A virtual tour, also known as an in-house video tour, is a visual simulation of an actual place, typically consisting of a series of still or video images. It can also use additional multimedia elements like music, narration, speech, and subtitles. It is sometimes contrasted with the use of live broadcast for tele-tourism purposes. Virtual tours provide a much more interactive medium, since the user is not required to physically be present at the site being toured. Instead, they are provided with a virtual view of what it would like to see. In contrast, in-person tours require the presence of both the visitor and the tour guide. Tour guides are usually individuals who speak a bit of the local language or are native to the area of interest being documented. Video and audio formats are commonly used in virtual tours. A computer program that creates and synchronizes the visual images with voiceovers is used to create an interactive virtual tour. A good example is the Microsoft Windows Video Viewer software. This software allows users to create their own personal tour within the software itself. An important part of creating an interactive virtual tour is the inclusion of audio. This is especially useful when presenting a virtual tour in foreign languages such as Spanish or French. Since most tourists don’t usually know the language of the area being shown on a virtual tour, a background noise in the background can provide them with an easy way to understand what is being displayed. The addition of visual components such as video images or animated graphics can greatly enhance a virtual tour. For example, it is easier to understand the historical aspects of a city or town if a video of the same area is shown. Even a simple animation can give visitors a better understanding of the history of the region being depicted. The more complex and detailed an image or animation, the more likely that it will be to inspire the viewer and make them want to learn more about the place being depicted. Finally, since virtual tours provide the illusion of being located in a real location, it is beneficial to have a phone, answering service, or website address that can be easily reached by visitors. This is very helpful for those people who aren’t native English speakers. Using virtual tours as a marketing tool has been a great success for many companies, but there are some important issues to be aware of before using them. As with any type of advertising, the best way to maximize the potential of using these types of sites is to get your visitors involved by including as much information as possible with each visit. When creating a virtual tour, make sure you take the time to explain what you’re trying to show. and the location you’re interested in. Then, make sure your visitors can reach you, which should be on a reliable page with an email address that they can use to contact you should they have any questions.
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