Month: May 2020


Photos No Longer Cut it for the Corporate Traveler

Visuals are how travelers evaluate your inventory. Providing stunning photography builds confidence in your brand and its properties. But still images are no longer the only thing  future residents need or want. They are asking for information and quality, both of which can be provided through virtual tours.

Information Builds Confidence

A virtual tour is one of the most valuable visual tools you can provide potential renters because it provides valuable information that allows them to book confidently. In fact, it has always been important to consider what information guests will need as they evaluate your properties. If your travelers are in charge of finding their own corporate housing solution, they need to see things like bedroom counts and sizes, and whether or not the unit is furnished.

While photos provide some information about how many sinks are in one of the bathrooms, they do not show how far apart the bathroom is from the bedroom. Virtual tours, such as an interactive floor plan tour, show where rooms are in relation to each in addition to whether or not they are furnished.  

Quality That Sells                

When it comes to 3D virtual tours, some solutions are DIY and others are full-service providers. The most important thing to remember when evaluating virtual tour options is quality. A TruFusion 3D Tour is a higher quality than others on the market because the images are clearer thanks to the equipment used and fusion of light within the photos.

Your marketing budget will go further when you are providing a stunning visual representation of your properties that aligns with the rest of the visuals you have carefully selected to showcase your brand. This is the second component to providing information about the property because a stunning 3D tour will enhance the information that is already being provided.

Travelers, and those who assist in relocation, have become smarter shoppers looking for additional information. Virtual tours are becoming the norm because they set proper expectations for your brand and your inventory. Understanding the importance of visual solutions that exceed photography will enable your company to understanding the importance of visual solutions will enable your company to convert lookers into long-term renters.


Matterport vs. TruFusion 3D: A Comparison

3D Tours are the latest must-have for residential listings. With buyers searching online more than ever before, they have quickly become the best way to provide an immersive experience without being physically present. However, not all 3D virtual tours are created equal – some are DIY, some use low resolution images, etc. So which version is the best to use? Here we will be comparing key aspects of Matterport and TruFusion 3D.

Technology Differences

The technology used to process the image and the equipment used to capture it are the key differences between these two 3D virtual tours. Matterport tours are created using a Matterport camera which captures the information for a connected 3D tour. When the photographer arrives at the property, the camera is set up squarely in the center of the room to automatically scan the space and produce a 3D view.
TruFusion 3D Tours use DSLR cameras to capture still images which are merged into 3D panoramic views. After the photographers visit the property and capture these high-quality images, the panoramics are then edited and converted into a 3D Virtual Tour. Because these views are captured room-by-room, they are also capable of being enhanced individually with virtually staged, or even decluttered.

Quality Differences

The quality differences between Matterport and TruFusion 3D tours are apparent just by viewing the results. While Matterport offers a better quality than most DIY or smart phone options, TruFusion 3D Tours are the highest visual quality 3D virtual tour currently available in the market.
Each TruFusion 3D Tour comes standard with complimentary Bluesky, enhanced interior coloration, and clear window views. This showcases important details of a listing, such as granite countertops or water views that are otherwise indistinguishable. Because of the process through which TruFusion 3D Tours are made, they have HDR quality and guarantee a crisp, vibrant view.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the same room on the same day.

Navigation

While both 3D virtual tours offer intuitive navigation, there are a few key differences. Matterport tours open to a “doll house” view of the property. The viewer clicks into a room to begin the tour and then navigates throughout the home using outlined circles on the floor. Once the next circle is clicked, the view shifts to that location’s view.
TruFusion 3D Tours have two navigation options available in every tour. The first option is fairly similar to Matterport. When viewers hover over an arrow, a bubble will appear with a preview of the space. By clicking it, the 3D view moves to the next room within the tour. The second option is photo-slider navigation. This is a photo preview of each room divided by levels, great for jumping to a specific room or level-to-level quickly.

3D Virtual Tours are becoming one of the standard ways for potential buyers to view listings. Choose the 3D Tour that will showcase your listing in the best light to convert viewers into buyers.


What is a Hybrid Floor Plan Tour?

Real Estate agents are constantly searching for new and innovative ways to stand out among the crowd. That is why we get this question a lot, “What is a Hybrid Floor Tour?”

Launched just over a year ago, a Hybrid Floor Plan Tour is the combination of 3D, photos, and floor plans in one seamless product. Using cutting-edge technology and DSLR high-quality images, the unique product is sure to make a listing stand out. Many are familiar with our traditional, , easy-to-use, Floor Plan Tours that embed photos to be displayed when hovering over labels and dots on the floor plan. The Hybrid Floor Plan Tour takes it a step further in providing an immersive view. These tours include blue spins embedded into the floor plan that when hovered over display a full 3D view of that room.

What are the Benefits?

Flexibility

This virtual tour reigns supreme in providing flexibility to viewers. Potential buyers can navigate the user-driven experience at their own pace, taking the time they wish to focus on specific aspects the home. It provides the planning ability of a floor plan with the immersive touch of 3D to give viewers confidence that they have seen the full property. Because this tour allows such flexible viewing it is also an excellent choice for properties that might have a wide range of age demographics interested.

Value

This virtual tour offers the immersive component of a 3D Tour at a different price point. Each includes a floor plan, enough photos to best showcase the property, and Three 3D Spins in agent-selected locations. This allows for an excellent view of the property without needing 2 or more separate tours to provide information.

Compatibility

Delivered as a virtual tour link, the hybrid tour can be added to your MLS system without any additional steps. The 3D Spins can also be downloaded individually as photos and uploaded into Facebook where their 3D player will automatically display as a 3D image. The photos and floor plans that accompany them are available for download as well to provide well-rounded marketing.

How is it different from a 3D Tour?

Hybrid Floor Plan Tours are navigated by hovering over a space on the floor plan, then the corresponding image or 3D Spin will display full screen. The three (3) 3D Spins showing a full 360 degree view of a room are embedded into a floor plan, rather than linked together.

TruFusion 3D Tours are a full 360 degree view of every room in the space that are navigated by viewers clicking the arrows to the next room within the 3D tour or using the photo-slider navigation to jump to a specific room. Both tours use the same technology and editing processes to ensure vibrant view with clear windows and a blue sky.

When should I use a Hybrid Floor Plan Tour?

Does your listing have a few features or areas that you would like to highlight to make it stand out against the rest? Perhaps the kitchen was recently remodeled with stainless appliances, the master bedroom has a beautiful vaulted ceiling, or the view from the back deck is a key selling feature. If this is the case, the Hybrid Floor Plan Tour might be the perfect fit as it provides the details to see the whole property but places a natural emphasis on the best areas.


Vacation Rental “New Reality” Checklist

As we re-open and re-enter the world after our first pandemic experience together, check lists are going to be useful. This particular checklist is for your marketing efforts. Take a lesson from the real estate sales side – photos only aren’t cutting it anymore. Properties need to convey more detail, and more information these days. Agents are upping their game with 3D tours, walkthrough videos and social media vignettes, and frankly so should property managers.
The experts are saying that it is better to invest in new visualization products, but to do so in the context of a “new reality” we are all facing. We are all shell shocked from the news and possibly even personal losses as well, so our new reality includes a need for security, safety, reassurances and familiarity. Here’s what you need to market your properties post-COVID-19:

Get these items in order before the end of May:

1. Target Your “Drive-To” Audience

If you don’t have a drive-to list already, create it now. Airplane travel will be avoided this summer, if not the rest of the year. Who can drive to your location in six, eight, even 12 hours? Get to know this audience well. They are your new best friends. You should reach out to them now.
“Drive market targeting is going to easily become the new norm, says Paul Hanak, Marketing Director of InterCoastal NetDesigns (ICND). “Even over the last few weeks, we have seen traffic and searching picking back up for the VR industry.”
Paul also said that most of the website traffic is coming from potential vacationers who live shorter distances away from their destination. This makes them good candidates for a fighting chance for last-minute summer bookings, he added. Now is not the time to cancel all pay per click ads. Instead, Paul suggests reducing spending to keep some awareness out there. if you’re going to part that client from their money

2. Consider Offering Longer Stays

With potential longer drives, weekend getaways are predicted to be less popular than week-long or multi-week rentals in the coming months. Tom Caton discusses the importance of mid-term rentals in this podcast. While roughly 80% of vacation rentals are traditionally seven or fewer days, that number has dropped significantly to 30% due to COVID-19. While the 8-15 day rental period percentage has remained consistent, the ratio of 15+ day period is rapidly growing. Consider adding in multi-week booking options or specials for the summer of 2020.
Not only will this make the drive-time and extra safety precautions taken seem to be a better time investment for the guests, but it will also save on cleaning costs.

3. Update Your Marketing

If you haven’t already, please add the words “flexible, clean, clear, close” to your marketing communication. These are the keywords your audience is looking for and is what they will gravitate towards. They are also looking for more information about the property, such as what can be communicated through 3D tour technology, which allows them to see every nook and cranny of the place. If another property manager offers more visual information than you do, you could lose the business to them. That’s how important this is going to be going forward.
According to an article in Forbes from January: “We’ve found virtual tours are especially valuable for guests with accessibility concerns,” says TurnKey co-founder and CEO John Banczak. “If they’re traveling with someone who has difficulty with stairs or is looking for a particular home layout, the virtual tour will help them determine if a home meets their travel needs.” The same article also stated: This is going to be a breakout year for virtual tours, experts predict.” Little did they know how right they would be.
Communicating how thoroughly your properties have been cleaned is best done through HDR photography, which reveals the shine in stainless steel appliances and the sun reflecting off the pool. The investment in updated photography, floor plan tours and 3D tours is “worth its weight in gold” for converting browsers into bookers.

4. Re-Vamp Your Digital Marketing Plan

We’ve seen some creative uses of our 3D tours on social media lately. Property managers are using Facebook and Instagram to increase the speed with which they are communicating – as everything seems to change by the hour! This builds trust with audiences who want to know there is a real person behind all the online branding. Now is a great time to be a real person.
Social media, along with Google’s Knowledge Box, also contributes to showing up in local searches. A presentation from ICND states that social media has become one of the main ways people found community during the shelter in place orders. Brands sharing positive, uplifting messages got shares and attention.
In that same presentation, the online experts at ICND suggest now is the time for stockpiling content to start slowly rolling out May and June. Get the promos ready, they say, for the dreamers starting the booking process.

Although the Summer 2020 season may not be the same as years prior, it is a great opportunity to stand out to guests and leave a lasting impression. An excellent booking experience for guests in this stressful time can result in future bookings for years to come.