Ever wonder what Google Street View would like inside a business? Some commercial Real Estate brokers, property managers and developers are one step ahead of the game by using the software giant’s Business View feature to attract clients and tenants.
Business View is an interior version of the popular Street View, which uses 360-degree photography to build an interactive tour and experience. While it’s most popular with retail stores and restaurants, some property brokers and developers are using it to showcase empty space. Think of it as a virtual tour with Google's impressive credentials.
“Commercial Real Estate is perfectly viable for Google Business View virtual tours,” said Benicia, Calif. Photographer Luke George, who is one of hundreds of Google-approved Business View photographers throughout the United States.
Only Google-approved photographers can film, edit and file the virtual tours on the web company’s cloud-based servers. The licensed photographers are responsible for editing the photos, building the tour and making them accessible to everyone online.
“It's a pretty streamlined process,” Anaheim, Calif., photographer Jeremy Frank said. “A lot of restaurants (are interested, as well as), car dealerships and any retail shop that has invested a lot in their interior.”
George has filmed the interiors of hotels, car dealerships, dental offices, and malls.
The only areas off limits to Business View are residential and living spaces, New York photographer Anthony Caccamo said. Caccamo and his wife run Black Paw Photo. Google invited the firm to become a Business View photographer in 2011, when it was still a pilot program with which the software giant was experimenting. Inside Business NYC / Black Paw Photo has been featured in The New York Times for its work, and its clientele includes the multi-state Jack Parker Corp., as well as shopping center property management firm DLC Management.
Jack Parker Corp., which owns several residential apartment buildings, hotels and restaurants in New York, was attracted to the Google Business View offering because the high-end company believes its visual offerings would attract more visitors if more people knew about it.
“With the power of Google … you’re able to reach others who may not have come directly to your site, but may have been searching, and you are able to get in front of them,” spokeswoman Marisa Zafran said. “It peaks their interest a lot more. It’s a better way to get them in.”
Business View services typically range from a few hundred for a small space, to $1,500 or more for larger spaces. Business View tours show up in Google’s search results, Google Maps and on Google+. The finished product is also given to the client to embed on a website, or other marketing purposes.
“It's definitely a good idea, and it would be very helpful to sell (property),” Frank said. “Oftentimes, a buyer is out of state and can't just show up to see the property. And it can at least it can get them interested to see the property in person.”