Google Maps Business View offers an easy, affordable way to let customers interactively explore your business inside and out straight from Google Maps.

While Street View simply lets users view your business's street location, Business View goes the extra mile by providing 360-degree, panoramic photos from inside your business. It aims to not only increase customer engagement, but also give customers an idea of your business's look and feel before they visit. Here's how to get started and get the most out of the service.

How Google Maps Business View works

To start giving customers a virtual tour of your business, all you have to do is find a Google Trusted Photographer or Trusted Agency and set up the photo shoot. Then, you can just sit back and relax. The photographer or agency works directly with Google to set up your virtual tour, which will go live within a few weeks. [Google for Business: A Small Business Guide]

In addition to Google Maps, photos of your business will also appear to more than 1 billion people globally across other Google properties, such as Search and Google+. If your business is a hotel, it will also appear on Google Hotel Finder.

Ways to use Google Maps Business View

Having your business on Google Maps Business View does more than just give customers a virtual tour — it's also about giving them an experience. To give small businesses an idea of the many ways to make the service work for them, Google shared with Business News Daily the following tips on how to get the most out of  Business View.

1. Reach potential customers

Business View can help potential customers plan trips, peruse stores and find the perfect restaurant by offering a high-quality inside look before they visit. For instance, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitor authority's GeoVegas website uses Business View so trip planners can experience hotels, restaurants and other Las Vegas spots before making reservations. That way, they can better tailor their dream Vegas vacations.

2. Make a classic business new again

Is your small business a local gem? Adding a visual element to your search results can liven up any business's online profile, even if it has been around for decades. Who knows — maybe it'll inspire you to "have what's she's having" at Katz's Delicatessen, like Meg Ryan from "When Harry Met Sally"!

3. Get creative

Depending on the nature of your business, think about incorporating fun and hidden elements into your virtual tour. The Gershwin Theatre, which hosts "Wicked: The Musical," added some creative surprise sightings with real cast members in their virtual tour.

4. Repurpose photographs

Business View gives you the rights to your business's photos. Companies like 4 Wheel Parts have brightened up their own company websites by incorporating photos from their Business View virtual tour.

5. Show off your brand's personality and story

A business's personality can shine through in photographs. Shops, restaurants and service-focused businesses with a quirky side can easily make their virtual tour unique by showing off that flair, like Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City. Chrysler, on the other hand, gives consumers an inside look at the auto-making process inside the local Michigan plant with the Chrysler 200 Factory Tour.

Google Maps Business View cost

Pricing varies. Expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $500, depending on your chosen Google trusted photographer or agency.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Sara Angeles

Sara is a Los Angeles-based tech writer for Business.com, Business News Daily and Tom's IT Pro. A graduate of the University of California, Irvine, she has worked as a freelance writer and copywriter for tech publications, lifestyle brands and nonprofit organizations in the Southern California area and throughout the U.S. Sara joined the Purch team in 2013.