The MassInteract Blog

apartment virtual tour

Millennials are Going for Sight-Unseen Leases in a Big Way: How an Apartment Virtual Tour Can Seal the Deal

Millennials today are moving more frequently than previous generations. With globalization, the internet, and the world coming closer together than ever before, this trend is here to stay. Millennials are moving both for higher-paying jobs, as well as for the rich experiences that staying in their hometown may not be able to deliver.

Having said that, it’s really hard to take time off work and go all the way to the city you’re moving to for apartment hunting. There’s far too much planning, scheduling, and effort involved — and most people just don’t have the time for that.

As a result, most people have to find a house in a matter of a few days once they move to a new city, and that can be really challenging. Instead of spending tons of money on a hotel, people are now choosing to lease and rent sight-unseen.

A few years ago this would have been unheard-of but technology has made this increasingly possible. Today, potential renters are okay with signing on that lease agreement on the basis of a high-quality, ultra-detailed apartment virtual tour. As long as the virtual tour gives them the feeling of having really seen the apartment in a complete, comprehensive way, they don’t mind signing the dotted line.

So if you’re targetting a sight-unseen lease — specifically for millennials and important businesspeople with little time on their hands — an apartment virtual tour is a must-have. Before you get that virtual tour up and running, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Make sure your apartment virtual tour is easy to access

What this means is that a potential renter shouldn’t have to search for the virtual tour, they should naturally gravitate towards it when scoping out the apartment. While the virtual tour is likely to be the clincher when it comes to a sight-unseen lease, you have to remember that renters are unlikely to search for a virtual tour. It’s more important that the virtual tour is a part of a seamless viewing experience. This means that you should display the virtual tour prominently  — whether that’s on the home page or on the listings page.

A lot of people look at a virtual tour as something that exists lower down the sales funnel. In other words, they try to use it to close the sale. While that is an important function of the tour, it’s just as important to have the prospects see the virtual tour when they’re casually browsing the listing. This way, they will have a much more in-depth idea about the apartment, so the leads that you get will be highly qualified. This saves a lot of effort and energy later on in the sales process.

Choose your virtual tour provider with care

There are many virtual tour software out there, some of which are even available for free. But if you want to get a professional-looking virtual tour (which is highly recommended when you want to close a sight-unseen lease), consider hiring a professional. Check their references, make sure they fit within your budget, and of course look at their portfolio of work. Preferably work with a provider that already does apartment virtual tours so that they know exactly what works.

Interactivity is important

What makes virtual tours different from videos is the interactive element. With virtual tours, users are expected to click on where they want to go, zoom in and out as they please, and even engage with the descriptions and information. You need to ensure that your virtual tour has a number of “hotspots”, with clickable icons and interesting copy, so that users are much more involved than with a regular video. What’s more, if your virtual tours are interactive, customers will stay on your website for longer. This is something that search engines take into account which will mean more traffic for you in the long run.

At the end of the day, if you expect someone to rent or lease an apartment without ever having seen it, then you need to give them a little bit extra. Renters today are willing to take that leap of faith— as long as they have extra information to bridge that trust gap. Virtual tours of apartments are the perfect fit.

Real Also: Real Estate Photography: Use the Right Visuals To Generate Buyers’ Interest

Hotel Virtual Tour Advantage

How a Hotel Virtual Tour Could Give Your Business a Huge Post-COVID Advantage

As we all know, this isn’t the best time for the hospitality business. There is uncertainty in many parts of the world, and it will be a while before long-distance travel goes back to where it used to be pre-Coronavirus.

Having said that, COVID-19 clearly has an end-time, as experiences in many countries, from China to New Zealand have shown. With the pandemic in full swing in many parts of the world, and travel has come to a halt, there are two ways to look at the situation. The first is to simply live this situation out amid a general environment of fear and panic. The second would be to actually take advantage of this free time to invest in marketing assets that will help you generate bookings as soon as things are up and running so that your business can find its feet faster.

As far as hotels go, whether it’s an opulent 5-star property or a boutique place, being able to showcase its beauty to prospective customers is the first priority. While high-resolution images were enough to do that up until a few years ago, today state-of-the-art hotel virtual tours are a must on your website. Here’s why virtual tours for hotels have become so popular in the last few years:

First impressions are important

Think about it from the point of view of a prospective customer. Would you rather book a room in a hotel that has some standard, poorly-lit photos? Or a hotel where you can see a 360 virtual tour of the entire property— from the room and the bathroom to the lobby, the breakfast buffet, and the sprawling grounds. A virtual tour is an easy way to make an incredible first impression and get that online booking.

Build credibility

A Google Street View virtual tour means that you’re showing your property with an incredible level of detail. With a regular website and photos, it’s easy to use clever angles to hide or emphasize some parts of the property. And customers are now aware of this. So when you create a hotel virtual tour, you’re creating a level of transparency that is rare in the business, and that will make customers trust you instinctively.

More control over the viewing experience

Every customer wants something different when they look at a property online. A customer might be looking for the perfect family vacation, another for a honeymoon, and yet another for a business conference. A comprehensive hotel virtual tour allows prospective customers to customize the viewing experience for themselves. They can zoom in and out of areas that they are more interested in, go through the information given in the hotspots, and pan left, right, up and down to get a better view.

Searchability

Having a virtual tour on your website gives you an immediate edge over the competition. The Google Street View 360 tour will automatically help you when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Having a virtual tour is also one more step in completing your Google Business profile, and a completed profile also makes your hotel more searchable. Having your business consistently rank high during Google searches is a big advantage of having a virtual tour.

 Likely to get organic shares

A good hotel virtual tour has high entertainment value. People love to browse through these tours and do some vicarious traveling. Even if someone is not booking your hotel immediately, chances are that they will enjoy the tour so much that they will share it with friends on their social media. This will immediately give you organic reach among your target audience.

It’s understandable that you’re going through a period of turmoil and uncertainty. But the best way to make the most of this time is to have a long-term view of your business and to invest in relatively reasonable marketing assets that will last you in the long run. Hotel virtual tours are the best way to do this. Not only are they relatively easy to create, but they will also give you an immediate competitive edge as the hospitality industry starts getting back on track.

Does Your Business Need Google Street View? The Pro & Cons of Google Street View

In today’s world, a virtual tour is one of the most impactful and cost-effective marketing assets you can have. It allows prospective customers an immersive, in-depth view of your business which builds an incredible amount of trust and credibility while they’re evaluating whether to purchase your product or service.

This means that it’s important to offer potential customers the chance to take a virtual tour of your business. In fact, research says that businesses that have virtual tours have complete search listings and are 29% more likely to motivate a purchase.   Luckily, Google itself has all the tools you need to build that virtual tour.

What exactly is Google Street view?

It’s simple enough. Street View is a compilation of all the 360-degree panoramic photos that are used in Google Maps so that users can better understand the area/business that they are searching. These photos aren’t just the ones that have been uploaded by Google. Businesses can also click these panoramic photos and submit them to be uploaded and become a part of Google Street View.

Taken together, these panoramic photos provide a kind of virtual tour that helps customers understand your business better. In fact, businesses that have this 360-degree Street View as part of their listing are likely to get double the interest from potential customers.

Advantages of Google Street View

Google Street View can have a transformative impact when it comes to marketing your business more effectively. Here are some of its major advantages:

Build transparency and credibility

In a world where so many purchase decisions are made online, customers are looking for an experience that brings transparency and credibility. A Street View of Google virtual tour shows customers what your business is all about, taking them through all the little nooks and crannies. It’s a great way for customers to be able to put a vivid image to your business. It shows them you are happy to be upfront and let them into your inner space.

Helps in the purchase decision

Whether it’s an apartment that a prospective renter is looking at or a store that they want to visit, having a virtual tour helps them make that important decision. Getting an in-depth view of the physical location helps prospective customers decide whether they want to continue going through the sales funnel. What’s more, the people who do end up visiting the hotel/apartment/store are likely to be those who are extremely interested in the actual purchase, since they already have a good idea about the product.

Zero in on your target audience

Let’s say you’re a sports bar that caters specifically to Premier League fans. Having a virtual tour that shows off your Premier League Decor or showcases the live matches on your massive screen will go a long way in attracting local football fans to your bar.

Easy to share

A great Google Street View virtual tour provides an engaging, immersive experience. This lends itself to sharing in a big way. Let’s say you have a high-street fashion store that a bunch of customers just visited and found some great clothes. They would share the Street View with their friends so that others can also see what the store looks like and be tempted to go there. Or let’s say someone is planning their next travel and goes through a virtual tour of your hotel property. They might get so impressed that they share the tour on their social media so that more people in your target audience also get to see the Street View tour.

Cons of Google Street View

On the flip side, there are some concerns around privacy, over-sharing, and limited accuracy when it comes to Google Street View.

Having said that, the pros far outweigh the cons. Google Street View is slowly reaching maturity and businesses that adopt this technology and actively contribute to their virtual tours automatically have a strong competitive edge.

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