We've responded to many RFPs and spoken to countless schools about the advantages and drawbacks of different platforms including our own. If I was in your position exploring solutions, there are 4 things I would ask vendors to ensure I have an understanding of the solution.
- Can you demonstrate the CMS? Virtual tours are enduring tools, but campus changes constantly and the experience must evolve. To solve this, look for an intuitive content management system that can be expanded on over time by a marketing/recruitment team (not programmers) with different types of available content. Follow-on question here: how much content can I add within each pricing tier?
- Does it integrate with my CRM or lead capture tool? When future student data sits in another company's database, the chances of it getting actioned in a timely way are significantly reduced. There are also privacy and compliance issues at play. Integrating with your CRM or marketing automation system ensures that prospect inquiries are posted directly into your DB, and handled according to your privacy practices.
- Is the experience accessible for a global audience? Schools are recruiting globally, so the VT should be available in every country and serve users with diverse usability needs. Meeting WCAG A/AA standards, allowing for translation into multiple languages, and being accessed in China at the main points here.
- Who owns the content? Often vendors will bundle proprietary content and software into a single license contract. What this means is that at the end of an agreement, both the software and content are no longer yours to use. Consider whether you intend to use the content outside of the experience (e.g. on Facebook/IG, or on your website), and if you wish to own rights to use the content in perpetuity. Also, if proprietary content is used, does the platform allow content you own to be integrated (photos, 360 media, YouTube videos, etc)?
More resources about the virtual tour workflow and case studies can be found here.