PITTSBURGH - “It's very one of a kind, there's nothing else like it around,” said Bonnie Bevington, co-owner of the Grand Valley Inn.
When you step inside the Grand Valley Inn, it feels like a taste of home. And now, this Fallston restaurant wants to make sure everyone knows it.
“I think it's very inviting,” said Bevington. “And I think if you only look at the outside, you might not realize that.”
That's why owners Bonnie and Bob Bevington have turned to a trend that's now popping up in Pittsburgh called, "Google Maps Business View".
Google launched the program in 2012 so patrons could see inside a business without ever stepping inside. Bonnie has hired Chris Vendilli, a Google certified photographer, to shoot her company. Vendilli operates ProFromGo Internet Marketing.
“You can kind of experience the business and immerse yourself right from your mobile device,” said Vendilli.
With a 180-degree lens, Vendilli is taking thousands of pictures to string together.
Bevington showed him the rooms she wants highlighted.
The question some people have is, why not just take a series of photos on your own personal camera and put them on your website? Well, between the camera's high resolution and the post-production, it can make you feel like you're actually inside the room.
Using Google software, Chris demonstrated the finished tour of Sonoma Grille in Downtown Pittsburgh.
The 360-degree views let you zoom in on the bar, check out the dining room and even go outside.
Dr. Audrey Guskey, marketing professor at Duquesne, says it's already making a difference for companies.
“It lets them see who we are; this is what we stand for; this is what we've got,” said Guskey.
In fact, more than 250,000 companies around the globe have already decided to let the cameras in.
If a company does have a virtual tour, it will simply pop up on your screen when you Google the business.