Marketing in the multifamily space is tougher than ever before. That’s why you need video to help your community stand out. Nothing has proven more valuable to both generating and converting leads online than video. But, to get the video content that will move your bottom line, you need the right virtual tour software or video leasing solution.
At this point, we know that finding ways to leverage video content is the best way to show off a property. Whether it’s a stabilized property or still in lease up, a video tour can help prospective residents make their decisions. Whether it’s experiencing a community overview tour on a website to peak interest in the community or previewing a playlist of unit videos before touring in person to narrow down their selection, these all make an impact on enhancing and streamlining the leasing process.
People are busier than ever. Visiting a property for a full live tour used to be the expectation. Nowadays, those in person tours can sometimes be viewed as a luxury instead. It’s not always possible or desired anymore. And sometimes, distance may be the barrier making it flat out impossible. That’s where live virtual tours come into play. For that, you absolutely need to start with the right software.
So where do you start when looking to set yourself or your team up for creating videos and hosting live virtual tours for your prospective residents? Keep reading on to learn about what we feel should be the nonnegotiable features you should look for in virtual tour software.
Live Video Tours
No matter the virtual tour software, for today’s progressive onsite leasing teams, it should allow for easy hosting of live video tours. Live video tours, with the right software, doesn’t mean a fancy video tour camera and complicated productions. It can be as easy as sending an invite, taking out your iPhone, and you’re connected. Live tours can mean big things for leasing at your community.
Not only do teams that use live video tours spend less time closing each lease, but they also see increased conversion rates, increased sight-unseen leasing, decreased repeat showings, and more! Why? Because live video tours allow leasing agents to show each individual prospect exactly what they want to see in the community, when they want to see it. Unlike VR, 3D, or 360 tours, actual live video tours are catered and customized in real time to the prospect on that tour. It empowers the leasing agent to do what they do best — sell the property — and allows them to build a relationship with that prospective resident at the same time. It’s real, raw, and transparent, and that is what today’s consumers are demanding.
Live Video Open Houses
If you’re pre-leasing or in lease-up, you know that there’s rarely enough hours in a day to host all of the tours that need hosted, catch up on paperwork, answer the phones, schedule move-ins, and all of the hundreds of other things on your plate. One of the most efficient uses of your time in those critical stages for a community can therefore be hosting a live video open house. We aren’t talking Facebook Live either. If you are serious about finding the right virtual touring or video leasing solution, you need to consider the impact that a live video open house could have for your lease-up efforts. Being able to show the community to more than one prospect at a time, in a clean, professional, built-for-multifamily environment can be absolutely game changing from a lead generation and lead conversion standpoint.Live video open houses give you the benefits of live video tours mentioned above along with the benefits of an open house.
The right platform will take the steps necessary to keep it clean and professional as well — muting attendee microphones, keeping attendees anonymous to each other, recording the live stream, etc. And one of the biggest things to get right? Data! If you don’t know who has RSVPed for your open house versus who attended and don’t have the ability to intelligently follow up with those leads, then the impact is little more than a fancy ad with no CTA. Get this one right with the proper platform and you’ll reap the benefits of increased, qualified leads that convert!
While live tour capabilities are critical to today’s audience of mobile-first, limited interaction consumers, it’s also important for your virtual tour software to allow for pre-recorded videos as well. The absolutely most critical number one thing to consider when empowering onsite teams to create their own pre-recorded videos? Simplicity! Your onsite teams are not videographers. Hosting a live video tour is one thing — those can be a little shaky at times while walking around touring, but that’s forgivable. Pre-recorded videos need to have a certain level of polish and have different expectations placed on them than live tours. So whatever you pursue for virtual touring, if you’re asking your onsite team to create the content, make sure it’s quick, simple, and professional.
So why are pre-recorded videos so important? It’s what people are used to! You can send videos to communicate any type of message today and the convenience factor is that prospects can watch those videos on their own time when and where it’s most convenient. With pre-recorded videos, your team can also store up an online library of invaluable content to instantly pull from anytime a video of a specific floor plan, unit, or amenity is needed to send as a preview or follow up to a specific prospect. 3D and 360 virtual tours may be touted as the next level pre-recorded video, but the type of video content we’re talking about is far from those fabricated, high production pieces you’ll see online. Keeping your pre-recorded videos real and not making them overly produced with staging, lighting, post-production editing, and more will ensure that the authenticity remains and that what your prospects are viewing is believable that they’re actually seeing and experiencing the real thing as it stands.
Cloud-based Video Library
While having the ability to create pre-recorded videos is absolutely critical, it really loses it’s power if you don’t have a place to centralize all of that content and instantly post or share it out from. In today’s day and age, cloud reigns king. Having all of your video content stored to the cloud and accessible by the entire onsite teams means instant access to content that can transport your property to any person, anywhere and provide a real look and tour into the space.
Another key benefit of storing your videos on the cloud? The proper video leasing or virtual touring solution with pre-recorded video functionality would (should) take care of the hardest part for you — transcoding that video into every playback type. Storing your videos on the cloud and sharing a cloud-based link to a video, means that the proper video file can be served up for viewing on any web or mobile device, whether Mac or PC, Android or iOS. Ensuring accessibility for your videos is an absolute must to guarantee a smooth, seamless experience for everyone involved.
This is something that few virtual touring platforms get right. If you post a video on Youtube, you’ll be able to see the total number of views and maybe some other stats around how much of the video viewers watched on average, where they drop off etc., but that’s about it. It’s all rolled up, macro level data. You certainly don’t know who was watching that video or even how many times they watched it either. If you are really looking to get the right video leasing solution for your onsite team, you need to prioritize data. Video can be one of the most valuable tools for your team, but a lot of that value comes from the data that drives everything behind the scenes.
If you send a prospect 3 different videos of one bedroom floor plans without tracking on those videos, you’ll have no idea if that person actually watched any of the videos or not. And your only option for follow up is to call or email and ask if they were able to watch the videos and what they though of them. If you send those same 3 videos via a cloud-based video leasing platform like Realync with their proprietary tracking on all videos, you would actually get notifications in real-time informing you of exactly what video that exact prospect was watching, when, how many times, and more. Mirror that across the hundreds of leads and prospects that you are likely working with on a monthly basis and that data is invaluable for catering and customizing your follow up to know exactly which videos were watched, how many times, and where their interests lie before even clicking send.
Fair Housing Compliance
We’re even throwing in a 6th one for good measure – mostly because this is a big one. Probably the big one. All of the above are key features and very important to get right when looking for a virtual touring platform or video leasing solution, but if your live tours or pre-recorded videos are not Fair Housing compliant, then it can be all for naught and actually put your community at a lot of risk. Take FaceTime for example. If a leasing agent hosts a FaceTime tour for a prospective resident, as soon as that tour ends, it is gone and reliant on memory. There are no recordings of FaceTime tours saved to the cloud for later review. So if that prospect makes a claim that they were discriminated against on that FaceTime tour, there is no proof. It becomes their word versus yours. All of that can be avoided by simply having a live video touring solution that not only records all live tours and saves the recordings to the cloud, but also displays the Equal Housing / ADA logos and disclaimers throughout the tour. To learn more about Fair Housing and the implications with video, click here.
If you’re on the market for a virtual tour software or thinking about doing more with video (whether live or recorded), please do keep the above items in mind. Also, please do reach out to us. Not only would we love for Realync’s video leasing & engagement solution to be in the running and a key consideration for you, but this is literally our space. We are always here to help, answer questions, provide research, and want to make sure that, at the end of the day, you and your team are equipped with exactly what you need to deliver on the goals you are looking to achieve.
Until next time…keep it real!