Now more than ever, meeting prospective residents where they’re at in the leasing cycle, with the tools and flexibility they demand, can be the difference between another window shopper and a new resident. Why risk a missed opportunity? With a live virtual tour, you can ensure that no matter the time or the place, that first interaction with your prospective resident is as real and personal as an in-person consultation.

Live video technology really isn’t as scary as our minds perceive it to be and innovation has made it possible for all of us to take advantage of it in minutes. All it takes is a smartphone or tablet, a little bit of practice, and some tips and tricks from the Realync team to get off and running. Below we dive into the do’s, the don’ts, and everything in between that you’ll want to know when hosting a live tour.

What is a live video tour?

A live video tour is when a leasing agent uses the Realync video leasing solution to connect in real time both visually and audibly with their prospect to walk through their community. These live tours have the freedom to move around the property and tour through the amenity spaces, and show the exact floor plans and units that the prospective resident is interested in and are relevant to them.

Why is a live tour beneficial?

Countless reasons. It could be that a prospective resident can’t physically come and tour the property in person. It might be because they currently live in an area that’s too far of a distance for them to drive or fly to tour. It might be that they live really close to the property, but their schedule doesn’t allow them to tour during open office hours. Or it could even be that they just don’t want to visit the property in person prior to leasing. So whether it’s time, distance, or just personal preference, a live video tour is flexible enough to allow any leasing agent to connect with their leads on a lunch break or really whenever could work best for them.

The benefits go beyond convenience though. Realync live video tours are device-agnostic, which means your prospects can seamlessly connect to the tour from any device. And even though these tours are live, they’re also saved and recorded to the cloud. So should there be a roommate or family member that couldn’t join the tour, it’s easy to instantly share the recording with any key decision maker to bring that personalized tour to them as well.

What is the difference between private and public tours?

One thing that you’ll notice when scheduling live tours on the Realync video leasing solution is that we offer both private and public video tours. What are the differences?

A private tour is specific to just the prospect(s) that you invite to it, and any friends, family, roommates that they want to include in that private tour experience. The only people that will join the private tour are the ones that you directly invite to it via email. While on the tour, everyone can see the other participants on the tour with them, everyone’s microphones are enabled, and it’s truly meant for people that are in the same group that want to see your space together.

A public tour can be used for a virtual open house experience. It might be used for a “Walk me Wednesday” where you invite any of your prospects to join you for a public tour where you’re going to showcase the amenities that day. Or could be used as a “Virtual Hard Hat Tour” for your lead list during pre-leasing of a new construction property. A public tour could also be used for walking brokers or apartment finders through your property all at one time. There are three big differences with public tours:

  1. When scheduling a public tour, you set the date and time, then Realync generates an invitation link that you can then post and share for people to actively RSVP to.
  2. On the public tour, all of the attendees are anonymous to each other, so that noone knows who else is on that tour with them.
  3. While on the public tour, all attendee microphones are defaulted to off. The only microphone enabled during public tours is the host, keeping the tour clean, polished, and professional.

Live Tour vs. Live Session?

Another thing that you’ll notice in the Realync video leasing platform is that we offer two different types of live tour experiences: the live tour and the live session. What makes these different?

A live tour is the experience where a leasing agent hosts a live video tour from their iPad or iPhone and physically walks around the property to showcase it for the client. Live tours allow tour attendees to view what you are sharing in real-time and converse with the host, while also viewing an interactive map of the area, taking photos, capturing notes, and more. And the entire tour experience is recorded for viewing after it’s complete.

Live sessions on Realync combine the power of Realync pre-recorded videos with the personalization and interaction with a leasing agent, but instead of being hosted from a smartphone, these experiences are hosted right from their computer. The benefits of hosting a live session are multiple. Live sessions cut down any connection issues an agent might have with their iPhone or iPad while walking the community should an area not have strong cellular service or wifi. Live sessions also help to ‘walk’ prospects through units that may still be under construction, or are occupied, by reviewing videos that were previously recorded. The ultimate power of the live session is in allowing the leasing agent to have a face-to-face conversation with a prospect and be able to tour and experience their community without having to leave their desk, or even be onsite! That prospect still gets a personal experience and immediate gratification to get all the questions answered they have about the property or the unit in order to keep the process moving.

What advice do you have for someone who is hesitant to host a live video tour?

Even in this day and age when we have a lot of people who are on social media and actively doing Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, we definitely still see some of that hesitancy to hop on a live video stream. Whether that’s because of shyness on camera, feeling like they don’t have time, or scared of the wifi or LTE dropping, the fears are real.

The first thing that we want to remind everyone is that our industry still pushes super hard to have prospects come in and tour, and when those prospects walk through that door, they are going to see you, hear you and interact with you. This is truly no different being online and connecting with a prospect versus having someone walking through that front door. You are going to meet at some point and you don’t get to hide behind anything in person then, so just embrace it and treat it similarly how you would with someone walking through your front door.

If your fear is about the quality of the live stream, our biggest recommendation is to practice! The Realync platform allows users to host as many live tours as they want or need, so take all the time needed to walk the tour path, the unit, the amenities, and try it out first. Realync also has a built-in signal strength test you can run at various points throughout your community to test the quality and strength of your wifi or LTE to ensure the highest quality stream possible. Practice makes perfect!

At the end of the day, one of the biggest keys to success with live video tours for your apartment community is simply to start offering them. As soon as someone calls in and you identify they aren’t able to come in for a tour quickly, offer a live tour instead. The prospective resident does not have to download Realync, sign up, or sign in. They simply click the link they receive when you schedule the tour and they are instantly in the live tour with you from whatever device on their web browser they have. Prospects likely will not think to ask for a video tour of the property and will take whatever you offer to them. So, step out and offer live tours. By doing so, you’ll be sure to get to that application faster. Remember, offering live tours frequently will get you to lease application quicker. It’s not up to us to decide what someone can or can’t do, or what they do or don’t want. It’s up to us to offer the opportunity.

Live Video Tour Checklist

Step 1: Visualize the Tour Path

  • Do you want to start your live tour from the leasing office then proceed to show them the clubhouse, outdoor amenities, and then on to the unit(s)? Or do you want to start the live tour from the unit itself? These are key considerations to think through first to ensure a smooth, cohesive tour experience.
  • Know how you plan to walk through the unit, what you will focus on and showcase, and how much time you’ll spend in each general area in order to keep the tour flowing.
  • Be mindful of the time you scheduled for the tour. Run through your agenda for the tour so you aren’t rushing at the end.

Step 2: Walk the Tour Path and Prep the Area

  • Are the spaces clean (just as they would be for an in-person tour)?
  • Are the lights on, toilet seats down, relevant doors open, and blinds adjusted?

Pro Tip: Depending on the weather or the time of year, you might want to have blinds tilted up or down to manage light flare. Don’t close them all the way though as you want natural light coming in to best capture the space. Any relevant doors you want open, go ahead and open them prior to starting the tour and prop them open if they self-close so that you’re not struggling to hold the device and open the door at the same time.

Step 3: Start the Tour

  • Have Realync? Perfect! You’re off to a great start!
  • Whether you want to or not, turn the camera to selfie mode at the beginning of the tour and greet the prospect. Introduce yourself and what you’re going to show them. Let them know that the tour is going to be recorded and sent to them after the tour is completed.
  • Walk Slowly (But not TOO slowly!) You want to make sure the person on the other end is having a really great viewing experience and can see all they want / need to see!
  • Encourage everyone to dive in and use the map feature. Don’t just highlight the property, but location, location, location. Because that is still what people are buying for!

Pro Tip: Go in and preset pins on the map before the tour to highlight perk partners, hospitals, parks, schools, coffee shops, etc. that you know your prospects are interested in.

Step 4: End the Tour

  • After you have shown them the space, turn the camera to selfie mode again to thank them for joining the tour, answer any remaining questions, and communicate the next steps.
  • Make sure to click the “end” button. Our system automatically sends the tour to them once completed.

Step 5: Follow Up Immediately After the Tour

  • Follow up to ensure your tour attendees received the video recording via email. The email will have the property name, but will be sent from the Realync system. Make sure it doesn’t end up in their promotions folder or somewhere else.
  • If you didn’t go through all of your amenity spaces during the live tour or weren’t able to tour each floor plan of interest, make sure to send your community overview videos and unit videos after the tour.
  • Congratulate yourself for a job well done! That was easier than you thought, right?

Pro Tip: All live tours are automatically saved. So the prospect can go back and re-watch, share with friends, and remind them of questions that were asked.

Are you ready to get real and download this checklist for yourself? Click here!