The Realync team gets asked a lot about the difference between a “video tour” and a “virtual tour.” Some people feel they are the same, while others see a separation between a “video tour” and a “virtual tour.” In multifamily, there are multiple types of online tours like virtual tours, live video tours, 3D tours, pre-recorded video tours, and 360 virtual tours. At Realync, we delineate “video tours” and “virtual tours” and believe there is a place for both in every multifamily marketing plan and leasing strategy.

This article explains the difference between a “video tour” and a “virtual tour.” If you want a full-definition bank of all types of online tour terms, check it out here. Below I’ve added a few different products on the market that offer video tours or virtual tours to help you understand the differences.

What Is a Virtual Tour?

At Realync, my team and I ran an exercise internally. We asked, “How do you define a virtual tour versus a video tour?” Here’s a look at a few of the responses:

  • When I worked on-site, prospects usually requested a video tour when they wanted a pre-recorded video or live tour of a specific home. They’d sometimes even say they saw the virtual tour online, referencing a 3D tour, but they’d like to see more through a video tour.
  • I usually see “virtual tours” referenced on websites with 3D/360 renderings like Matterport, Peek, and LCP Media. “Video tour” signals pre-recorded video to me.
  • I saw a definition that said “virtual” does not physically exist but is made by software to appear to do so.

And, lastly, my personal favorite:

  • With a virtual tour, I get dizzy spinning around because I can’t control my mouse, like when I tried playing Call of Duty, but I was shooting into the clouds like crazy. With a video tour, I sit back and enjoy the ride while someone else drives.

What is the Difference Between a Video Tour and a Virtual Tour In Multifamily?

To us, a “video tour” allows prospects to see actual units or amenities through pre-recorded video experiences such as YouTube videos or TikToks (these are pre-made videos before you hit “post”). Or, a video tour can be a live streaming experience like FaceTime or Zoom. In other words, video tours are an up-close, personal, and a real look into a property’s space, not 3D or 360 virtual tours. Below are a few video tour solutions:

  • Realync
  • Peek
  • Zoom
  • TikTok
  • FaceTime

To us, a “virtual tour” allows prospects to pan a unit’s ideal space or layout in full 360 degrees. Virtual tours can be composed of a sequence of videos or still images, too. Below are a few virtual tour solutions:

  • Matterport
  • LCP Media
  • Ricoh360

However, there is one other definition for “virtual tours” we recognize at Realync. “Virtual Tour” is a term for many different forms of media that allow a prospect to tour a space virtually. In other words, it’s ALL virtual. In Kristi Fickert’s poll, this definition is how some multifamily professionals understand “virtual tour”. So, you could think of “virtual tour” as an umbrella term with categories of online tours underneath it like live touring, 360 tours, and on-demand tours.

Are Virtual Tours Worth It or Video Tours?

The simple answer is yes! There’s a place for multi-media online touring, whether 360 virtual tours and video tours or live video tours and 3D tours. Today’s renters want to consume different types of media — not just one type. At Realync, we believe the more touring options you offer to prospects, the more content they’ll consume for your property, then the more you’ll stand out from your competition.

For example, a prospective renter could view a 360 tour. Because of that tour, it encourages the prospect to ask for more personalized video content of a layout or unit. Then, they could request an in-person tour and eventually sign on the dotted line after you follow up with a pre-recorded unit video that the prospect liked in person.

In-person tours aren’t going away, nor are people who are moving from out of town or like touring from the comfort of their homes. So, the more touring options you provide a prospect, the better chance you’ll have to lease units.

Give Video Tours a Try Now

Realync is a multifamily video tool that unlocks authentic experiences across the entire renter lifecycle. Realync’s all-in-one video solution enables multifamily teams to create memorable experiences, lease efficiently, and communicate effectively with current and prospective renters. Learn more about how video tours can help you win more leases!