As the only Google Trusted Photographer on the Peninsula, York County resident Gerry Neary is in high demand as local governments and businesses seek out his unique method of promoting their services.
Neary, the owner of Virginia Peninsula Photography, has spent the past four years providing Google 360 Interior Virtual Tours for businesses and governments from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach.
Google 360 Interior Virtual Tours, which are accessible by searching on Google and Google Maps, allow users to see inside of a building. Through the use of panoramic photographs, users can pan, rotate and zoom through entire buildings.
“It’s one thing to show a business, but [the Virtual Tours] have a wow factor that a standard video or still photo doesn’t have,” Neary said. “Businesses that have it online love it.”
With Google making up about 64 percent of all search engine core searches in the U.S., many local companies and governments are jumping on the opportunity to promote their services using this platform.
Recently, the City of Williamsburg followed the lead of York County and is now offering grants for local businesses wanting to get Google 360 Interior Virtual Tours. The grants match 50 percent of the total cost of approved Google 360 Interior Virtual Tour projects up to $500 per business.
Since the city’s program was approved last month, seven businesses have applied and been approved to receive the grant: Park Orthodontics, Colonial Folk Art, Fife & Drum Inn, Williamsburg Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Kia, Quirks of Art, Roberts Furniture and Tactical Adventure Games. The virtual tour photos for Park Orthodontics has already been uploaded to Google.
To have an Interior Virtual Tour completed, a one-time fee is paid to cover the cost of the panoramic photographs. The cost of a photo shoot largely depends on the size of the space being photographed, but can range from $400 to upward of $800, Neary said.
Once the photographs are taken, Neary uploads the photos using dedicated Google software and compiles the Interior Virtual Tours online. Once the tours are posted, they will remain permanently unless a business or government wants them removed.
Neary said in his four years of providing Interior Virtual Tours, only one business has requested their tour be taken down. The reason: to have a new set of photographs taken after renovations were completed.
Any local residents wanting to inquire about having an Interior Virtual Tour completed can click here or call 757-912-0087.