Self-Guided Tours; An Enhancement, Not Replacement to Traditional Tours

By: Marissa Litner

Self-Guided Tours UI Screen on IphoneSelf-Guided Tours UI Screen on Iphone
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Over the last year we’ve seen a pivotal shift in how we do business, with less face-to-face interactions and more digitized solutions it’s no surprise that contactless self-guided tours have taken off. Over 360,000 self-guided tours have been completed in the last 14 months through SmartRent's web-based tour solution.

As self-guided tours have continued to grow in popularity, community site teams have wondered if this trend will continue and if traditional in person tours will become a thing of the past. However, research shows that while self-guided tours do lead to more prospect interest and ultimately more leases, they are an enhancement, not a replacement to traditional tours.

One major benefit for implementing self-guided tours is flexibility for both prospective residents and property staff. Communities are able to extend their showing hours outside working hours, which increases the likelihood of filling a vacant apartment. Let’s be honest higher conversion rates with less utilization of staff time is every property owner's dream. Communities that have implemented self-guided tours have seen an 11% higher conversion than communities only offering in person tours facilitated with a leasing agent.

Eliminate the Waiting Game

We live in a world where instant gratification has become the norm, most people don’t want to wait for something, they want it now; and SmartRent's technology for self-guided tours ensures this need can be met. 31% of prospects are utilizing the “Tour Now” option that SmartRent offers. Prospective residents want flexibility and convenience, they don’t want to wait to tour when the property manager or leasing agent is available, they want to tour when it’s most convenient for them.

With self-guided tours, whenever prospects are at a community they can simply scan a QR code, follow the web-based workflow and be granted access to unit(s) and amenities within minutes. The average prospect experience takes under five minutes to schedule and finalize their tour, that’s less time than it takes to get a coffee!

More Self-Guided Tours = More Leases

While one prospect is completing a self-guided tour, a leasing agent can be simultaneously hosting a traditional in-person tour. By offering multiple tour types, this can double or even triple the amount of property tours happening at any given time, leading to increased leases. Additionally, the data provided from self-guided tours allows leasing staff to better understand the needs and desires of prospective residents. Further ensuring they have a strong understanding of resident’s expectations and what they’re searching for.

Expanding your Showing Hours

Did you know 4pm-6pm is the most popular time for prospects to complete self-guided tours according to SmartRent’s historical tour data?  It’s not surprising that so many people choose to tour in the evenings, which can be difficult for communities to accommodate if they are only facilitating in-person tours. By allowing expanded showing hours communities reduce the risk of losing prospective residents to their competitors. Which is another reason why adding self-guided tours can act as an enhancement to traditional tours.

The Bigger Picture

Traditional in-person property tours will continue to be an important aspect of the leasing process and will never be replaced. Traditional tours allow prospective residents to ask follow up questions and connect with site teams before move-in and get a sense of the culture and community they are moving into. When used in conjunction with traditional tours, self-guided tours can be a strong enhancement to any property's tour offering. They provide a different prospect experience and allow site teams to maximize efficiencies which in turn allows site teams to spend more time focusing on resident retention while simultaneously filling vacant apartments more quickly.