When picking a new apartment, most prospective residents would have told you that a virtual apartment tour was a nice to have if available. And, up until a few months ago, that would have been the prevailing sentiment. Enter a global pandemic and that all changed.
Overnight leasing centers shuttered due to COVID-19 quarantine orders and leasing teams were left scrambling to find ways to continue meeting consumer demand for seeing their communities. This overnight rise in virtual leasing left many leasing teams questioning how to deliver apartment tours for prospects in a safe, yet personalized and transparent way in order to continue getting leases signed. That need for personal connection and a catered experience left the guided apartment tours of the past in the dust and scrappy leasing agents quickly finding ways to use apartment videos and live video tours to click off a prospect’s apartment tour checklist. Luckily, virtual apartment tour platforms, like Realync, were already well established in the industry and leasing teams are more comfortable with going virtual. Even so, there are some best practices and tips that you can focus on to make this virtual leasing format work for you and your team amidst the unknown future that is before us.
Knowing how to give an apartment tour during the era of COVID-19 and social distancing is a must, but it’s these best practices learned today that likely will be here to stay moving forward as well. Here are 3 ways that you can make virtual leasing your highest converting and most efficient way to lease:
Sharing Pre-Recorded Videos
Offering prospective residents a pre-recorded video tour is a great way for them to preview a space. These videos can be unit or amenity specific as part of a first-look apartment tour. For example, if you’ve just updated units, show off the new modern apartment decor in those units. Or, give a studio apartment tour with some small apartment ideas for space saving.
You could also do a quick walk through of community areas, the pool or the gym, to give a full picture of the property along with the surround area. With Realync, leasing teams can create a fully curated playlist of those pre-recorded videos to send to prospective residents that showcases all that your community has to offer in one simple (tracked) link. Show the modern apartment tour, show the surrounding neighborhood and coffee shops, introduce your team, provide resident testimonials, and more! These videos are the perfect way to highlight what it could be like living at your community, but in a quick, real, raw, transparent way.
One of the best things about doing DIY apartment videos on your own via a built-for-multifamily video leasing solution? Your team can personalize those videos with just a few clicks before sending the videos off to a prospect. You can add a video voiceover to call the prospect out by name and mention something you know they care a lot about. You can also curate the playlist to highlight the key features of the community that you know are most important to them. With a few extra touches, this level of leasing follow up will instantly make your team and community stand out amongst the crowd of comps and showcase that you’re listening and that you care.
The best part? Video leasing platforms, like Realync, offer full tracking, data, and analytics on your pre-recorded video activities as well. Know which prospect is watching what video, when, and how many times they view each video. This allows you to see how they are (or aren’t) engaging with the content you’ve sent them and, if you send a playlist of available units, even see just how interested they are in one unit or floor plan versus another. Or if the gym captured their interest more than the pool. Having this level of insight allows you to customize the virtual leasing and virtual tour experience even more – all while keeping the prospect and your team safe.
Live Video Tours
Live apartment video tours are the next logical step in the customized apartment tour videos experience. While pre-recorded videos are incredibly valuable for helping a prospect get an idea of and feel for your community, the human-element is still an ever important factor in the leasing process. So connecting live with a prospect to answer their questions, build the relationship, and walk them through your community in real-time is the perfect way to dive deeper with a prospect and help push them from lead to lease through the process. All the while, hosting live video tours is helping to minimize physical traffic in and out of the community as well. Using the Realync platform, leasing agents are able to take their prospect on a safer version of an in-person tour and provide the same level of impact and touring transparency. The prospect still gets to see, in a real, authentic way, the space they are most interested in. They can ask questions and get them answered in real-time and, while it’s not a true face-to-face experience, it’s a pretty close replication.
However, during a social distance or shelter-in-place situation, maybe you or your leasing team isn’t able to get to the property. There’s an answer for that too. With Realync, you can pull up a pre-recorded video to watch together with the prospect in real-time. This means walking a prospect through a video of an apartment while offering specific commentary, building the relationship, and answering their questions as well. If you’re a leasing agent working from home, these live video sessions are the absolute most impactful way to still establish a connection with a prospect and ‘tour’ your community with them.
During these live video tours and live video sessions, leasing agents can even pull up an area map and highlight schools, parks, and nearby amenities, as well as drop pins to measure walking and driving distances from work or school as well. While FaceTime or Zoom or live streaming platforms that suffice for communication, they are not purpose-built multifamily leasing technologies. They are not integrated into your lead management system. They are not Fair Housing compliant. They don’t offer multifamily catered tools and technologies during the tours. And so much more. If your team is serious about making virtual leasing an offering that sticks, caters to the client, and converts leads to leases, you need to look at the platform and technology that will deliver top notch results for your team both now and in the future.
During COVID-19 restrictions, leasing teams have, as we’ve said, pivoted. One way is by allowing in-person tours, but without interaction with the leasing teams. These self-guided tours mean prospects can enter the property, in areas where that’s a possibility, and tour the property alone.
Now, there are plenty of potential issues in terms of security, but most teams predominantly have appropriate protocols in place if they go this route allowing them to easily capture contact information in advance and provide signage throughout the tour path experience. However efficient these tours might be, they are leaving out the human element entirely though. Here’s where a seamless integration between your self guided tour offering and the Realync virtual leasing platform can quickly turn these human-less experiences into prime virtual leasing opportunities.
Those signs we mentioned being on the tour path? Include QR codes on the signage that prospects can scan throughout the tour. Those QR codes can take them directly to pre-recorded Realync videos that feature a leasing agent highlighting a particular feature or amenity. These videos are the perfect way for your team to still provide a voice and human touch throughout your self guided tour experience even without the human physically there.
For example, on a small apartment tour, the QR code can link to an agent discussing how to maximize space in a small apartment. Or if the sign is in front of a community feature or amenity, the video can be of an agent or current resident talking about how they use it. The possibilities are endless!
And because your videos are tracked, you can even get notifications telling you which video the prospect on that self-guided tour is watching, thus informing you where they are on the tour path.
COVID-19 and social distancing have added an interesting and challenging component to the apartment leasing and touring area of property management. But, as you can see, it’s nothing that, with the right technology and partner, your leasing team can’t overcome and thrive with. If you’d like to learn more about how your team can get set up on different apartment tour options and virtual leasing technologies, let us know! Realync is the industry leader in virtual leasing and our team is here to help.
Until next time…keep it real!