6 top tips for carrying out a remote tour of a venue.

With the 2020 lockdown meaning anyone who could needed to work from home, the popularity of video conferencing has gone through the roof.

The same can be said with estate agent viewings - whilst you can now look around an empty house, many are opting for a video walkthrough.

Many wedding venues are following suit - people are going to carry on getting married, whatever the new normal looks like. And therefore people are going to want to continue finding a wedding venue that suits them. And whilst many are still nervous about venturing out, being able to move forward with big life plans from the comfort of your own home is going to be a strong selling point.

That's why we're encouraging all of the halls and venues on HallsHire.com to offer virtual viewings.

This needn't be daunting - and there are lots of different ways to go about it. If you're a venue owner and you've used Skype, or Zoom or even WhatsApp, you've got the tools to instantly start doing virtual tours.

If you've got WhatsApp on your phone, you just need to arrange a video call with your prospective customer and once you're looking at each other on the camera, click the little icon that looks like 2 curved arrows to reverse the camera so that it's pointing away from you and out towards the room you're stood in. 

Alternatively, if you haven't got WhatsApp or would prefer not to give out your phone number, set up a Skype or Zoom account for your organisation and download the relevent app to your smartphone or tablet. Zoom is the product taking the world by storm at the moment and it's very easy for people to use without needing a log in or account. Provided your viewing doesn't take more than 40 minutes, and there's just you and one other party on the call (so Bride and Groom perhaps, but together on one device on their end) then Zoom is free.

Top tips for remote viewings:

If you're new to video calls there are a few things to keep in mind first.

  1. Make sure you've got enough reception at your venue. The last thing you want to do is set up a call, and find that there's not enough 3G/4G reception at your location. If you've got good wifi at your hall, try and use that, and avoid wandering into any places where reception drops out. Tell them about the loos and send photos if you know you'll get disconnected if you walk in there!
  2. Practice the technical bits! Make sure you know how to answer the call or make the call. Make sure you know how to reverse the camera once you've introduced yourself so they can see the rest of the room. Make sure you can reverse it back again to say goodbye at the end.
  3. Practice the tour! Think about real life viewings you've had and what parts of your venue people were most interested in. Make sure you plan your guided tour not just so you stay within reception ranges, but also so that the viewing is smooth and professional and you've got a plan for which rooms you're going to go into in what order.
  4. Consider if you want any additional equipment. You may find the audio on the tour is quite echoey and so plugging headphones into your phone or tablet so that you speak into the mic on the headphone wire might make things sound a lot clearer for your listeners. Meanwhile you might also decide to invest in a selfie stick. When you first begin the call it'd be nice to show your face and say hello - and also at the end - and this can look better if you're more than an arms length away.
  5. Prepare the hall. Before you start, arrive a few minutes early and make sure the lights are on and any doors are open so that you don't need to fumble in the dark or try to open a door whilst holding the door steady. But of course also remember to wear gloves and/or wipe down surfaces depending on the rules you've put in place within your organisation.
  6. Ideally the tour should be whilst the venue is empty. That probably won't be difficult at the moment, writing this in June 2020, but if you're doing virtual tours after lockdown, try and make sure there's not lots of echoey background noise from the weekly table tennis club in the background.

Once you're all set, make sure you advertise that remote tours or virtual tours are an option. Update your HallsHire.com listing and remember to offer it to people who enquire. Even after lockdown, if people are looking to plan a wedding or event from a long way away, a virtual tour may be a way of getting them interested enough to take more steps towards booking. More and more companies are moving towards a culture shift with regards to working from home, and it's likely that the "new normal" will see more people comfortable with video calls and carrying out appointments online.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

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