If you spend a lot of time on Facebook, you will probably have noticed some clever 360 degree videos and photos popping up on your timeline that you can pan around in at will. Meet Facebook 360.
The social media behemoth has become an early adopter of the next craze in technology – virtual reality. The advances in virtual reality are undoubtedly exciting for gamers and geeks, but they also open up a wealth of opportunities for hoteliers, tour guides and others in the hospitality and tourism industry.
Photographs and videos have always been very effective for inspiring people to travel, and giving your guests the ability to step into your hotel virtually without leaving their homes might be just the right encouragement they need to decide to visit you in real life.
We gave the Facebook 360 function a try, and have figured out the quickest and easiest ways for you to use this technology to create your own 360 pictures to market your destination.
If you have an Apple iOS device or a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, you already have all the hardware and software you need. The built-in panorama function on these devices adds the necessary metadata to images to allow them to be displayed as 360 Facebook images. If you have another type of smartphone, you just have to download a 360 photo application.
Here’s how to capture and post Facebook 360 content:
Take a panorama on your iOS device or Samsung Galaxy phone (the image must cover 100 degrees or more to work as a 360 image when you post it to Facebook).
Take a 360-degree photo on your smartphone using a 360 photo app like Google Street View. Using this option is a bit more complicated, and you may have to ensure that your photo covers a full 360 degrees, but often the image quality is better than when you use the native panorama function on your phone.
Open the Facebook app (make sure you have the most recent version) and share the photo as you would any other photo: tap the status tool from the top of your Timeline or News Feed, select Photo/Video, choose the photo you want to share, and tap Post.
You will know that you image is going to work when you see the little compass icon showing on your photo before you upload it.
Once your photo is posted, look around in your photo — or any other 360 photo in your News Feed that’s marked with the compass icon — by moving your phone or dragging with your finger. Tap on the photo to view it in full screen.
Use these steps to give prospective guests a peek at your hotel’s gorgeous views, give them an accurate impression of what your rooms look like or place them at the centre of the action of any of the activities your hotel offers. For some inspiration (and just for fun) have a look at the Facebook 360 page, and for more information on Facebook 360, check out the official Facebook 360 website.