You may have heard: Virtual tours are the new kid on the block—on many blocks, in fact—and they’re creating a buzz in the property management industry. Here at Tenant Turner, 33% of customers have at least one video or virtual tour in their active listings, and that’s on the rise. With the advent of Covid it is all the more important.
What Are Virtual Showings?
Much like self-access showings, resident leads can literally view your properties while you sleep. Better yet, they can do it from their couch through 360-degree, immersive photography—think of Google Maps’ street-view feature. But with the investment in equipment and new technology, are these self-guided virtual tours worth it? We’ve weighed the options below.
An example of a video tour, of one of our clients listings.
Benefits of Virtual Tours
The main goals of virtual tours are to increase leads and decrease unnecessary showings:
- Optimize your listings. Virtual tours help to generate more tenant leads by making your listing more appealing. Stats from Apartments.com record 3 times more time spent on a page when a page has a video or virtual tour. Matterport reports that these listings also see a 49% increase in the number of leads. Zillow research reports that 41% of Millennials find video or virtual tours very important in helping them decide on their next home. Tenant leads gravitate to listings with tours, they spend more time viewing details about those rentals, and they are more likely to inquire.
- Expand your lead pool. Virtual tours make showings more accessible to tenant leads with limited mobility. When access isn’t an issue, you’ll get more eyes on the property and bring more leads into the funnel.
- Decrease unnecessary showings. Video and virtual tours give tenant leads as much information as possible before a showing is scheduled, allowing tenant leads to self-select out of seeing a property. When you pair this with software that pre-qualifies your tenant leads, you’re only showing rentals to leads who are truly engaged and who already like what they see.
Virtual Tour Technology Options
Let’s explore some of the options in virtual tour technology:
- The Zillow 3D Home app was launched earlier this year. It’s completely free, but the price tag does come with some limitations: It’s only available on Apple iOS devices and doesn’t offer some of the features that you’ll find in paid services.
- Matterport is the primary option in the multifamily rental industry. Matterport Tour is a high-definition photography tour that includes up to 20 locations within a rental, which are combined into one realistic, interactive 3D and VR photography tour. Tenant leads can click through the house in any direction to see seamless, detailed images of the rooms, as if they were walking through. You can also create accurate floor plans and 3D models with a dollhouse view. ***Matterport is the technology that New England Property Management utilizes for all VR Tours***
As a best practice for using any of these tools, you’ll want to set the stage just like you would for taking photos: declutter, set appropriate lighting, turn off anything moving like TVs and fans, and open doors to make for easy pathways.
So, Are Virtual Tours Worth It?
In a nutshell, it depends what your goals are. For those looking to significantly reduce unnecessary showings, virtual tours can make a strong addition to your suite of leasing tools. They are best used in partnership with a scheduling software that helps you get the tours front and center. Used together, a virtual tour can help weed out rentals that are not a good fit for a particular lead, and software (like Tenant Turner) weeds out leads who are not a good fit for a rental. If your goals are more focused on bringing people on-site for a personal touch, or if your budget can’t accommodate equipment to produce a high-quality virtual tour at this time, then focusing on high-resolution photos in your rental listings may still be the best move for you.