In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, some companies are choosing to offer tours without a leasing representative. This trend not only allows everyone to stay safe and healthy, it also meets growing interest from consumers to view a property on their own time and at their own pace. But are self-guided tours sustainable for commercial real estate? Will it work? Let’s take a closer look.
As property technology continues to thrive and grow in the multifamily sector, it is easy to quickly become overwhelmed by all of the new options out there to help lease units faster. One of the hottest trends right now is the self-guided tour. While certainly not a new concept in general, the idea of prospective tenants being able to access and tour a community on their own has given some property managers trepidation.
However, despite any initial hesitation, most agree that they understand that these trends will likely be the new norm, and will be vital to not only keeping prospects satisfied, but also to keep multifamily communities full and thriving in today’s uncertain climate.
Advantages of self-guided tours in CRE
The biggest advantage of utilizing self-guided tours in multifamily properties is simple: these tours allow for more leases, more quickly. A Zagby Analytics Study from March 2018 showed that nearly half (40 percent) of all prospects passed on a property that they were interested in, simply because they couldn’t find the time to tour the property during regular office hours.
Another advantage of self-guided tours is quality control, delivering a consistent and high-quality tour every time. The self-guided technology is designed to never miss highlighting a luxurious feature or the best amenities that make the community unique. Prospects also have the ability to choose the tour they want — for instance, they may not be interested in learning about the on-site hiking trails, but they may want more information on the fitness center or the pool.
What you need to know about self-guided tours
First, self-guided tours are not simply virtual tours. Most prospects today begin their search with a virtual tour, exploring the website and looking through beautiful photos of the property. These types of tours can be done from your own computer. A self-guided tour, on the other hand, is actually a tour of the physical property — just self-guided, without the assistance of a leasing agent. Prospects are allowed to visit the property with one-time, limited access that is supervised and overseen.
Most self-guided tours utilize a type of smart lock technology, allowing the prospect to receive a code to open a smart box and retrieve a key fob to get into the unit. For many properties, the thought of switching to a new lock system can be daunting, but research has shown that the return on initial investment makes it a smart solution.
One of the biggest components of self-guided tours in the need for security, with an upfront screening process before a prospect is given any type of access to the community. Using a multi-prong approach to security upfront (valid ID, valid credit card, facial recognition software, and more) is crucial to ensuring the safety of everyone involved.
As with all new technology, there is an evolution to the process that usually involves a few twists or turns along the way. Eventually, however, a workable solution emerges and the landscape may be forever changed — and those who get in on the ground floor will likely find themselves ahead of their competition.
At RealNex, our QuickTour technology allows for compelling, immersive, and affordable 3D virtual reality solutions for commercial real estate, allowing you to bring your project to life with immersive 3D and gain attention from new clients. Fill out this form to learn more, and one of our agents will be in touch with you right away.