Have you heard of Tour Builder from Google? It’s still in beta version and calls itself “a Google Earth experiment.” But wow, it looks cool. For those of us interested in uncovering the most compelling ways to tell our brand’s stories, this new tool is absolutely worth a look—travel-industry professionals take note!
It only takes a glance at one tour in Google’s gallery to see why. “Blue Bottle Coffee: A Japanese Aesthetic” starts at Chatei Hatou in Tokyo before whirling around the globe to swoop down on Hayes Valley, San Francisco. Each super-hero-style leap carries you to a street view of another Blue Bottle Coffee venue. Along with these satellite images come photo slideshows and well-crafted text about the locale. As a whole, the virtual trip achieves what any well-conducted tour does – it educates, stirs emotion, and cultivates feelings of connection. Excellent groundwork for future purchasing behavior and a gorgeous illustration of content marketing.
As Contently.com noted last month, examples already exist of storytelling collaborations between big brands and Google Earth and Google Maps. Tour Builder lets smaller organizations in on the show. Media-rich, location-grounded, marketing-savvy stories on a Google platform—surely can’t hurt the SEO, right?
There will doubtless be some glitches along the learning curve of Tour Builder. But anyone with a Google account and the Google Earth plug-in can have a go at creating a tour. Businesses linked to travel should be aware of and excited for all the possibilities—like our blog on Pinterest Place Pins shows, marketers’ arsenal of storytelling tools is growing by leaps and bounds.
Emily Smith – Editor