Increase sales. Gain customer loyalty. Operate more efficiently.
Against a backdrop of fierce competition and economic pressures, achieving competitive advantage and sustainability has become increasingly more challenging for rental property managers. In order to create customer value to achieve differentiation, rental property owners and managers must find avenues for setting themselves apart from competitors and gaining the “eye” of the consumer. Utilizing virtual tours extends beyond the sheer novelty of this relatively new avenue in marketing. In addition to the substantial obvious benefits provided, virtual tours can offer many hidden benefits which can add value to your company.
Virtual tours attract the consumer on the web in much the same way a flashing billboard catches the eye of the motorist. It initially entices the consumer to see what the rental property has to offer. Recent contracts with rental property managers have resulted in an increase in property page views by up to 33% and an increased number of days booked per year on average of 25%. These statistics are consistent in both Disney and beach properties markets.
Understanding the buying behavior of the consumer market should be a focal point of rental property managers in building productive relationships with both homeowners and potential renters. An informed customer is a satisfied customer. When customers can virtually walk through any given property and “experience” what the property has to offer, buying power and confidence is bestowed. Even if a situation does not go as planned, when the consumer is well informed and confident in their initial decision, they tend to take responsibility for their decision which often leaves the door open for future business instead of slamming it in your face.
Another “not-so-obvious” benefit of a virtual tour is helping your company run more efficiently. I know you’re wondering, “How can virtual tours provide greater customer service and efficiency”? There are two types of consumers – those who book online and those who prefer more traditional methods. With the increased amount of online bookings, informed consumers may have little or no need to call the office. Increasing online bookings provides operating efficiency and enables the reservationist to better serve the more traditional consumer as well as increase their call volume capabilities. Not only does virtual tours offer the potential for greater volume, increased online bookings help manage staffing problems during peak and off-seasons. For example, if online bookings increase by 25%, you may be able keep your reservations staff small enough to run efficiently enough during the peak season yet slim enough to help survive the dreaded off-seasons.
Now, let’s say you have blazed through the peak season and survived the off-season with the benefit of virtual tours. One might think its usefulness is over. Think again! It is now contract time and the benefit of your management company providing virtual tours in your marketing plan has now elevated you above the rest. You now have the potential to leverage the use of virtual tours to attract new homeowners. Instead of gaining a few and losing a few, you are now better positioned to retain your existing inventory as well. You have just gained a competitive advantage, increased your market share, and are on your way to achieving sustainability.
Keep in mind however, not all virtual tours are alike. A 360 degree virtual tour is immersive. It virtually places the viewer with no limitations as to what he or she can see. A fancy slideshow or a video on YouTube is not an immersive and interactive virtual tour. I invite you to give us a call and see what Panhandle 360 has to offer and why slideshows and YouTube videos do not offer the same advantage as an immersive/interactive virtual tour. Immersive virtual tours are unmatched.