ATS logo

Virtual Tours: Unveiling the Invisible

Published: 10 Jun 2024

ATS Case Studies: St James’s Piccadilly, Alexander Fleming Laboratory, The Painted Hall Old Royal Naval College

All visitor attractions strive to create unforgettable experiences for everyone. However, several barriers can prevent potential visitors from enjoying them fully.

Physical limitations might make navigating certain areas challenging, like uneven terrain at outdoor attractions, venues lacking lift access or even high ceilings with features that just can’t be seen from the ground.

Time restrictions mean that temporary exhibitions are, well, temporary and sometimes artwork or artefacts need to be removed for conservation or due to loan commitments.

Or perhaps your collection is just too vast to show every piece in the space you have?

So, what if there was a way to showcase everything your attraction has to offer, regardless of physical ability, location, or even the current exhibition space or schedule?

While onsite exploration remains paramount, technology offers innovative ways to engage potential visitors and enrich the experience despite any limitations. Enter virtual tours – immersive digital experiences that utilise cutting-edge technology to transport users directly into the heart of your attraction.

What is a Virtual Tour?

Virtual tours aren't just a collection of static images. They utilise a range of technologies, including 360° panoramic photography, high-definition video and interactive elements to create a captivating experience which allows users to digitally navigate through your museum, historical site or visitor attraction.

The process of creating a virtual tour involves capturing high-quality visuals of your space. The ATS team use specialised 360° cameras and sophisticated photography techniques that stitch together multiple images to create a seamless panoramic view.

Additionally, we can incorporate high-definition photos or video footage to showcase specific areas or exhibits.

Once the visuals are captured, software is used to create an interactive platform. This platform allows users to virtually navigate the space by clicking and dragging their mouse on desktop computers or swiping on mobile devices.

Some virtual tours go a step further, incorporating interactive elements like hotspots with additional information, audio commentary or videos. Take a look at how we brought St James’s Piccadilly to life.

We can even create a virtual gallery space to showcase artwork that you don’t have physical space to display – this can be incorporated into our 3D photogrammetry service.

5 Benefits for Your Visitor Attraction:

Virtual tours aren't just a substitute for a physical visit, they are a powerful tool to enhance the overall visitor experience in several ways:

  1. Pre-visit Engagement and Planning: Virtual tours give visitors a taste of what to expect. This is particularly helpful for neurodiverse visitors or those with physical impairments as it enables them to plan their visit and personalise their experience. They can explore different areas in their own time, prioritise points of interest and feel more prepared for their visit.
  2. Enhanced Onsite Visitor Experience: For onsite visitors, a virtual tour option can highlight hidden gems and provide in-depth information about features that might not be visible from the ground. The 360° explorable virtual tour of the Painted Hall is a great example of how visitors can view the paintings in ultra-high resolution detail.
  3. Extend Beyond Current Restrictions: Creating a permanent virtual tour of your temporary exhibition will enable visitors to enjoy it long after the exhibition has closed. Virtual tours also mean you can provide a complete experience of your exhibition even if you have artwork or artefacts that have been removed for conservation or are on loan as part of a touring exhibition.
  4. Improved Online Accessibility: Virtual tours can make your attraction more accessible to those who may be physically or geographically unable to visit. This creates inclusivity and allows everyone to engage fully with your offering. It also allows educational opportunities as students and researchers can study your collection in great detail in their own time. Having seen the virtual tour that ATS created for St James’s Piccadilly, the team at the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum were inspired to create a virtual experience for the office of Alexander Fleming – take a look at what we created for them here.
  5. Enhanced Marketing and Storytelling: Virtual tours can be integrated into your website, social media platforms and marketing materials. They provide a powerful storytelling tool, allowing you to showcase the unique architecture, exhibits and highlights of your attraction in a way that static images or text simply can't.

Key Considerations

By working closely with you, we not only get to know the story you want to tell, but also can determine the most effective way to tell it. Here are a few things we will consider together during our initial planning meeting to ensure we create a compelling virtual tour:

  • Budget: 360° panoramic tours are generally the most cost-effective option, while VR and AR tours require more investment.
  • Goals: Do you want a simple overview or a fully immersive experience? Do you want to focus on specific exhibits and features or provide a comprehensive tour?
  • Audience: Are you targeting families with children? International visitors? Tech-savvy millennials? We can help you tailor the virtual tour format and content to their interests and preferences.
  • High-Quality Visuals: Our in-house team can create high-resolution photographs or video footage to include within the virtual tour to create a visually stunning experience.
  • Exciting Narrative: Storytelling is at the heart of what we do and our script writers can craft a compelling narrative that showcases the unique story of your attraction and keep users engaged.
  • Accessibility Features: Our developers ensure the virtual tour is accessible to everyone by including features like text transcripts for audio commentary, closed captions for videos and alternative navigation options for those who cannot use a mouse.
  • Interactive Elements: By incorporating information hotspots, audio commentary or even games we can help you provide a more engaging and informative experience for users of all ages.

There is a virtual tour option for every need. To find out more about the different types of virtual tour we can provide click here.

Our in-house team of experts are here to create a virtual tour solution for you that will ensure your visitors get the most memorable experience. So get in touch for a chat.

How can we help?