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In the midst of an exclusively virtual admissions process, many k-12 schools are anxious to publish a virtual tour on their website. So the question becomes: how much will that cost? Many of our clients are being approached by 360 tour companies, and they aren’t quite sure how to navigate the proposal. They’d like our advice, and we’re happy to give it.

While we always aim to write unbiased articles, I’ll point out that we don’t sell virtual tours. And here is our completely unbiased answer: a 360 tour should cost absolutely no more than $2,000. 

How should I choose a virtual tour agency?

Education agencies and large marketing firms may come to you with expensive proposals for tours. However, real estate agents have needed this technology for a very long time. There are 360 tour companies that do this all day every day, like HD Bros. They are efficient, exceptionally great at capturing empty spaces (like your school when no students are around), and they often bundle interior photography with 360 video footage for a great virtual experience.

This offering, for a home, can often start as low as $225. Likely, the size of your campus will not inflate this cost any higher than a couple grand. And even more likely, it will be much less. The only exception to this rule might be if you have a west-coast style campus, with endless massive buildings spread across a site akin to that of a university (and you want footage of all of it). Even then, you can likely choose your top 15 or 20 most important areas to keep the price reasonable.

But, here is where we'd like to offer some extra advice. The 360 virtual tour is only one element of an effective virtual experience, and it shouldn’t be too highly valued.

We’re urging all of our clients that the true sale happens when a prospective family experiences your culture. Your empty building will not sell a parent or student the same way your previous in-person tour did. You’ve got to invest in other elements.

Learn about  immersive virtual tours that bridge the in-person gap in our free,  on-demand workshop.

What should my virtual tour include?

Your virtual tour experience is the right place to build, expand, and get creative. Truly, all you need from the stand-still virtual tour is decent 360 capture. But more importantly, you’ll need to invest in other things that communicate your school culture. It should include things like:

  • 360 video or photography footage (In an age of 360 cameras, never buy a standard photography slideshow!)
  • video testimonials
  • edited footage that communicates your key selling points
  • live events
  • virtual shadowing
  • live Facebook tours
  • written testimonials
  • downloadable for capturing leads that aren't ready to plunge into an application
  • anything you can do to infuse your culture and community into the experience your prospective families are having

If you’d like to take a deep-dive into a more effective virtual tour, our Video Tours Strategy workshop can be exclusively accessed when you sign up for our Bounce-Back Strategy plan. This will help you bridge the gap between your previous tour method and the virtual reality of today.

We believe in this so much that we a free, on-demand workshop about how to  build an immersive, effective virtual tour.

Amy Alexander

Written by Amy Alexander

Valiant defender of client brands, creative genius, master of graphic design and photography, and mother of (cute, tiny) dragons at Story Collaborative. Once upon a time, a brilliant warrior princess and her family wanted to forge a business that cared about people as much as it cares about results - and so - Story Collaborative was born. With over a decade of experience in graphic design, Amy has developed brand experiences for large and small organizations across the US. After completing her B.S., Amy left freelance design consulting to work in higher education. There she managed print and digital experiences in a collaborative environment. She now has years of creative direction under her belt, providing a unique understanding of customer interaction with brand touch-points. When she’s not slaying giants for her cherished clients, she can be found relaxing and adventuring with her husband, twin girls Morgan and Mallory, and her extended family.