MN Orchestra Open Rehearsal

Behind the Scenes – Virtual Tours for Theatres

I’m happy to announce virtual tours for theatres and event centers in 2022! It’s great for performance attendees to get to know the theatre safely from their own device, earn trust and be compelled, and buy a ticket to a show.

Behind the virtual tours, being knowledgeable and experienced in theatre and performance center layouts started with me at the age of 3 in Rochester. With my Dad in the male chorus, my Mom performing on the organ, and 2 older sisters who played the piano, it was inevitable for me. So I begged my parents for piano lessons… at 3.

Honors Concert at Northrop circa 197X

A favorite childhood memory was doing well enough in the MTNA piano competitions to where we were rewarded by playing group piano concerts at the UofMN Northrop Auditorium. If any of us 3 siblings made it, our parents took us up from Rochester to “the cities” to stay at a hotel… with a pool!

I guess I was the tiny kid.

This is eventually what familiarized and compelled myself to notice the different looks of theatres, auditoriums, and performance event centers. The vibe, acoustics, acceptance for dorks, and the sheer music made me want to learn more. I eventually became a Music major in college and played a senior recital in our college auditorium, and that was close to it for my performing career.

Linda (cellist), myself (hair!) circa 199X after the Senior Recital at CWU

This experience and knowledge makes for great theatre virtual tours. Being in the audience for so many events, plus performing enough to know the backstage and secret areas make this niche a perfect fit. Plus, after doing virtual tours and digital marketing in other industries, this just makes perfect sense.

There are plenty of people out there who have experiences similar to mine. When it comes to music and the arts, we’re naturally more passionate and want to know more about you, the theatre venue we’re thinking of visiting.

In your virtual tour, showcasing driving directions, where to hang my coat, showing where the restrooms are, and of course viewing the different seating options to choose are completely compelling. These are the benefits I like to provide others who are thinking of visiting your theatre.

That’s my story. What’s yours whether it’s for music, arts, or theatres in general? Sound off on Twitter!

Yellow Flowers

6 Tips on How to Stage and be Ready for your 360 Virtual Tour

You’re ready for your virtual tour. You’ve hired a company, or are thinking of hiring one. Whichever the case, here are some good pro-tips from experience to help you stage your tour and be ready beforehand.

Staging works great for both Google and custom tours, and it can really help stand out for the latter when you combine color schemes, table of content, and hotspots (info spots) to the virtual tour.

The Google tours are what people are first used to seeing as your Google tour will automatically be placed in their Maps results. These results are visited often, and may even provide indirect SEO benefits.


Here are some useful tips

In general, it’s great to have a bright interior space. If not, we have editing tools to improve all photos taken. Ensure that all your lights are working properly to have consistent light throughout the tour.

Stage your place

Stage your place just like you would want to showcase to a customer as they walk in your door. It’s these virtual, visual impressions that can bring people from their device and ready to walk in your door.

Display your safety protocols

Not just staging, but displaying your safety protocols helps make it safe, compelling, and ready for people to come visit you. Especially since 2020, customers are more conscious of distancing and sanitizing.

Safety Protocols at Check In

Safety protocols at check-in

Watch for the weather

It’s hard to measure the weather. When possible, days that are at least partly sunny are superior. Some of the 360 photos are exterior and having some blue in the sky help make the tour more compelling for the user.

Mayo Civic Center

Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN

Showcase specific photos

If you have machines, products, scenes, or anything you want to call out, let us know. You can have specific photos of these for your custom tour.

X-Ray Machine

X-Ray Machine

Think about Stills and Tiny (little) Planet photos

Think about opportunities for stills and Tiny Planet photos. These can be a great, creative way for your use on social media and other content. Be the center of your planet!

Twitter Post on Tiny Planets and Stills

Here’s just another example of what can be done. This is a plain scene, although you can have features such as your staff be the center of the planet!

Armory - Minneapolis

Armory – Minneapolis

Consider HIPAA and other precautions

From either HIPAA laws or personal choices, your location may need to be empty. For this reason, LocalMN is available for your tours on weekends.


LocalMN provides both custom and Google tours for you for 2 reasons:

The custom tours are superior. There are tables of contents, branding, your color schemes, and the control and assurance that all the arrows point to the right direction. This is what we recommend you embed on your website with a short and easy code that we provide for you.

Also, the tool we use to create these virtual tours allow us to publish both the Google and custom tours in not a lot of extra time. We pass this saving to you and you get the best of both worlds!

We have a lot of experience in Google My Business (now Google Business Profile). Have your virtual tour created by us and hit us up with any questions.

Safety Protocols at Check In

Virtual Tours in a COVID 2022

Virtual Tours in a COVID 2022

Safely Stand Out with Your 360 Photos

To comply with the different 2022 COVID orders, more businesses and organizations have been hosting virtual tours. Whether it’s a Google or custom tour, it’s to share your place with customers to tour with these 360 photo spheres, and from the safety of their device.

Do you have a recent virtual tour? If so, do you showcase safety features that you have for your customers, patients, or students? It’s pretty accepted that we’re in a new world with more safety precautions whether it winds up being continued distancing and sanitizing, or more. Here are some 2022 tips for your virtual tours, both in general and more specific to safety.

Safely staging your front door and main area is the starting point

This is often your virtual tour starting point. Just like a residential home, this clean area is what gives a first impression to the customer. Even if it’s just dusting and light cleaning, these virtual tours and 360 photos should be as close to an in-person tour as possible and the first impression of your business front door is so valuable.

Above is the entrance to an upper-end quartz countertop gallery. Below, this flower bouquet was staged up front just for the virtual tour. This small effort alone helps make the gallery more welcoming once viewers enter the front door.

Showcase your call-to-action features

More so with the custom virtual tours, but you can showcase your calls-to-action in Google tours, too. Google is just way more limited.

For both, it’s generally a good idea to have each photo sphere, or scene, point in the same or similar direction (the above examples are South). This is done to help ensure ease-of-use for the many customers who just navigate by the arrows, while still having the opportunity to swipe to different directions. 

In this case, a dental office has a newer, modern 3d x-ray machine that they wanted to call out so we turned the machine slightly and added an infospot (hotspot) to explain the machine.

They take COVID seriously and we decided to showcase a couple safety protocols for their patients including a plexiglass panel up front along with hand sanitizers to build trust.

Showcase your exterior 360 photos

This is incredibly important and serves two major purposes:

  1. To show your building and features to let users become familiar with the look
  2. To show roads, street signs, address, and any landmark to not only let users know exactly where you are, but for them to automatically know how they will get there.

We have a lot of experience in both of these and know how to make it tick. People want convenience and easy answers and this is a great way to provide both.

This customer wanted to showcase the building address and parking lot from the neighboring road.

Many of their patients also enter the area from the back end so we focused this 360 photo on the street sign.

Highlight pristine outdoor views

If you’re in an attractive area, let’s do everything we can to showcase it like a dental clinic virtual tour I did. It can provide both implied prestige to the customer and even convince them to safely enjoy the area during their visit literally right outside by walking the promenade at Edina’s Centennial Lake. Side note, if you ice skate, this lake is a big, local skating destination in the winter.

As well, the same clinic offers a free or discounted coffee for their customers at Ambrosia Coffee on the main floor. We decided to use a couple 360 photos that show open space to compel users. Customers can even safely enjoy their coffee while walking around the lake area.

And the exterior with a couple tables safely apart.

Stills and Tiny Planet photos

It’s important to have these, at the least just to have on hand. You can add stills to your Google Business Profile at any time which helps keep it updated with very little time. I use Google Photos and everything is very user-friendly and organized, for me anyway. There are plenty of other options as well.

I do love Tiny Planet photos just for the wow and cool factor. It’s not necessarily going to make a direct impact on sales or new customers, but they indirectly could, especially depending on your industry. These often bring personality to your group and can give users a trusting feel for you, especially if you use people or even staff in these photos. 

This photo below turned out effective, and these all can easily be included with virtual tours. They’re actually great for Google Posts and Instagram and should only grow in popularity in 2022.

By taking just a little time before your virtual tour, you can have your place staged to your liking. Having a 2022 safety strategy for virtual tours still during COVID for your custom or Google tour is even better! It can be just these little things that can turn a casual browser to a customer at your location.

Feel free to comment on Twitter!