Google Street View 360° Interior Virtual Tour for businesses grants available

Date: January 6, 2017

The Economic Development Authority offices of City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County are offering companies of all sizes an opportunity to showcase a virtual tour of the interior of their businesses with grant programs respectively. Most grants are on a first-come, first served basis. Photos of your business do one of two things: they convince people to purchase from you, or they drive your clientele away to a competitor who looks better. Having professional photos should be your main priority when advertising online to potential customers. Today, your images are shared everywhere – your main website, social platforms, video feeds and more. Make sure your photos beat the competitor with this enticing incentive.

The Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance Interior View

Google, which makes up 64 percent of all search engine core searches in the Unites States, offers the opportunity for companies to showcase the interior of their businesses free of charge.  Surveys show that  people use Google more than travel sites for searching for a place to dine or shop and would like to have more opportunities to see the inside of businesses to assist in the decision-making process. Google is the number one for local searches and according to a study done by Google in July 2016, virtual tours help double interest in business listings and when searching for restaurants and hotels online, 62% of people use Google.

Each EDA office would like to expand business potential with these grant programs. The photography for a 360° Interior Virtual Tour on Google must be taken by a “Google Trusted Photographer” (GTP). These photographers charge a fee to capture panoramic photography, then the GTP has access to the Google software program that enable them to develop the virtual tour from the still panoramic photographs. The GTP then posts the tour to the business Google listing. Businesses can embed the entire Google Street View 360° Interior Virtual Tour to the business’ websites and social media for no additional charge.

Grant Details

City of Williamsburg- The Williamsburg EDA sees this as an opportunity to help existing businesses grow and prosper in the City. Grants are matching grants equal to 50 percent of total cost of the approved project, with a maximum grant amount of $500 per business. Click here for criteria and application information or by phone at 757.220.6120.

James City County – In order to leverage marketing dollars, the James City County EDA is offering grants to JCC businesses to assist with the upfront photography costs needed to develop a virtual tour. The grant program awards 50% matching grants, up to $500 per business. The EDA has appropriated $10,000 for matching grant funds. For an application and grant qualification criteria, contact EDA staff online or by phone at 757.253.6607.

York County – The EDA has appropriated $20,000 in available matching grant funds for this program. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. This grant awards 50% matching grants only; on a first-come, first-served basis, to existing York County businesses for the purpose of having interior panoramic photos taken of their business location, which will be transformed into a virtual tour and posted on Google Maps. For an application and grant qualification criteria, Click here or by phone at 757.890.3317