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Since the COVID-19 outbreak, "social distancing" has caused in-person tours to scale back. As a result, the rental housing industry must provide a workaround to show properties to potential tenants.
In addition to providing you with rental market data over the last few weeks, our team has also been working behind-the-scenes to provide you with a solution to this ever-pressing issue. Today we are pleased to announce our new virtual tour ad syndication feature. This feature allows users who have video or Matterport 3D tours in our system to now push them to their ads (via Rentsync).
As of right now, the only ILS that supports this new automated ad syndication feature is RentBoard.ca, while the Zumper network, including Padmapper, supports it on their featured ad packages. That said, we do anticipate more ILS' will support this feature in the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime, if you haven't implemented "virtual touring" as part of your marketing strategy, now is the perfect time.
In fact, our data1 shows that lead volume is now rebounding since the initial COVID-19 announcement, and is up 7% week-over-week. This, coupled with Airbnbs and short-term accommodations being banned in Ontario, could be an early sign that we're now heading into a renter's market.
If so, rental properties must arm themselves accordingly, and virtual tours are just one way to ensure you stand out from the crowd.
To better educate users on how to effectively implement virtual touring, we've put together the following guide to help you along:
If you're wondering whether or not implementing virtual tours is worth the hassle or the cost, here are 5 data-backed reasons why you should:
According to Malcolm Mo, Marketing Director at Rhapsody Property Management Services2, a premier multifamily property management firm in Canada focused on purpose-built luxury rental communities, realizes renting sight unseen can be difficult. That's why guided tours are so important right now.
"Through guided virtual tours we are able to provide an elevated service to prospects looking to rent at one of our communities. Through guided tours, leasing agents are able find out a prospects needs and wants and be able to highlight community features and resident services that could be important for the renter when deciding where to live."
Malcolm has also seen the early results of deploying virtual tours during the pandemic:
"Throughout this time, I believe there will be a shift in renter behaviour to adopt virtual touring as the primary method for finding their next home. So far, people have been very understanding and we have successfully signed leases using virtual tours."
Since in-person tours are currently slowing down, virtual tours are crucial for filling vacancies right now by giving renters peace of mind when deciding on their next move.
There are many ways for properties to conduct "virtual tours" right now. To help clear things up, let's divide "virtual tours" into two categories: self-guided virtual tours and guided virtual tours.
Self-Guided Virtual Tours
Virtual tours, like those by Matterport, include options such as 3D interactive floor plans, and photographs of a property stitched together into a video format, allowing renters to preview the property through self-navigation.
Guided Virtual Tours
For many Class-A properties it's important to provide a guided tour experience to fully capture your offerings. A guided tour is usually conducted by the leasing agent, and allows for a two-way virtual conference between agent and prospective renter. Users can perform tours through apps such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, or Skype to get a more accurate, and more customized understanding of the property, and ask questions along the way.
How you choose to conduct virtual touring is up to you, but we recommend a combination of both options to give potential renters the best experience during this time.
Virtual touring is essential to your marketing right now. But how can you utilize this tool most effectively?
While speaking to Rhapsody and other property management companies who are currently implementing virtual touring right now, we found 4 tactics properties can use to increase bookings:
If you're not currently listing your properties on RentBoard or Zumper, chat with our sales team to get started on creating an account, and begin syndicating virtual touring in your ads.
Already have virtual tours? For step-by-step instructions on how to activate "virtual touring" in your ILS ads see the documentation below.
We will continue to update this page as more ILS partners become available.
And as always, stay healthy!
In response to COVID-19, remote work and social distancing are among the top precautions being taken to fight the virus. As a result, LWS has quickly responded to these developments by adapting Rentsync to meet the multifamily industry's unique needs during this time.
Introducing Virtual Tour Ad Syndication.
The following is a breakdown of how to access this feature in Rentsync from within your LIFT System account:
Adding Virtual Tours in LIFT
If you currently don't have virtual tours in your LIFT System account, you can easily add your virtual tours to LIFT, by editing a property and choosing the "Virtual Tours" tab.
Already have Virtual Tours?
To activate virtual tours for an ILS (via Rentsync), simply turn on your properties inside the Advertising panel in Rentsync. Voila! Existing enabled properties that have virtual tours in LIFT will now automatically include them in your listings.
Supported ILS & Types
Rentboard: Matterport & YouTube
Zumper/Padmapper (featured ads only): Matterport, YouTube, Panoskin & GeoCV
RentCanada: All tour & video types (except Panoski Tours)
REW: Matterport, YouTube & Vimeo
1 From LIFT System / Rentsync
2 Full disclosure: Rhapsody is an LWS client.
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