Multifamily Properties Discuss Virtual Apartment Tours in Happy Hour Chat
Seeing someone smile and laugh while sharing stories through virtual chats helps to keep the human connection alive during lockdown. As the multifamily apartment industry finds new ways to do business and connect with rental prospects, we wanted to check in to see how everyone is holding up. Through a virtual happy hour, we chatted with some industry peers and learned about virtual apartment tours.
Joined by our partners at Realync, CEO and co-founder Matt Weirich and Director of Marketing Robyn Tyner, we were able to catch up with approximately 20 individuals in the multifamily community, including marketing managers, directors and VPs; operation VPs; property managers; and leasing consultants.
We discovered the multifamily industry has learned a lot about the new way of leasing and have had to pivot. Many are seeing success, some have faced challenges and everyone was happy to share their stories. If you couldn’t attend our happy hour, here are a few takeaways from our chat.
Even though most in-person tours have stopped, video tours build trust from prospects and it gives them more insight on apartment communities without ever having to leave their living rooms. Communities have the ability to use their websites to offer multiple tour options, allowing people to schedule a video chat or tour at the click of a button. Prospects can see their future home through video and ask leasing consultants questions in real time or afterward through text, call or email.
Virtual apartment tours are a way to let your personality shine through, however, starting a video tour can be intimidating. Weirich says people are learning quickly that while you can be your own worst critic, get over the fear of being on video. His advice: be yourself and you’ll make a connection.
For live tours, he recommends showing yourself first to put a face to a name, but then flipping the camera to show off the property and narrate the elements of a floor plan, room features or community offerings.
Over the past few weeks, Weirich says he’s hearing a lot of awesome stories from properties about how they were nervous or scared to be on video initially. Now that they’re seeing success and signing leases, however, he says they’re celebrating and excited to do more virtual tours.
Everyone at the virtual happy hour weighed in on their advice for virtual tours. Here were some of the best tips that any property can leverage:
- Visualize the path you want to share with the rental prospect
- Be intentional with what you show on video (show amenities they’re interested in — granite countertops was a big discussion)
- Walk slowly — slower than you normally would. Don’t give people vertigo!
- Be consistent in videos about whether you show your Fair Housing and ADA compliant logos or not. Don’t only do it sometimes and not others.
- Clean the path and pick up any trash before you do the video tour.
- Close the toilet lid! (This was echoed loud and clear by everyone in attendance)
- Open the blinds to let natural light in.
- Make sure the light is behind you when you do the video so people can see you.
- End on an outdoor shot.
Overall, practice makes perfect. Require everyone on your team to do some test videos to help them become more comfortable and natural on video.
Make sure your team uses an app to test the speed of the wifi beforehand in different areas of the community they plan to show in the video to avoid lag times. Best speeds for good quality video should be around 5 to 8 Mbps. If you start your tour at the leasing office and are on wifi, Weirich recommends staying on wifi, but if you’re using LTE Mobile Data, stay on LTE during the tour to also avoid lag times.
Some communities have decided to only do pre-recorded videos, rather than live videos, using only community smart phones or iPads. It’s up to each property whether they choose to do live property videos, but as one attendee mentioned, you have to protect your employees, first and foremost, and not allow them to use personal devices to do virtual tours.
Consider apartment rental prospects when you set up a virtual tour as well. Some might not be as knowledgeable about using technology. Discuss with them what they typically use. Are they comfortable with FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or some other platform? Walk them through the steps they need to take so they can connect with you.
As the multifamily industry adapts to new changes, everyone agreed that virtual apartment tours will be a new reality even when people can do in-person tours again. We’re a society that likes to do our own research online and who likes convenience. Tours are resulting in leases for properties leveraging the technology, and they recommend taking the next steps to do video tours if you haven’t already.
- Realync’s Live Video Apartment Tour Checklist
- PERQ’s Digital Leasing Guide
- The Bridge Podcast: Using Virtual Apartment Tours to Get More Leases