The standard apartment tour has certainly been through a transformation over the last decade. Things have changed and evolved as the needs of the multifamily industry’s prospective residents have changed and evolved. We’ve seen the tried and true in-person tour change to virtual and certain types of virtual tours be dethroned by the live tour. And things will continue to change – which can seem daunting. But, we are here to help and give you a few things you can focus on now so you’re set up for success later on.
As we enter a new decade with 2020, let’s take a look at how apartment tours have changed and what we can see coming in the future.
Let Go of 360, Virtual Reality, and 3D Apartment Tours
At the top of the decade, these types of tours were all the rage. They were new, innovative, and definitely shook up the apartment tour concept. However, as the years went on, and even as the technology improved, the cons of these types of tours became apparent. They were static and didn’t show the full picture. They just weren’t enough as the needs of prospective residents looking for apartments changed. Tours like these also only worked in the marketing phase of the process. They didn’t help with continued engagement with a prospective resident throughout the leasing process and through the resident journey.
The Value of Authenticity
It doesn’t matter the type of apartment home that a prospective resident may be considering. From tiny apartment living to college apartment tours, today’s prospective residents value authenticity above all else. That’s something that was true at the start of the decade, is true now, and will remain a steadfast truth. Today’s prospective residents want to see the real thing – not a morphed, photoshopped, or fabricated version of the truth. That’s why live tours have come in to play in a big way. Showing people exactly what they are getting is key to establishing trust early on in the leasing process. Live tours allow prospects to ask any and all apartment tour questions in the moment, as well as see what’s most important to them in a new home. That trust will ultimately become the foundation for future engagement and long-term stability with residents.
Consider Site Unseen Leasing
Another area to consider and reshape your mindset around when it comes to apartment tour ideas is the concept of site unseen leasing (or also written “sight unseen”). Many of today’s prospective residents are looking to tour, and ultimately sign a lease, quickly, easily, and on their own time. Increasingly, that means without ever setting foot in the apartment or on the community until moving day. According to NMHC’s Kingsley Report, 16% of prospective renters no longer want to visit the property at all prior to leasing. For some, it’s a geographic issue – they physically can’t get there. For others, it’s simply a convenience thing. Regardless, before they sign, they need to make sure the apartment meets their apartment requirements checklist and all of their needs. That apartment checklist can include specifics around kitchen space or even lighting or outdoor space. So be prepared to meet these prospects where they are and provide touring options that meet their very real needs.
Include Full Community Views
Another important idea to keep in mind is that the entire tour is more than just the apartment. While those four walls are important and people want to focus on their specific unit that they may be living in, you are selling so much more than just their apartment unit. The community spaces and the general neighborhood vibe are equally important factors in the decision-making process and ones that can sometimes take a back seat in the touring process. Make sure to include spaces like the gym and the lobby on your video apartment tour checklist and don’t skimp on those important factors. Also consider taking a quick walk around the neighborhood and capture it on video. Showcase your property’s location and all of the cool shops or peaceful community surrounding it.
Pay Attention to Trends
Many of today’s residents are turning to more minimalist lifestyles. Not everyone is looking for bigger or better. So, if you have a small apartment design, make sure your small apartment tour or minimalist apartment tour pops. Show special space saving techniques of how current residents are making the most of their 350 sq ft apartment. This is another place where going outside the unit itself and showing the community spaces and neighborhood can be the thing that takes them from tour to signed lease in a snap. The same can be considered with things like co-working spaces or podcast booths in your community. Focus on what’s hot and what would get someone excited about your building.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
Speaking of paying attention to trends, mobile is a trend that won’t be ignored. As mobile device technology grows, so does our use of it. It’s becoming the main mode of communication, from texting to social media and video viewing. Whether it is a simple college apartment room tour or a minimalist apartment tour, mobile is the way to go. It is also the easiest way to quickly record, upload, and share apartment tours. From being able to pull a smartphone out of your pocket and lead a live tour to filming a special event for the community Facebook page, mobile allows access from the palm of anyone’s hand. This is particularly important when considering your apartment tour content — are they mobile ready, device agnostic, and don’t require a download or sign-in to view? All critical factors for your mobile-first touring.
Apartment tours have and will continue to change and evolve with technology. It’s fun to look back on all that changed in the 2010s, but even more exciting to think about all that’s ahead in the 2020s. One thing you can depend on is prospective residents desiring authenticity, personalization, and trust in their apartment tours and throughout the leasing process. Finding a home will always be a process that leans into and demands trust and transparency above all else. So make sure that you are equipped to deliver that and more to ensure your long-term apartment touring success.
If you’re looking to get real with your apartment tours, consider video leasing. If you have questions about getting started with Realync’s video leasing solution, messages firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Until next time…keep it real!