Month: April 2020


How to Market a Property During COVID-19

With the buyer journey moving more online, it’s important to know the best way to market a property digitally. Even when restrictions are lifted, it’s likely some form of social distancing will remain in place for months. From the position of the buyer, which will become an increasingly strong position this year, what does the journey look like from start to finish? Thinking this through and acting on it, will separate the top agents from the rest.

Home Sweet Home?

Everyone is getting a lot more familiar with their homes right now – and many of them are going to find fault in it that cannot be repaired, replaced or renovated. If they can’t reno their way out, they are likely your next round of buyers. And, according to RISMedia, they are likely going to be Millennials, but there are also a good chunk of upgraders waiting in the wings. If only their house actually had wings, they’re thinking.
Start with their pain points. What are the main reasons they are looking? Are they looking for a yard, an additional bedroom, a home office space with a door? Sure, but it’s usually location first. That’s one thing that this market probably won’t change.
Identify what makes the property unique, especially when compared with similar listings. That’s a no brainer. The trick will be getting those key words into the marketing piece you use to promote the listing.

Narrowing It Down

Once the buyer has eliminated 99% of the listings on MLS due to zip code, price, and bedroom/bathroom count, she is now essentially comparing variations on a theme. How are these four bedrooms arranged? How much natural light does the home have? What style are the kitchen cabinets? These questions can be answered using photos. But what kind of photos? And just photos or videos as well?

Here are 3 ways to market a listing to make it stand out:

Photos Only Aren’t Enough

Your gut was telling you this, and now you’re hearing it from your peers. You need to do something different with your listing but aren’t sure what. You’re right. With the inability to visit a home in person on Sundays between 1-3 pm in most areas, you’ll have to provide more information to potential buyers and you’ll have use visuals to do so.

Fish Where the Fish Are

Everyone is on social media and online during the day right now. If they see an eye-catching slideshow video of a beautiful home, they will stop and watch it. Make sure your listing has a video component to support your marketing efforts. If it’s a really nice home you could even use this video to market your brand, even after the home is sold. Get those moving pictures (aka videos) out on Facebook and YouTube and give them a reason to stop scrolling and click. Enhancing these images with virtual twilight will also make them stand out on MLS.

3D Tours Are Table Stakes

All the top producers are doing 3D tours on all their listings, large or small. It’s the most immersive experience a potential buyer can have. TruFusion 3D Tours provide the most amount of information about the property – visually speaking. Users can pinch and zoom to see every nook and cranny of the home, exploring details as they would in person, such as dimmer switches, view from the living room, and tiled backsplashes.

In summary, every listing should have a digital marketing piece, an enhancement for MLS, and a virtual tour. It’s a new world in residential real estate, and savvy agents are leveraging the new tools needed to remain competitive.


Vacation Rental: The 5 Next Steps You Should Take

All over the nation, vacation destinations are beginning to ever so slightly see a light at the end of the tunnel. We have a long way to go until we arrive at “the new normal,” but loosened restrictions across the country are a sign of hope in an otherwise stagnant industry. For Vacation Rental providers, the steps taken right now can set their companies up for long-term success. Below, we outline some immediate steps that can lead to large gain when the curve is flattened.

1. Show Your Support

There is a strange reassurance knowing that we are all in this together as an industry. Vacation Rental professionals are currently showing solidarity by participating in the “To Guests, with Love” project hosted by both Touch Stay and Hostfully (two competitors in the industry). This project gives companies the opportunity to record a message of hope to their prospective guests. Not only does this showcase a fantastic message of support and solidarity, it also promotes brand recognition that can be used as social media posts, email campaigns, and blog entries that your guests can view.

2. Reassess Profitability Per Property

Those who follow Matt Landau have been fortunate enough to receive a constant stream of beneficial information surrounding the future of the Vacation Rental Industry. In the article above, Landau discusses the importance of assessing your inventory’s profitability as the future will place emphasis on properties that generate a solid amount of income. Trimming the fat is a good place to start.

3. Disinfect and Deep Clean

When this is in our rear-view mirror, Vacation Rentals will emerge as the preferred guest choice due to the benefits of a professionally managed property. So how can you begin to proactively deep clean and disinfect your properties and where to start? Breezeway has you covered. Click the link above to download their COVID-19 Disinfect and Deep Clean guidelines so you can get the jump on what we hope will be a strong Quarter 3 and 4.

4. Beef Up Your Messaging

Now is a fantastic time to be part of the solution. A positive Marketing Message can go a long way as guests look to you for guidance regarding certain regions. ICND’s blog post outlines some savvy ways you can promote your brand’s recognition and stay top of mind.

5. Focus on Your Visual Marketing

A recent post from Key Data Dashboard shows that late summer bookings are on the rise which means that guests looking. How does your visual marketing compare? This might have been the first thing put on the backburner at the beginning of year, and now it could quite literally stand between you and your revenue. While units are vacant, now is a great time for reshoots, floor plans, virtual tours, and anything else that can facilitate an informed booking decision.


Quality Visuals of Amenities at Long-Term Rentals Impact Decisions

When buyers or long-term renters are unable to physically tour a property, they turn to online photos. What property managers sometimes fail to emphasize on their website, could be the biggest help in converting the browser into a buyer – the amenities.

Why Amenity Photos?

Amenities can range from pools, gyms, designated pet areas, co-work spaces, laundry rooms, or even restaurants close by, but how does this help you sign a contract? By offering property visuals of building amenities and the surrounding location, you are cultivating a relationship with prospective renters and buyers. Their decision can be difficult because their stay is long-term/permanent. Providing information up front and answering their questions with stunning visuals and immersive experiences solidifies their trust with your brand before they even contact you. Showcasing amenities also shows your dedication to offering updated features for your clients.

First responders, those moving for work, or government employees are going online to “tour properties.” Providing more than just photos, and more than just photos of the community amenities, can impact decision making. Virtual tours, for example, can assist with setting the proper expectations of the unit itself, but buyers and renters want more than just the property; they want amenity features and local attractions to assist in their decision.
Amenities and location attractions oftentimes drive purchase decisions so featuring them is key.

Put a Spin on It

Need something more immersive? Create a customizable immersive experience for your amenity areas. Differentiate yourself from your competitors by allowing renters/ to explore every nook and cranny of your public areas. Used in conjunction with property visuals from your units, virtual tours of your amenity spaces provide more information up front, so your clients don’t feel the need to physically visit the properties.


Utilizing 3D Virtual Staging for a Warmer Feeling

Envisioning a future home without physically stepping inside can seem like a daunting task for potential buyers. Real Estate Professionals can provide some comfort in the purchasing decision by offering digital alternatives to the traditional Open House. One of the most popular ways to showcase every nook and cranny of a property is with a TruFusion 3D tour which allows a user-navigated immersive view. However, vacant properties present a unique challenge for capturing a “home-sweet-home” feel online. Virtual staging in a 3D tour can assist buyers in envisioning themselves in the property.

3D Virtual Staging

It is no secret that staged homes are more appealing to buyers. In addition to virtual staging for photography, TruPlace now offers 3D virtual staging. This innovative product allows the immersive view of 3D with the personal touch that allows potential homeowners to easily envision their future in the space. With an extensive furniture library including choices from bedrooms to living rooms, kitchens to patio sets, TruPlace offers the type of furniture any property needs.

How Does it Work?

You choose the furniture; we do the heavy lifting. Simply browse our wide selection of hand-selected furniture sets within the TruPlace Client Portal. (Don’t have an account yet? No problem, contact our team for a 5 minute set-up.) Once you have decided on your favorite furniture styles, select which 3D views you would like to have staged and submit your online order form. We take care of the rest- placement, scaling, and arrangement then deliver it back the next business day!

Promoting On Social

In addition to linking your 3D tour to the MLS system, a great way to gain exposure is on social media. While you can post your virtual tour links across various social media platforms to display your 3D tour, Facebook is particularly 3D friendly. Download one of your 3D virtually staged images and upload it directly into a Facebook post. The 3D player will recognize the image and allow viewers to spin and zoom within the room. Not only does this boost engagement, but it provides potential buyers a more realistic feeling than a vacant room.

While traditional Open Houses may be on hold for now, immersive virtual options are ready to be utilized to provide the most welcoming online touring experience for viewers. Contact us today to get started!


How to Visually Repurpose Content and Stay Visible During Difficult Times

To say that that COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on the Vacation Rental industry is an understatement. As property managers like yourself learn to become more resourceful, you’ll find that there are also creative ways to re-use your existing content. You might be surprised to find that your existing articles/visuals are all you need to create a solid marketing strategy on a budget. Below, we’ve outlined some tips and tricks that will help your brand stay visible on a dime by repurposing content.

Step 1: Assess Your Existing Content

It’s a good time to step into the archives and reuse content to create creative engaging microcontent that will help guests remember your brand when things are on the upswing. Developing microcontent in a visual way can stem from the following:

Visuals

o Professional Photography
o Floor Plans
o Amenity Photography

Video/Audio

o Drone videos
o Walkthrough Videos
o Podcasts

Text

o Blog Posts
o Surveys
o Research Reports
User Generated Content
o Reviews & Testimonials
o Social Media Posts

Step 2: Repurpose Content on a dime

Once you assess your existing content, creating compelling microcontent for your guests becomes easier. Utilizing free visual services is a great way to break apart pieces of your existing blog posts, testimonials, etc. Below are some free tools that can assist you and your budget. Both applications also provide you with low-cost upgrades if you need more options for your visual marketing.

CANVA

Canva is a free graphics service that allows you to use your existing visuals to create microcontent for email campaigns and your social media. Your professional photography used in conjunction with text can create visual content that promotes a consistent stream of brand recognition.

Lumen 5

Static images are beneficial for your marketing but to really stand out and differentiate yourself, videos can also be beneficial. Taking your text and wrapping it up in video format is a great way to repurpose your content. Free services like Lumen 5 take your text and turn it into video. From there, you can showcase your professional photography as the backdrop and take testimonials, blog posts, or property descriptions as moveable text.

Step 3: Schedule to save time and budget

After you’ve leveraged free tools to redistribute your existing content, it’s time for some marketing automation. Marketing automation is technology that manages marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns, across multiple channels, automatically. With marketing automation, businesses can target customers with automated messages across email, web, social, and text.

Social Media

Products like Buffer, Meet Edgar, and Hoot Suite, are fantastic tools to manage all social media accounts by providing the means for a user to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Email Automation

Emma, Constant Contact and Mailchimp are all examples of email marketing automation tools than can assist you as you schedule emails to your database.

Conclusion

When the industry picks up, and prospective guests are ready for their much-needed vacation, businesses that did not go dark during this time will be the ones they remember. Consistent marketing can be done on a dime by assessing what you already have and utilizing free tools and services to schedule a constant stream of fantastic visual marketing.


Booking an Event Venue in the Age of COVID-19

“Our Carriage House is beautiful and right next to the outdoor ceremony space.” Our clients are asking us how our products can help them paint a better picture for their prospective brides, bat mitzvahs and other ceremonies.

Booking an event venue in the age of COVID-19 comes with its own set of unique challenges.

First of all, we’re glad to hear people are looking forward to life returning to normal. But for now, how can a prospective customer “tour” an event venue without actually going on site? A website with photos, even videos, aren’t going to convey the feeling of standing there with your feet crunching down on the gravel path as the cobblestone and ivy-covered Carriage House comes into view.

So, let’s look at our options.

TruFusion 3D Tours

This is a completely immersive experience and the next best thing to virtual reality, which would also be cool. This product brings the essence of a property to life through clean, bright photography that makes you feel like you’re there because you can look around from every angle.


The interactive feature allows you to click or touch on the white circular arrows to move forward, getting deeper into the building, room or hallway.
What’s great is that this experience can be done for outdoor areas as well. Viewers can look up at the sky or down at the ground, as they glide from space to space, taking it all in.

This is a user-driven experience where we host the “tour” on a unique URL. A photo is displayed on the screen and the user has the option of navigating around the property using a Photo Slider Navigation at the bottom. Move from room to room or floor to floor easily using a mouse or touch screen. The user can also use their fingers to “pinch and zoom” into the details of the photo.

This is highly recommended for spaces that have a lot to explore, or a lot of detail inside.

Hybrid Floor Plan Tours

Literally get a sense of the layout with this product. We provide the floor plan for each level so viewers can understand where they are on the property as they look at the photos associated with that space. This works really well for bed & breakfast clients who want to book according to the proximity to exits or amenities.


The reason we call it a hybrid is because we suggest adding a few 360-degree views for a dual experience of seeing the photos and “moving through” the property. It’s another interaction that replicates the view of standing inside the property.

As with our TruFusion 3D, this tour shows the user what it’s like to “stand” in a room and see the views out the window from any angle – so if your property has breathtaking views from featured dining areas or guest rooms, these products can really sell that feature online.

Virtual Staging? Great idea.

For venues where the layout of a banquet hall or reception area is vital to the flow of guest traffic, these floor plan tour add on edits can help walk a potential client through the spaces visually and using room dimensions. Large, empty spaces, whether in a residential home, or an event space, make it hard for viewers to imagine what that area could look like with furnishings.

By virtually staging a room with cocktail tables, chairs, a buffet table, and other items, potential customers can see for themselves if there will be enough room for all their guests and where the pieces could be placed within the room.

While you’re never going to fully replace seeing an event venue in person, there are some high-quality property visualization tools that can assist with the buyer journey during this unprecedented time.