This time last year, almost down to the day, our world shifted into a reality we are still living in. Being socially distant, quarantining to keep others and ourselves safe, and not visiting people or businesses in person became normal. In that time, video started to consume everyone’s lives.
Matt Weirich, CEO and Co-Fouder of Realync, a DIY video touring platform, sat down with PERQ’s EVP of Marketing, Muhammad Yasin, to take a look back at how virtual touring quickly became a go-to solution for multifamily communities and how to keep it relevant after the pandemic.
Create Meaningful Content
A large part of how the Realync team was able to scale their video solution so quickly during a critical time was their approach on authenticity.
Matt says “The biggest thing about fostering the feeling of ‘home’ is keeping it authentic.” Keeping a real and honest tone to videos allowed leasing teams to adapt and take the pressure off of shooting a production quality video.
One of the biggest takeaways of the conversation was “humanize the experience.” Don’t be afraid to use the prospect’s name in the video or call out specific details about the unit you know the prospect is searching for. At the end of the day, the unit you are showing them is going to be their home. The video should make them feel as such.
Once you are comfortable shooting the videos, you should think about how to take them to the next level. Following guidelines such as
- Using a video stabilizer when possible
- Stand and Pan! (Don’t walk and shoot at the same time)
- Always try to shoot facing away from a window to allow natural light into the room
- Being cohesive and showing a natural flow when editing
- When in doubt, pre-recorded videos are your best friends
Video as a Multi-Channel Tool
Matt also mentioned how video can be used as a multi-channel tool instead of just for leasing teams.
Some examples of this is having your on-site team shoot and send a welcome video to new residents. Include where amenities are located, leasing office hours or simply an introduction of the team.
Maintenance teams can jump into video as well, providing examples of how to submit for maintenance requests or simple do’s and don’ts of when to call for maintenance help.
The most important thing to remember when using video as a multi-channel solution is know where and how to post your videos. If you are calling out a prospect’s name or any personal information in the video, that should be shared directly with that prospect and that prospect only. If your video is broad and shows off a unit, the amenities or members of the team, those can and should be shared anywhere prospects can view content (ex social media, YouTube, property website)
The Future of Video Tours
When asked about the future of video tours, Matt provided some great insight. He shared some words one of his Realync clients mentioned to him “It’s not up to me as a leasing agent to decide what the prospect does or does not want to see, it’s up to me to provide the opportunity.”
The biggest takeaway is many people have become accustomed to doing things virtually. Video is not going anywhere and it is up to multifamily teams to continue giving video tours as an option for their prospective renters.
Connect With Us
In this final episode of season two of The Bridge, we will take a trip down memory lane and pull the most important takeaways of each episode to help you take the next steps in your selling journey.
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This season has been nothing short of unexpected twists and turns as we figured out how to weather the pandemic. What started off as in-person recordings, quickly pivoted to Skype calls for the majority of our guests. What a blessing in disguise that was as we were able to meet and connect with so many amazing people. Thank you for sticking with us!
It was our goal this season to focus on sales and connect you with individuals who could provide insight on how to connect with shoppers online and transition the conversation and ultimately the sale, at an onsite physical location. We learned how to enhance the buying experience and with all of the world changes, pivot to a more virtual consultation and tour setting.
We hope you enjoyed listening to season two and we can’t wait to bring you more laughs, conversations, and insight in season 3. Happy podcasting!
Listen to the full recap episode here.
Listen to an Episode
Using Virtual Tours in Your Multifamily Community
Learning to Leverage Digital Sales Leads
Transforming your Team with Digital Sales Training
Personalizing the Customer Experience with a Sense of Urgency
The New Reality of Virtual Apartment Tours
Bridging the Gap Between Online Acquisition and Onsite Conversion
Success Goes Beyond Data
Learning Sales Enablement Without a Playbook
Connect with the Guests
Episode 1: Matt Weirich, Jordan Easley, Realync
Episode 2: David Kain, Kain Automotive
Episode 3: Bryan Scott, Big Sandy Superstore
Episode 4: Desiree White, Colin Cloud, NE Property Management
Episode 5: Jenna Miller: Bozzuto, Margaret Henney: Covideo, Matt Weirich: Realync
Episode 6: Robert Lee, Hy.ly
Episode 7: Ellisa Fink
Episode 8: Irina Soriano, Seismic
[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]The way multifamily communities connect with residents and prospective renters has changed within just a few short weeks. Virtual property tours have become a new way to lease.
In this special bonus episode of The Bridge Podcast, Muhammad Yasin hosts a panel discussion with video experts and multifamily industry leaders to discuss how the industry has adapted to virtual leasing since lockdown.
Jenna Miller, Senior Director of Marketing at Bozzuto; Margaret Henney, Director of Marketing with Covideo; and Matt Weirich, CEO and co-founder of Realync chat about video best practices and what property management teams can do to pivot to virtual property tours to get more leases.
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The panel all agreed that with social distancing, leasing teams are learning to be more creative, throwing out fears and connecting with rental prospects on a personal level. Miller noted that leaning into virtual leasing, such as pre-recorded or live video tours, has helped their properties see the same number of leases they were getting before COVID-19.
Listen in as property management professionals and video experts share authentic ways to connect with prospects on this episode of The Bridge.
The Bridge Season 2 is available wherever you get your podcasts including, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast and Spotify. You can see all of the episodes, on your podcast app of choice, by visiting this link.
Connect with the Virtual Property Tours Panel
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]
Additional Multifamily Resources
[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]With several weeks under their belts, property management teams have had to pivot, using video and virtual leasing to get more tours. To discuss how the industry has adapted and changed, PERQ hosted a panel discussion with Jenna Miller, Senior Director of Marketing at Bozzuto; Margaret Henney, Director of Marketing with Covideo; and Matt Weirich, CEO and co-founder of Realync.
The panel all agreed that with social distancing, leasing teams are learning to be more creative, throwing out fears and connecting with rental prospects on a personal level. While there is still a place for those sexy, polished marketing videos, authentic real-time or pre-recorded videos with leasing teams are the new reality and creating the most connection with renters.
Those authentic virtual tours are even resulting in leases for apartment communities. Miller noted while the first few weeks during the pandemic were slow, their teams at Bozzuto are seeing the same number of leases they were getting before COVID-19 occurred thanks to video.
When polled during the panel discussion, 80 percent of attendees (approximately 100 respondents) say they had NOT used video as a primary tool for apartment tours prior to the pandemic. Out of those same respondents when asked which of the following tour options they leverage today, 83% say they are using live video tours, 91% do pre-recorded videos, 46% are using self-guided tours and 22% are doing in-person tours.
Clearly, the way multifamily communities connect with residents and prospects has changed within just a few weeks. However, panelists agree that by being nimble, creating a virtual tour strategy unique for your team, and keeping it fun, you’ll create a better sense of community within your property and stand out from the crowd.
Panelists Offer Tips on Virtual Apartment Tours
Watch the full webinar chat to get tips on virtual tours.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_video link=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/413698624″ align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”60px”][vc_column_text]
Virtual Property Tour Resources to Help your Multifamily Teams
With apartment occupancy rates at the highest level in 20 years, averaging more than 96 percent across the country, prospective renters often struggle to find a readily available unit at their preferred property that meets their needs. They end up languishing on a waitlist while they hunt online for other options.
Don’t let those valuable apartment leads go to waste. With the right technology and approach, your property leasing teams can leverage quality online lead information to find another great property for the prospect to consider, or nurture the lead in a personalized way so they remain engaged and interested in your brand while they wait on standby.
“We focus on providing the best experience for our customers when we do not have the availability they are in search of,” says Jenny Richard, director of marketing at Gene B. Glick Company, one of the largest privately held U.S. real estate management and development firms. “This allows us to better understand their wants and needs, and creates a warm connection to a sister community or we can add them to the waitlist, depending on their needs.”
Get to know apartment leads
Keep occupancy rates up and steady across your multifamily property portfolio by proactively targeting those prospects who want to live at your apartment communities but can’t get in right away. Steer interested renters toward comparable properties that still check all of their “top priority” boxes. If they still choose to wait, keep apartment leads engaged with an automated lead nurturing solution and targeted digital marketing strategies. The trick is identifying what’s most important to each individual renter on the list.
Your website should deliver insights into what factors rank as most important in a prospect’s apartment search, such as location or certain amenities, how far into the future they’re looking to lease, and what’s motivating the move. As website visitors engage with interactive quizzes and online leasing tools, they volunteer valuable personal information that leasing specialists can use to the property’s advantage.
“Our website provides us with what’s important to our customers to help better engage with their upcoming and future desires, such as preferred neighborhood, budget, floor plan layout, and hobbies or activities they enjoy,” Richard says.
Understand the various moving circumstances of the prospects on your property’s waitlist and you’re likely to discover a segment of renters motivated to move quickly, who will be much more open to alternative apartment communities your leasing team suggests. If they’re on a tight deadline and must sign a lease soon, show them other options at your nearby communities that offer the same favorite features as their top apartment pick.
“There’s never a one-size-fits-all solution,” says Catherine Azar, director of property management at Barratt Asset Management, based in Indianapolis. “We want to provide them with the information they want and answers they need—finding out things about them, like ‘Why are you moving?’ and in a conversational way, so that we can get all of this data.”
Leverage automation, video tours for apartment leads
As an AI-driven website collects details on consumers that leasing specialists can rely on later when following up with those interested renters, the smart software also helps the prospects narrow down the apartments that meet their main requirements. If a popular apartment community in your portfolio reaches high occupancy levels, property managers can adjust the website’s algorithm to direct more prospects toward a different yet similar sister property through their search results.
“That’s one great thing that’s just been a huge success for us,” Azar says of adding AI technology to the property website. “People are able to immediately log on and say ‘I want this, I want that, and I want to be close to here. This is what’s important. I have a dog, so I need to be close to a dog park.’ Then they’re able to see an apartment home pop up that would work best.”
Videos and personalized virtual tours are another way to get apartment leads interested in another property you manage. Using the online lead data, leasing specialists can determine a prospect’s top priorities and reasons for moving, and then create customized, quick videos with a personal voiceover to highlight those aspects at another apartment community.
Sometimes, they have to see it to believe it; otherwise, renters may ignore your gentle push toward a secondary option with lower occupancy. They’ll also know your team truly cares enough to make a video just for them and understands what’s driving their decision. Azar says such personalized interaction provides prospects some comfortability when handing over private life details and begins to build trust in the property.
“We can send pictures and videos to the customer. It’s a game-changer,” says Azar, who also utilizes FaceTime and Facebook to have more personal two-way conversations with leasing applicants. “If they were wanting a specific unit, send them a video to show them ‘Look what else I have.’ It’s completely tailored to what they’re looking for.”
For those adamant prospects who have the time to wait on their preferred apartment unit, an automated lead nurture campaign can ensure your brand stays at the top of their list. Leads in your CRM can automatically filter into the property’s email drip campaign and be personalized based on the data they provided while on the website.
Automated, scheduled-out emails or text messages build value by sending prospects additional information related to their goals, including other properties they might consider. Such communication can also drive prospects back to the website for helpful online leasing tools as they prepare to move.
Richard says Gene B. Glick Company uses the prospect profile data and detailed analytics they receive through their marketing cloud to optimize all of their digital marketing assets. The marketing team can identify market-specific trends in amenities and commonly searched keywords, and adjust digital advertising campaigns to drive more traffic to a property where they want to increase occupancy. They use the prospect data to retarget leads through a variety of online channels.
“We leverage email drip campaigns, PPC ads, text, and retargeting to keep our customers engaged for future availability,” Richard says.
This article originally appeared on Yield Pro.
Additional Multifamily Resources: