Google 360 Interior Virtual Tour for Business Grant Program
This grant had previously depleted its funds; however, at the Williamsburg Economic Development Authority's May 2022 meeting, the EDA approved additional funding for its grant programs.
This grant has resumed accepting applications.
Google, which makes up approximately 64 perfect of all search engine core searches in the United States, offers all companies the opportunity to showcase the interior of their businesses free of charge. Recent surveys have shown that people use Google more than travel sites when searching for a place to dine or shop and would like to have more opportunities to see the insides of businesses to help in the decision making process. With a Google 360 Interior Virtual Tour, searching on Google and Google Maps, in addition to panning on Google Street View, users can see the inside of businesses.
The only requirement for posting a 360 Interior Virtual Tour on Google is that the photography must be taken by a “Google Trusted Photographer” (GTP). These photographers charge businesses a fee to capture panoramic photography, and then the GTP has access to the Google software platform that enables them to develop the virtual tour from the still panoramic photographs. The GTP then posts the photography to the business Google listing. Businesses can embed the entire Google Street View 360 interior virtual tour to their websites and social media at no charge.
Because of the critical role that the internet in general and Google searches in particular play in helping customers make dining and shopping decisions, the Williamsburg Economic Development Authority (EDA) sees this as an opportunity to help existing businesses grow and prosper in the City, which is one of the City’s five main economic development objectives. In order to assist and encourage businesses to utilize this opportunity, the Williamsburg EDA is offering a grant program for City businesses to help pay for the GTP services.
The City of Williamsburg Google Street View Virtual Tour for Business Grant Program is a partnership between the City of Williamsburg EDA, the City of Williamsburg Economic Development Department, and the area's Google Trusted Photographers. It was created as a means to encourage both residents and tourists to spend money in the City of Williamsburg so that City businesses can prosper and new tax revenue will be generated in the City.
Grants are matching grants equal to 50 percent of total cost of the approved project, with a maximum grant amount of $500.00 per business. Grants will be awarded after approval of the application. All projects must be completed within 6 months of approval. Funds will be awarded to the applicant only upon satisfactory completion of the project in accordance with the approved application. Applicants must submit copies of all paid invoices/receipts in order to receive reimbursement of the approved amount. Non-profit agencies are not eligible. Grants are made on a first-come, first-served basis.
• Businesses must be for-profit, have a current City Business License, have paid all current City taxes, and be located in the City of Williamsburg.
• By accepting grant funds, businesses agree to allow the City of Williamsburg Economic Development Office to access the still images that are provided to them by the Google Trusted Photographer.
• The same business may not receive more than one grant.
• This grant is intended for use by businesses to advertise their physical location. Businesses without physical premises or which conduct daily public operations off-site are not eligible for the grant.
• The Google Street View Virtual Tour must be established prior to any business receiving grant funds.
• The application must be submitted using the form developed by the Williamsburg Economic Development Office and be completed in full.
• Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Williamsburg Economic Development Office staff
• Priority will be given to businesses that do not currently have interior virtual tours on their Google listings.
• Before grant funds may be dispersed, the tour must be uploaded to Google and able to be viewed in a Google search.
• Resulting tour must be able to be viewed without charge in a Google Search
The photography business must be a Google Trusted Provider and must have an office location in the Commonwealth of Virginia. No principal, officer or manager employee of the applicant may be a principal, officer, manager employee or investor in the entity employed to perform the services to be funded in whole or in part by the grant.
1. Applicant must complete and submit the online application. This includes contacting at least one of Virginia’s Google Trusted Photographers and receiving a quote for the interior photography to be completed. The matching grant amount will be based on the quote submitted by the applicant and will be capped at $500.
2. Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Williamsburg Economic Development Department.
3. Williamsburg Economic Development staff will send an email notification from the online application system informing the applicant of the decision of the office. If approved, then the email is the authority for the applicant to begin work.
4. The chosen Google Trusted Photographer completes the project as quoted.
5. Applicant business pays the Google Trusted Photographer in full and uses the online application system to submit paid receipts and/or copies of returned checks.
6. Williamsburg Economic Development staff will verify completion of the project as quoted and provide grant payment to the applicant business.