Selling Architectural Services with 3D Virtual Tours

Sketches, CAD drawings and artist renderings are important tools for architects, but they don’t always speak to the client. A relatively new technology, the 3D virtual tour, is a better way to translate your vision and sell your building design.

3D virtual tours take clients inside your design. Whether your project is a custom home or a $100 million resort property, they offer the client a preview of how the building design will appear in real life. They offer panoramic, 360-degree views.

3D tours are created with a combination of high resolution 360˚ photospheres, CGI, and virtual tour web technology. When a client views a tour, they get a sense of what it would be like to walk around the building or property. They can move from room to room, navigate the grounds or zoom in on specific features. The step-by-step tours are realistic and virtually to scale.

Sales and marketing applications for 3D virtual tours

3D virtual tours have a variety of applications in the building design process. Architects can use them to:

  • Improve sales presentations by giving the potential client a clear idea of what they would be buying
  •  Enhancing proposals or bids
  • Communicate your ideas to existing clients
  • Ensure that you and the client are on the same page when it comes to design and vision
  • Present the building design to local planning and design review boards
  • Get final sign-off an a project before construction begins
  • Make changes to the building design before construction
  • Advertise your architectural services on your website
  • Market your services on Pinterest, Houzz and other social media sites
  • Share your building design with the public and media outlets 

3D virtual tours are especially valuable for big budget projects, corporate sales presentations, luxury projects, and specialized training sessions. These clients are going to get a lot of impressive submissions - you need to one-up the competition. A 3D virtual tour translates your vision better than flat plans, setting you apart from other architects.

In addition to architects, 3D virtual tours are used by developers, design-build firms, interior designers, landscape architects and more.

What should I look for in an architectural rendering firm?

An architectural rendering firm can build a 3D virtual tour from your sketches and CAD drawings. The tour can be created with actual photography of the property or site, which adds another layer of realism. This isn’t a pie-in-the-sky, conceptual version of your building design. It’s true to life and photorealistic.

The realism is a great way to set client expectations. Artist renderings are often beautiful, but we all know they can be dramatized. When your clients signs off on a project after viewing the 3D virtual tour, you can feel comfortable that they understand your building design and won’t be met with any surprises when construction is complete.

A lot of architectural rendering firms offer still images or video animations, but very few offer interactive products like 3D Virtual Tours. Look for a firm that offers tours that can be viewed on tablets and mobile phone, MACs and PCs. You don’t want technology issues to stand in the way of a client viewing your design - it looks unprofessional. Ask for references, and check out the firm’s previous work. When it comes to pricing, find out exactly what’s included in the cost. Are design revisions included in the price, or will that cost extra?

The cost of a 3D virtual tour is very small in the context of a building design project. More importantly, they land you jobs you might not have had otherwise. Your bid or proposal will stand out as creative, polished and professional.   To see one in action click the button below.

Joshua Hale

Joshua Hale is the founder of Village Features. He enjoys writing about the effects of computer visualization on a business's bottom line as well as it's branding.